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Phoenix Dance Theatre | Choreographers and Composers Lab

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

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Sonnets/Radiophrenia

RAdiophrenia logo

 



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)

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Segami Dance Company

From the archive – Segami Dance Company was a collaborative project with New Zealand performer Hugh Major in the early 1990s in Edinburgh, Scotland. We joined forces after our paths crossed while working in the experimental theatre scene.

We created a handful of works including Bruised (solo), My Heart and My LegsThis Glorious Prison, and Shifting Sands, and performed in Edinburgh, London and a few venues in New Zealand’s north island. During our stay in New Zealand we also held workshops and collaborated with performing arts students to create their own contribution to our performance.

Our main influences were Butoh dance, other movement practices like Tai Chi, and indigenous cultures – we were interested in creating intense, contemplative, energetic work. I am currently going through archive materials to see what remains from that time.

Segami

Segami

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One Autumn Night


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

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Word of Mouth

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.

Selected Performances

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

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Lateral

Nichola Scrutton Lateral

Originally commissioned and created for High-Slack-Low-Slack-High – a suite of audio works relating to the Clyde River curated by Minty Donald for GI Festival of Visual Art – Lateral was made as a live, site-specific installation set in Dixon Street, Glasgow. Subsequent to that event I created a studio version of the work.

Background info

Dixon Street is a main thoroughfare that runs from the river directly up through the city’s main shopping artery. The aims of the work were to highlight a sense of disconnection from the river and to create multiple cross currents by merging the river sounds of Lateral and the sounds of the city environment. The work was projected over large horn speakers mounted in the street between two buildings, creating a view down to the river. Six vocalists added a further layer of human presence with their resonant tones both emerging out of and being subsumed by the undulating sound density of the site.

The starting point for the work was the idea of a ‘Lateral System’ – a system of navigational aids comprising shapes, colours and numbers, used to guide boats up river channels into ports and docks. However, the multiple resonances of the word ‘lateral’ took on greater significance in the work through the associations and digressions that emerge with the notion of a flowing river. Place names, numerical information from tidal charts and signal/radio sounds serve as signposts along the way, rooting the work in a real world place. But the perpetual flow of water and the periodic rhythms of a vocal landscape contribute to a sense of multiple spatial and historical resonances, and to ideas of flowing with and against the current.

Many thanks indeed to Claire Docherty, Kirstie Edgar, Jessica King, Morag Stark and Hanna Tuulikki for their live vocal contributions both on site at Dixon Street and at the closing event in the Clydeport Authority Headquarters.

Performances/events include…

2016
‘Inter-#6’ (Glasgow)
Curated radio show ‘Glasgow Soundscapes’ WebSynRadio (France)
2015
Curated listening hour at Brooklyn Acoustic Ecology Festival (US)
LOLG project Shona Island (Scotland)
2014
(25 Feb – 2 March)
Here. now. where? Saout Radio, 5th Marrakech Biennale
(12 – 18 January)
Framework Radio broadcasts
12th london, uk ::: resonance 104.4fm
13th amsterdam, nl ::: concertzender
13th vancouver, us ::: radio nouspace
14th south devon, uk ::: soundartradio 102.5fm
14th maribor, si ::: radio marš 95.9fm
15th lisbon, pt ::: radio zero
15th vancouver, us ::: radio nouspace
16th coimbra, pt ::: rádio universidade de coimbra 107.9fm
16th lisbon, pt ::: radio zero
17th ljubljana, si ::: radio študent 89.3fm
17th brussels, be ::: radio campus 92.1fm
17th vancouver, us ::: radio nouspace
18th london, uk ::: resonance 104.4fm
18th new york state, us ::: wgxc 90.7fm
18th brasilía, br ::: rádio paisagem
2012
Foldover, WOBC 91.5 fm, Ohio
Time/Zones, Akademie der Kunst, Berlin
AIR/EAR Installation, Radio-System, Argentine

High-Slack-Low-Slack-High, GI Festival, Dixon Street, Glasgow
High-Slack-Low-Slack-High, GI Festival, Clydeport HQ, Glasgow

 

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Teaching Fellow University of Glasgow

After being awarded my PhD from University of Glasgow I worked as a Teaching Fellow in Music there for two years.

Glasgow Unesco City of Music

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;
Course Administration.

2004-2009  University of Glasgow (Music):
Graduate Teaching Assistant

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Songs for a Stranger

Songs for a Stranger - SolitudeSongs 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.

 

 

 

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The Dwelling Series

The Dwelling Series - Nichola Scrutton

The Dwelling Series (2010) is a triptych of vocal works. Multiple concepts arising from the notion of the title Dwelling gave rise to an interactive process of improvising and recording with MAXMSP, through which I sought to explore a sense of ‘inhabiting’ the work. As inspiration for generating improvised material under this complex umbrella concept of ‘dwelling’ I used three general metaphors to articulate events or states: dust (nature), cycle (flow/journey) and echo (memory).

The compositional process consisted of creating successive  vocal improvisations, which were merged together, fully intact, after each improvisation was captured. Manipulation of the captured improvisations was strictly limited to the editing of gestures and textures in time and space to enhance or magnify relationships/conflicts that emerged by chance as each layer was added.

(i) Dwelling/In Dialogue: studio composition (17′). Listen

(ii) Dwelling/Encounters: pre-composed sound and live performance, in which two live performers merged and improvised with a pre-composed soundtrack projected through multiple loud speakers.  Swiss vocalist Céline Hänni and I undertook a short intensive residency to explore extended technique vocal improvisation that culminated in the final performance. (12’30). Listen

(iii) Dwelling/In Reflection: live interactive solo performance (18′). Listen

 

 

 

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Academic Awards

Academic Awards and Qualifications

PhD in Electroacoustic Composition – portfolio ‘Hearing Voices’  – University of Glasgow (graduation Nov 2009)
Funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award – selected from open competition (2005 – 08)

MMus in Composition – University of Glasgow (2004 – 05)
Supported by a Bellahouston Scholarship and a Broomhill Scholarship 

BMus (Hons) First Class –University of Glasgow (2004)
The Goudie Prize ‘Most Distinguished BMus Hons Graduate’.