Award-winning UK jazz ensemble Empirical have unveiled exciting plans for their year-long residency at Wiltshire Music Centre as our 2020 Nimmo Artist in Residence, including three special concerts, a pop-up jazz lounge project in partnership with Bath Festivals and the development of new work commissioned as part of the residency, which will be premiered at WMC at the final performance of the residency.
Empirical follow in the footsteps of UK and international talent such as Gwilym Simcock, Claire Martin and Adriano Adewale as Nimmo Artists in Residence. Named in memory of the Centre’s founding Artistic Director Keith Nimmo, this programme enables established artists to push their creative practice through collaborative projects and newly commissioned work.
In making the announcement James Slater, Artistic Director of Wiltshire Music Centre, said: "We are thrilled to have the cutting-edge jazz quartet Empirical as our Nimmo Artist in Residence for 2020. This is really what our programme is all about. Through the course of the year the group will challenge and extend their creative practice, engage in mentoring and developing young local talent, and bring their exceptional improvisational performances to new audiences. The band wowed our audience with their joint show with Jason Rebello during his residency in 2014 and we look forward to some similarly memorable performances throughout the year."
Kicking off their residency on 8th February 2020, Empirical will perform a special one-off concert with previous Nimmo Artist in Residence Gwilym Simcock, featuring original music from both Empirical’s and Gwilym’s back catalogues. On 15th March 2020, the band will join the young talents of the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra (WYJO) for a performance showcasing jazz standards, music from Empirical’s back catalogue adapted for big band, as well as the premiere of a piece of music written especially for WYJO. To conclude the concert series, in October 2020, Empirical will premiere a new suite of music commissioned as part of the Nimmo Residency, which the band plan to record and release in 2021.
From 15th to 20th May 2020 and as a key project as part of the Residency, Empirical will bring their unique pop-up jazz lounge to the region for the first time, as part of The Bath Festival. For their pop-up programme Empirical will be joined by local talent and will conclude the week with a concert at the Old Theatre Royal in Bath on 20th May 2020.
Empirical’s double bassist, Tom Farmer said of the Residency: "We’re extremely grateful to have been chosen for Wiltshire Music Centre’s prestigious Nimmo Artist in Residence programme. It’s going to be an exciting year with some very special performances with Gwilym Simcock and WYJO, and the premiere of our first-ever commission. We’re also looking forward to taking our pop-up project to the Bath Festival and reaching out to new audiences in the west of England."
The project has been made possible through financial support provided by Arts Council England, WMC’s partnership with Bath Festivals and sponsor Steve Vick International.
Wiltshire Music Centre performances:
Empirical / Gwilym Simcock, Saturday 8th February 2020
Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra / Empirical, Sunday 15th March 2020
The full programme for the pop-up performances as part of The Bath Festival will be announced in February 2020, when tickets for Empirical’s concert at the Old Theatre Royal, also known as the Masonic Hall, Bath, will also go on sale. The final performance at WMC will be announced as part of the Autumn Winter 2020 season and go in sale in June 2020.