Feeney Fellowship

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Since receiving the Feeney Fellowship late last year, I have made contact with some very exciting and experienced sound artists who work with field recordings. I’d describe my compositional practice as being primarily concerned with instrumental music, but I do dabble with music production and samples. I wish to learn more about this realm to support for-Wards project, which invites communities to capture field recordings in their neighbourhoods.

I used field recordings with communities for the first time in a THSH music education project called Pipe Up in 2008 based around the organ in Coventry cathedral. We used freeware and captured found sounds from the organ as a soundtrack for animations young people created.

Working with field recordings is a growing interest, and it is a real honour to have this opportunity to learn from such inspirational figures. At the beginning of January 2016, I met up with sound artist Duncan Chapman. We spent a rather relaxed morning exploring and recording sounds round Northfield district, starting out in Longbridge, and then used the afternoon to talk and listen to the various ways found sounds have been used by composers.

It was great to learn and see how Duncan engaged with the environment. We both admitted how as field recordists there is an inner conflict about how you capture certain sounds, for example, the sound of tiles being removed from a semi-detached house in Longbridge coupled with bird song sounded ace, but we both admitted to wanting the sound of the man doing the tiling work’s radio to stop playing. We spoke about the awareness of our very human tendency, to want to control our sonic environment and filter out sounds we didn’t find interesting

This week I meet with Janek Schaefer. More news to follow! Here’s his latest radio interview.

String Arrangements

I have been asked to compose string arrangements for Lizzie Emeh’s new LP. I thought I’d find this quite easy as my compositions tend to be quite melodic, oh how naive of me!
So as the stress levels have increased (writer’s block) – I decided to take a day off working on the tracks, start a 6000 word research essay due in 3 weeks (!!), and listened to great string arrangers. Whilst figuring out how to create arrangements for Lizzie’s tracks, I have enjoyed working on the texture/warmth/subtleties. What I have found challenging is being bold at the right moment. Thanks to Mark at Heart and Soul for being patient with me and giving me this opportunity. Time to step up now!

Listen and learn from great string composer-arrangers:

Patrice Rushen
Rod Temperton
Will Malone
Will Gregory
Lalo Schifrin
Glen Page
David Van DePitte
David Whitaker

Adrift

6587984183_0ef957ab43_zImage by Ruby’s Treasures.

As part of my Masters degree, an opportunity arose for Birmingham Conservatoire students to be paired with English students from Warwick University. I co-wrote a piece for string quartet and soprano and it is being performed at 9.15pm at Warwick Arts Centre, after their Nocturne performance. The piece is called Adrift¬†and the words are written by Warwick Uni student/poet Miss Ella.Here’s a wee snippet, I am still buzzing from how beautifully the Coull Quartet and Sophie Pullen performed in today’s rehearsal!

Chef Concertino

At the start of the year, I was fortunate to have an orchestral piece called “Chef Concertino” performed at Birmingham Conservatoire. The composition department has an annual competition where composition students can submit works to be performed; the best 6 are chosen.

My performance incorporated two passions: food and music. It featured my chef uncle and Graeme Rose from Stan’s Cafe. It was a good first attempt and a lot of work went into it. I would make more tweaks if I had time, such as more interaction between orchestra and chef, but there’s only so many hours in the day.

Have a listen: