I was absolutely delighted to be one of four composers selected for the Choreographers and Composers Lab 2015 – a two-week intensive residency with Phoenix Dance Theatre in Leeds. The residency was led by Sharon Watson and Ken Hesketh, with guest speakers – Robert Cohan, Peter Weigold, Zoé Martlew, Dr Jo Butterworth, Mike Dixon, Didy Veldman.
Choreographers: Adrienne Hart, Mbulelo Ndabeni, Claire Lefèvre and Sandrine Monin. Composers: Roberto David Rusconi, Nichola Scrutton, Sarah Westwood and Eloise Gynn. Dancers: Hannah Bateman, Francesca Caselli, Andreas Grimaldier, Joshua Harriette, Carmen Marfil, Marie Astrid Mence, Ben Mitchell, Vanessa Pang, Alice Shepherdson, Sam Vaherlehto , Prentice Whitlow. Musicians: Hara Alonso, Oliver Dover, Sean Hamilton, Becky Yen-Huan
Sonnets was a series of live, interactive, largely improvised sound poems, and was created for a Radiophrenia live-to-air commission in 2015. The work drew on the root meanings of the title word – from ‘son’ (song) and ‘sonus’ (sound) – rather than the traditional poetic form. I used minimal processing, and focused instead on weaving together a palette of breathy sounds, phonemic fragments and vocal gestures into a series of self-contained but interlinked sound worlds, sometimes with field recordings, to invoke or reference a fictional place or state.
(Please note the sound clips are currently off-air)
A recording of Songs for a Stranger: (v) in the midst has been selected for the documentary audio compilation Voix Brutes Vol II, to be released by Audition Records on 15th May 2014. The focus of the Voix Brutes compilations is the voice in live performance – its extended forms, techniques and possibilities.
More info including the list of selected artists is here.
[ar093] VOIX BRUTES | International Compilation | Vol.II listen
One Autumn Night is an encounter, a dialogue between two contrasting kinds of musical material: one is human and lyrical, using voice sounds and simple sung melodic fragments, the other is clearly digital and artificial but is subtly inflected with speech-like gestures. The drama, which unfolds in two waves, is a negotiation that nods to the complexities of striving for a thoughtful interaction between humanity, technology and nature.
Events include: 2013 Acoustic Frontiers, Radio, Ottawa, Canada, 2012 RadiaLx, Radio Art Festival / 88.4 FM, Lisbon, Portugal, Basic.fm, broadcast by Pixel.Palace, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, WEALR, 2012 New Music Festival , Cal State Fulerton, US. 2011 Lights Out Listening Group, The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow
Word of Mouth is fixed medium work (4′) that uses the human voice as the only sound source. Structurally the piece uses gestural phonemes to project a range of non-linguistic vocal sounds on the breath, which are extended and woven together to evoke metaphorical and spatial associations.
CAAA Centre for Art and Architecture Affairs, Portugal (Fringe Música Viva 2013)
Radio 6: Cafe Sonore, Netherlands (Musica Viva Sound Garden)
France Musique Radio: ‘Electrain de Nuit’, Christian Zanesi (Musica Viva Sound Garden)
Música Viva Festival Sound Garden, Lisbon, Portugal (2012)
RadiaLx, Radio Art Festival / 88.4 FM, Lisbon, Portugal
Lights Out Listening Event, Glasgow
2009-2011 University of Glasgow (Music) Teaching Fellow (0.6 fte)
In brief, areas of work included:
Sonic Arts Levels II and III;
Practice-based Composition Workshops;
Contemporary Music Ensemble;
Lectures in Music and Technology;
Advising UG Dissertations and students on the MLitt in Popular Music Studies (Creative Practice);
First GLEAM concert organiser and host;
Music Education Project Organiser;
2004-2009 University of Glasgow (Music):
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Songs for a Stranger is a collection or cycle of five electroacoustic works that draws metaphorical inspiration from the many senses of the word ‘stranger’.
Everyone feels like a stranger sometimes – when travelling somewhere new; returning home; confronting solitude. Some feel estranged in close intimacy; others find connection through anonymity.
Songs for a Stranger movements:
i A Fragile Memory (4’40)
ii Blowing In (5′)
iii Solitude (4’26)
iv I Said You Said (5′)
v In the Midst (4’39)
The piece was premiered in the intimate ‘dark space’ at The Arches LIVE! Festival in September 2011, performed and diffused over a 4-channel speaker system. I invited Swiss vocalist Céline Hänni to rehearse and perform the work for Arches Live. Sound diffusion: Graeme Truslove. Many thanks indeed to all at The Arches.
Songs for a Stranger was further supported by a Creative Scotland Quality Arts Production Award.
Songs for a Stranger is a collection or cycle of five electroacoustic works that draws metaphorical inspiration from the many senses of the word ‘stranger’. The work was originally created for, and supported by, Arches Live Festival.
……And down at the rough end of the basement, in a bare tunnel of a room, there’s composer Nichola Scrutton’s Songs For A Stranger, a 25-minute piece that moves beyond the limits of language into five segments of abstract electronic sound, accompanied by the increasingly fierce and brilliant vocal improvisations of Scrutton and her performing partner, Celine Hanni. There’s a central moment of meditation – titled Solitude – that recalls the deep resonances of Tibetan chant; then a final, shattering visit to what sounds like a dying rainforest, as a fierce richness of animal sound gives way to crackling cataclysm, and the soft, low sigh of a final breath….
*** Mary Brennan, The Herald (“…as a live performance, full of vertiginous vocal techniques, it was always impressive…”)