This is the second blog by mjf hothouse participant Maja Bugge discussing her experiences of partaking in the new mjf scheme. You can find Maja’s first blog here.


7th of Dec

“The last 3 weeks on the hothouse scheme have been really challenging but also exciting for me. Together with my collaborator Hervé Perez I have been exploring different ways of creating a soundscape out of the sounds of Lancaster and finding ways for the live cello to interact with this.”

“We ended up with a 10-minute soundscape which both captured different “happenings” from our field recordings but also had an underlying musical narrative which was a mix of different frequencies of the M6 hiss and town hall bells. Hervé called this the distant harmony m6 and distant stretched bells. The work Herve did on pulling out curtain frequencies from the M6 hiss and the town bells inspired me to find tonal patterns and chords that accompanied the soundscape. Did you know that the M6 hiss from Williamsons park in Lancaster makes a A, B, C sharp, F sharp and G?”


“The last week has been an on-going search for musical narrative, structure and ways for the improvised cello part to interact with the soundscape; sometimes to recreate the sounds on the cello, sometimes to make fragmented versions of the sounds, sometimes consciously accompanying the sounds.”

“Hervé pointed out that the field recordings of Lancaster are both industrial (the M6 hiss, the factories recorded by the river) but also very organic (the birds, the kids playing, the water). I have worked hard to try and reflect these contradicting structures in the cello improvisations.”


“On the 6th of December I performed my work-in-progress at a showcase facilitated by mjf at Matt and Phreds in Manchester. It was for an invited audience of promoters, producers and associates of manchester jazz festival. It was a very useful 30 minutes where the feedback gave me ideas on where to take the work. Most of the feedback was related to place, on how I interact with the places, how to make the soundscapes unique for that place. There were also suggestions of a longer piece for just one place, the place where the performance would take place. This would give me more time to work in one place and interact with the people of that place and therefore give the audience a stronger sense of ownership of the work.”


“We also discussed bringing other musical layers (f.ex and loop devise could help me do this) and/or the soundscape having a more dynamic role through live performance of the field recordings.”


“Me and my mentor Julia Payne have talked a lot about where to bring the project next and how to bring the audience and “here & now” into the piece: live recording of the space, me sitting in the middle of the audience live sampling of the inside and/or the outside of the venue was discussed. These are all useful thoughts I will take with me.”


“I am so grateful to manchester jazz festival and the hothouse scheme for giving me the opportunity to explore and experiment in a safe environment. The important thing now is that the piece in one shape or form gets a life. I am pretty curtain it will and look forward to where I take it next.” – Maja Bugge

You can find the hothouse criteria and application form here. 


mjf hothouse offers opportunities for northern jazz artists to develop new work over an extended period of time, presenting their “works-in-progress” at special open rehearsals in Autumn and Spring in front of an invited audience of industry specialists, programmers, mentors, festival staff and festival friends.


mjf is transforming the way in which new music is made, and in which under-the-radar artists are spotted: hothouse reaches for artists who might lack the confidence or the vocabulary to articulate ideas through standard application processes. Selected artists are given freedom to experiment and take artistic risks without fear of failure or the pressure to deliver a finished piece. They receive tailored artistic, marketing, production, business and wellbeing mentorship through a bespoke workshop and individual mentoring and also benefit from paid rehearsal and performance time so that they are not out of pocket for taking part.


The first round of hothouse was a resounding success, with participants remarking: jazz is difficult to start with, it’s reassuring to have a programme that offers easier application” – Vicente Magalhaes. It is not only the use of a simpler application process that has benefited the musicians, but also the provision of an industry mentor with participants sayingI have been given a wonderful mentor by mjf for this project, Julia Payne. The mjf team identified that I needed a mentor with contacts beyond the north and she is a perfect match” – Maja Bugge.


Applications for mjf hothouse open on the 19 January 2018, you can find the full application criteria on our tips for applying page here. Please do not submit applications before the 19 January as we will not be able to process these submissions.

mjf hothouse is supported by: