Dr Alannah Marie Halay is a UK based composer, performer/actress, and academic. Her music has been performed in Denmark, England, the Netherlands, and Poland as well as on radio and out on CD; she has also written music for film. She was the first winner of the ‘Yorkshire Young Sinfonia’ composition competition in 2015, and her last opera Pacific Pleasures has been performed more than once by Bloomsbury Opera in London. She has attended the Gaudeamus Muziekweek Academy in Utrecht where her composition Parallax Error was workshopped and later performed in the Gaudeamus Muziekweek Festival.

Alannah is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) with lecturing experience in a number of UK-based HE institutions. Her composition ‘We Lived in the Gaps between the Stories.’ has been published by Women & Music (University of Nebraska Press), a journal which aims to forefront women in music today. This composition foregrounds the (otherwise disregarded) residual ‘noise’ between pitches and instrumental techniques in order to say something about the (otherwise disregarded) role of women residing in the ‘gaps’ of history. Her latest chapter on Xenakis is published by Vernon Press, and her book (Per)Forming Art: Performance as Research in Contemporary Artworks is published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. This book is based on the proceedings of an international symposium she hosted in 2015 at the University of Leeds (UK).

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As a performer (music and acting), Alannah works under the stage name ‘Alannah Marie’ and has performed in the theatre (musicals and dramas), on public radio and television, short films, music videos, and feature films. Some of her recent feature films have been released in cinemas in America and are available to buy on Amazon and iTunes. You can view her IMDB here.

Photography by Karen Gavin, Silkwood Studio

Alannah’s compositional practice and academic research explores the formation of ‘styles’ and convention, the breaking of established norms, and the subsequent reification of new forms. Her PhD investigated, through compositional practice, how the avant garde, despite trying to be ‘free’, became reified (into a limited Avant Garde ‘style’). It explored how any deviation from the established norms of said ‘style’ was rejected. Her conclusion from this research is that, to be genuinely avant garde (‘forward-thinking’ and ‘unboundaried’ as the term suggests), one has to be able to traverse the boundaries of a variety of established ‘styles’ without this being noticed let alone rejected (or ‘cancelled’) by an audience. In short, to be genuinely avant garde, composers and listeners should be able to view music as an ‘open space of frequency’ not infiltrated by pre-conceived ideas about how music is or should be. Her current research uses the findings in her PhD to challenge the limiting definitions that permeate identity politics today. Alannah has a YouTube channel where she talks about her research and practice: YouTube.com/AlannahMarie

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