I first thought of writing for siphoned demijohns in December 2021. I was playing with a pair I had bought at a charity shop, testing their pitch to see if they’d work for a Filthy Lucre concert I was producing. I sped up the process by siphoning the water, rather than pouring it. I loved the sound, and my obsession was sparked.
On Saturday, Sparrow received its world premiere at Kings Place. It was a joy to hear it played so sensitively by Marianne Schofield, whose astonishing accuracy with its rather tricky notes was matched by a complete command of pacing and drama. A massive thank you to Riot Ensemble, who commissioned and presented the piece. If you want to hear more harmonics and microtones, I have a premiere of a commission from the LSO at LSO St. Luke's on June 15th!
I'm delighted be part of an amazing day of music at Kings Place on April 30th! It's three concerts curated by The Riot Ensemble; I'll be in the first. As always with The Riot Ensemble, it's an enormously varied cavalcade of sounds. My piece, Sparrow, is a double bass piece that uses this large instrument to evoke a tiny bird. It's delicate and playful, but also serious. You can book for the event here.
My piece is all about looking out a window at the world outside. It will be presented alongside two pieces about staring into the digital world. Jagoda Szmytka's Sky-Me, Type Me is wild depiction of Skype call, which is written for four musicians with megaphones. Alex Hall's SPIN is a slice of digital gothic demotivation, channelling Peleton pessimism.
If I were you though, I'd stay for the whole day. The Riot Ensemble have brought in L'Arsenale Ensemble and Hub New Music as partners in two further concerts which promise an interesting array of new sounds. I'll be particularly excited to hear new pieces by Aaron Holloway-Nahum and Nina C Young.
You can now read my interview with Choir & Organ magazine online! It was a fun interview to do, and touches on a lot of aspects of my music making.
More importantly, you can also download the score of my piece The Hazelnut for free from their website.
I’ve enjoyed writing music for how to go outside, a play written and performed by Kay Dent and directed by Jesse Haughton-Shaw. It’s a wonderful piece of writing. It takes the form of a guided meditation – a common feature of our digital landscape that, in Kay’s work, is warped into an exploration of loss. It’s uncomfortably intimate: the meditation guide is somebody who we’ve learnt to give our attention to but also to ignore. I’ve written a lot of music for this play – upwards of twenty minutes! You can hear a demo of part of that below, or even better, in context this week. The show is on YouTube live, Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm, and lasts 50 minutes. Tickets are available here.
As a composer, this piece presented interesting compositional challenges, which I thought I’d talk about here.
It’s been quite something to see Psappha’s recording of my piece for accordion, Two Animals. Frankly, it brought me back around to a piece that I was anxious about. Miloš Milojević’s superb recording brings out everything I had hoped the piece might have, but that I was secretly afraid it lacked.
The piece had a troubled genesis. I had two different ideas: I wanted to have two separate rhythmic cycles, one seven minims long, one three minims long, which then create a 21-minim long superstructure. And I wanted the accordionist to sing.
These ideas were exciting but created traps.
Today, a new video of my work for double bass, Sparrow, is out with the Riot Ensemble. I’m really pleased with the result, and I wanted to write a little about the work.
You can find out about recent and upcoming projects here, and stay up-to-date with email or RSS below.