Peter Ablinger – Places Leeds

Last May, as part of the Sound; Space; Play symposium which I organised with my PhD supervisor Scott McLaughlin, we were lucky enough to have Peter Ablinger create a version of his series Orte or ‘Places’, especially for the University of Leeds campus. The full description of the work on his website reads as follows:


The piece is for 3 different resonant spaces and a number of instrumentalists. The work is always site specific.

3 places (rooms, halls) in walking distance are chosen. The spaces shouldn’t be too small so they don’t loose their resonant qualities when audience is in there. The places are analysed and measured acoustically. The measurements result in one microtonal scale for each of the 3 rooms indicating their main formants, a kind of a self-portrait of these places. The performance starts at one of these places where -for example- 5 instruments play these formants as sustained tones in a (more or less) free order. After – i.e.- 20 minutes both, players and audience, walk together to the second place. The walk is part of the piece. Here the instrumentalists play the formants of the second place, walk altogether to the third place, play and end.

Possible instruments are all instruments that can play sustained, microtonal pitches. Clarinets and/or Horns are especially welcome for this piece!

(From the score/foreword): Each of the three parts of 3 PLACES is exclusively composed for the given rooms and can be performed only there.

The room formants can be played (also sung) by one, more or many players. The score exists in different transpositions (in C, in Bb, in F) for different instruments.

The duration is free. But in the succession of all 3 places 20 minutes per place could be the right proportion.

The room formants are notated in ascending order. Every instrument chooses its playable range.


We selected three acoustically contrasting spaces on the University of Leeds campus, the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, a Goods Tunnel, and a stairwell underneath the Roger Stevens lecture theatre. These were then acoustically analysed and converted into a score by Ablinger. The performers were Chris Ruffoni (tpt), Ben Isaacs (tpt), Peyee Chen (vln), Harriet Richardson (fl), Jennifer Isaacs (cl), George Sansome (euph), Alex De Little (tbn) from the universities of Huddersfield and Leeds.