HeadSpace Ensemble In 1999, Carnyx Co. received funding from the Diageo Foundation to commission composer and sonic inventor Rolf Gehlhaar to develop a new musical instrument which would enable Clarence Adoo – a top trumpeter, left paralysed from the neck down following a car accident in 1995 – to engage with fellow performers at the highest professional level. This highly sophisticated and powerful electronic musical instrument was entitled Head=Space. Controlled by subtle movements of the player’s head, coupled with small but delicate and precise air columns, Head=Space gave Clarence Adoo a medium, through which he might learn to express himself as a high quality musician once again.
In 2005, after much practice and technical development, Head=Space received its first public airing at the St Magnus Festival on Orkney. Festival Director, Ian Ritchie, had commissioned the Artistic Director of Carnyx & Co, John Kenny, to compose a piece for the new instrument, and Kenny produced an ensemble piece, called HeadSpace encompassing Clarence Adoo with Torbjorn Hultmark on trumpets & flügelhorn, John Kenny on trombone & carnyx, and the sound designer Chris Wheeler.
Consequently, Rolf and Vahakn Gehlhaar have developed a new instrument, Hi-Note, which enables Clarence to perform with greater flexibility and immediacy, opening up a new range of expressive opportunities. Hi-Note featured in John Kenny’s compositions “Salt” and “The Salt Road” at the Setubal Festival in Portugal, and Cumnock Tryst Festival, Scotland, in 2016.