Explore Ensemble: Systema Naturae at hcmf//

Creative Tourist
Dimitri Djuric

Explore Ensemble: Systema Naturae at Bates Mill Blending Shed, 18 November 2021 Tickets from £5 — Book now

Systema Naturae is about discovery. It is a meditation on the process, rather than the act, of making them, depicting the ways in which we classify, organise and most importantly give name to the minutiae of the natural world. A four-part ‘play’ comprising a series of pseudo-textbooks, Maura Lanza and Andrea Valle have created a vast, open-world metaphor for our own histories of observation and categorisation.

Inspired by medieval encyclopaedias known as bestiarias, herbarias and lapidaria – texts that listed types of animals, plants and stones – Lanza and Valle envisioned an imaginary ecosystem of their own. Organised as if it were a musical transposition of this information, the score for Systema Naturae is structured like a reference catalogue, such as the eponymous work written by Carl Linneaus in the 18th century. Each individual part of the piece, performed by the composers alongside Explore Ensemble, focuses on a newly named fauna or flora. With over 50 pieces spanning four distinct movements, their lorebook is densely comprehensive, containing an entire natural world of mythology.

In imagining new beings, Lanza and Valle began treating the music itself as a biological discovery, creating new, object-like instrumentation for their orchestra, manipulated by the duo, who serve as a ‘mechanised orchestra’ alongside their performers. They also imagined new bodily actions for the traditional instruments at hand; strings are prepared differently on the inside, and performers, arranged in different shapes on the stage, are asked to use extended techniques when they play. Bringing these two families of sound together, Lanza and Valle create a new ecosystem, an environment of observable instruments.

Part of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Explore Ensemble: Systema Naturae at Bates Mill Blending Shed, 18 November 2021 Tickets from £5 Book now

Where to go near Explore Ensemble: Systema Naturae at hcmf//

Huddersfield Art Gallery courtesy of Kirklees Council
Huddersfield Art Gallery

Based in the town centre and easily accessible, Huddersfield Art Gallery is home to an extensive and stunning collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Phipps Hall
Music venue
Phipps Hall

Part of the University of Huddersfield’s Music Department, Phipps Hall is an intimate concert venue hosting a wide variety of musical events.

Event venue
St Paul’s Hall

Owned by The University of Huddersfield, St Paul’s Hall is a beautifully converted Georgian church that hosts a wide variety of concerts.

Shopping Centre
Byram Arcade

Boasting three floors of independent shops, designers, cafés and restaurants, Byram Arcade is a stunning Victorian shopping and business hub.

Crafty Praxis

Located on the ground floor of the architectural gem that is Huddersfield’s Byram Arcade, Crafty Praxis is an arts and crafts shop that celebrates the handmade and unique.


Hailed as the first independent, speciality coffee shop in the heart of Huddersfield, Coffeevolution is a hangout for locals of all ages.

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