‘Exploring Xenakis: Performance, Practice, Philosophy’

Tomorrow I will be giving a talk at the ‘Exploring Xenakis: Performance, Practice, Philosophy’ Symposium with colleague and critical theorist Michael D. Atkinson. Our talk discusses Xenakis, the Avant Garde, May ’68 and the legendary quote ‘Xenakis, not Gounod’ which was scrawled in graffiti during the protests in France. Below is an abstract of our talk: May ’68 saw a time of political tension in France: the Situationist International signified a growing desire to move away from capitalism and the world of boredom and alienation it entails, and, likewise, young radicals wanted to free music from the shackles of reification that contradicted … Continue reading ‘Exploring Xenakis: Performance, Practice, Philosophy’

‘avant garde’ and ‘Avant Garde’: A Practice-Led Investigation

I will be giving a talk at the University of Leeds in December. More information will be available here at some point. My talk is based on my PhD thesis, and is titled ‘”avant garde” and “Avant Garde”: A Practice-Led Investigation’. Below is an abstract for the talk: ‘avant garde’ and ‘Avant Garde’: one term denotes artistic progression, the other describes a fixed concept. Both fuel artistic practice. The terms are easily and often confused and this goes someway to blurring the boundaries between being progressive and adhering to a style. This talk examines and compares these two definitions by way of … Continue reading ‘avant garde’ and ‘Avant Garde’: A Practice-Led Investigation

(Per)Forming Art: Performance as Research in Contemporary Artworks

I have recently completed editing a multi-authored book based on the proceedings of the (Per)Forming Art Symposium which I founded in 2015. I am pleased to announce that the book will be available via the Cambridge Scholars Publishing website from the 1st October, 2016. This publication is based on the proceedings of the first (Per)Forming Art event, which took place September, 2015. More information regarding this event can be found here. Further information regarding this publication can be found on the (Per)Forming Art website. Below is a book description, which is also available on the Cambridge Scholars Publishing website: Book Description: The acts of composing and … Continue reading (Per)Forming Art: Performance as Research in Contemporary Artworks

What does it mean to ‘compose’?

Tomorrow I will present a paper at a postgraduate symposium in Leeds about composition and what it might entail. This talk also forms a small part of the argument in my PhD thesis. A the moment, it poses more questions than it answers. Below is an abstract for this talk: What is really involved in the act of composing? Does it concern ‘material’ (whatever that is) or structure? Are composers genuinely ‘creating’ when they compose or are they merely rearranging what already exists into a coherent form? In order to explore this area, my investigation begins with the following question: what … Continue reading What does it mean to ‘compose’?

*Interstice* now available on iTunes

Interstice is out and available to download via iTunes! More information can be found here. Interstice is an artwork and iPhone app that enables users to record, and listen to, an audible representation of their heartbeat. It also allows users to select a musical fragment to accompany their heartbeat. As such, users from all over the world are able to collaborate in the formation of a composition comprising an intricate cacophony of audible heartbeats and musical fragments. Users can listen to the resultant conglomeration of audible heartbeats and musical fragments by navigating a three-dimensional representation of Earth. Each user can add up … Continue reading *Interstice* now available on iTunes

Gaudeamus Muziekweek Academy

I recently attended the Gaudeamus Muziekweek Academy in Utrecht. My composition Parallax Error (2014) for any 4-string bowed instrument was workshopped by cellist Katharina Gross and double bassist Dario Calderone. I also had the opportunity to meet other selected composers from across the globe. The experience was enlightening and it introduced me to a whole world of music happening right now. In the first cello workshop, we were introduced to a variety of contemporary music and Katharina Gross’ cellomundo project. Our own works were also performed and discussed. The academy also offered workshops about composing for harp and composing with live electronics. We were introduced to a range of harp music … Continue reading Gaudeamus Muziekweek Academy

(Per)Forming Art: Performance as a Compositional Technique

Tomorrow I will present a paper in the PGR Symposium at the University of Leeds. My presentation will discuss how performance can be consciously applied to the compositional process. The acts of composing and performing are central processes to the formation of a musical work. Performance is a medium through which music is formed. It is a significant part of a work’s compositional process and, as such, forms a symbiotic relationship with the act of composing. An iterative cycle between performance and composition comes about when the composer performs their own work and/or composes through performance. Performance in this manner can be … Continue reading (Per)Forming Art: Performance as a Compositional Technique

Study Day on Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity

Some of my research has been selected for display in the Study Day on Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity at the University of Huddersfield in the form of an academic poster (see image below). This is not the first time I have presented on this topic, I discussed this particular subject at the PGR Symposium in 2013. I have also written about it on this website before. Poster Abstract In this presentation, I discuss my current composition Interstice, the ‘form’ of which relies on the participation of an interactive audience via the internet and an iPhone ‘app’. Due to a specific … Continue reading Study Day on Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity

Considering Expression as Compositional Material: ‘Improvisation is the Middle Ground between Composing and Performing’ or ‘Using Improvisation in Live Performance as a Compositional Technique’

Tomorrow I will present the following at a postgraduate conference in Leeds: Defining compositional material is not straightforward. Much of existing literature suggests there are many varied perspectives on this that are ultimately dependent upon each individual composer’s personal approach to writing music. As such, it can be argued that compositional material is an individual strategy for composing. Taking on this perspective, and with reference to my own work, this presentation explores a personal definition for compositional material by way of a particular compositional approach: improvisation. It is my current hypothesis that improvisation not only embodies a middle ground between … Continue reading Considering Expression as Compositional Material: ‘Improvisation is the Middle Ground between Composing and Performing’ or ‘Using Improvisation in Live Performance as a Compositional Technique’

The Composer’s Paradox: An Exploration of Restriction and Freedom in the Compositional Process

Tomorrow I will present a paper at a postgraduate symposium in Leeds. This presentation forms part of my ongoing PhD research. An abstract is included below: One can investigate the compositional process in terms of the conflict between restriction and freedom. Restriction can take many forms, some of which are imposed by logistics (for example, instrumental practicalities and performer ability), and others which are imposed by the composer (such as macro- and micro-level patterning processes and extra-musical concepts). These often then become the basis of stylistic conventions and, in a way, ‘knowledge’. Freedom exists in symbiotic relation to restriction, and … Continue reading The Composer’s Paradox: An Exploration of Restriction and Freedom in the Compositional Process

A Violent Encounter? : Notions of Hidden ‘Violence’ in Compositional Thoughts, Acts, and Encounters with the Work of Art

Tomorrow I will present the following at a postgraduate conference in Leeds. The research is still in development. An abstract is included below: The process of encountering a work of art potentially involves a hidden ‘violent’ event. In ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’, Martin Heidegger portrays the encounter with an artwork as entailing a dynamic strife-filled ‘world’ of sociocultural and historical relations and signifiers that is paradoxically both autonomous and reliant on human interaction. Although Heidegger explains that the overall interpretation of such a work of art is not violent, but transports the receiver into an ‘openness’ opened … Continue reading A Violent Encounter? : Notions of Hidden ‘Violence’ in Compositional Thoughts, Acts, and Encounters with the Work of Art