Video of Sandglass

24 November 2015

Here are some excerpts from my recent work with Lucy Boyes, a dance/music piece called Sandglass. Sandglass was commissioned by Sound Festival and DanceLive and had its first performance in October this year at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. The work is based upon a series of interviews and workshops conducted for this project in Summer 2015 in which people of Aberdeen discussed past, present and predicted cultural changes witnessed over their lifetimes in the North East of Scotland on land and at sea.

Categories: Audio, Performance, Sound Festival, Works

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Enterprise Music Scotland Residency at Crear

19 November 2015

Crear image 1

Last weekend I took part in Enterprise Music Scotland’s Creative Exchange with Red Note Ensemble at Crear on the west coast of Scotland. I was joined by fellow composers Shiori Usui, Chris Hutchings and John De Simone, all of whom I’ve known for many years.

Crear Image 2

Crear is in a beautiful part of the country where the sky and light are constantly changing. The rehearsal room at Crear has floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the Isle of Jura. Our stay coincided with the arrival of Hurricane Abigail which limited the amount of time we spent exploring the surrounding area but gave us a good excuse to sit in front of Crear’s open log fire. At night we were surprised by clear skies and an impressive view of the Milky Way.

Crear Image 3

I spent most of the weekend completing a short solo work for Red Note cellist Robert Irvine (more on that another time) who was joined by violinist Tony Moffat and violist Jessica Beeston.

Crear Image 4

On Sunday morning, having completed the cello piece, I wrote this little ditty:

Categories: Performance, Recordings, Red Note, Workshop

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ANTHEM! at CCA Glasgow

18 November 2015


You are invited to ANTHEM!, a workshop about protest and song. Join composer Thomas Butler to collectively create and perform a single new protest song, written by the group, for the group, on a subject dictated by the group. The session is open to all: no previous experience of songwriting or musical performance is required! Bring your voices, bring your words, bring your anger.

The workshop is free but ticketed and the number of participants is strictly limited. Early booking through the CCA website is highly recommended! ANTHEM! is part of ArtCOP Scotland.

Categories: Performance, Workshop

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Ensemble Thing on BBC Radio Scotland

9 November 2015


The recent performance I gave with Ensemble Thing at Sound Festival, You Can’t Get There From Here, was broadcast by BBC Radio Scotland as part of its Classics Unwrapped programme. The whole programme is now available on the BBC iPlayer and clips of the pieces can be heard on the Classics Unwrapped homepage.

Categories: Ensemble Thing, Performance, Recordings, Sound Festival


Video from Ensemble Thing: Independence

5 November 2015

Back in August, I performed Independence by John De Simone with Ensemble Thing as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. One of our performances, at Summerhall, was captured by director Sarah Hodgetts for her work-in-progress film about John and the personal stories behind his music. The video above is just a snippet from Sarah’s footage. The audio is raw and unmixed — and best listened to through headphones — but the film gives a good impression of what we were up to with Thing this summer.

Categories: Audio, Ensemble Thing, Performance

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Photographs from the first performance of Sandglass

3 November 2015

Sandglass, my new dance/music work with choreographer Lucy Boyes, had its first performance on Friday 23rd October at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen as part of Sound Festival and DanceLive. Here are some photographs of the performance, given by Lucy, Mhairi Allan and Robbie Synge with lighting by Francis Stevenson.








Images courtesy of Hannah Imlach.

Categories: Performance, Sound Festival

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My all-time favourite performance direction

22 October 2015

Colin's score

The end of the universe will be announced by bass clarinet and trombone duet. From Colin Broom’s piece for You Can’t Get There From Here.

Categories: Ensemble Thing, Performance, Sound Festival


A busy weekend in Aberdeen

21 October 2015

Sound Logo

This weekend sees me take part in several performances at Aberdeenshire’s Sound Festival and the affiliated In Cahoots conference run by New Music Scotland.

On Friday afternoon (23rd October, 3:30pm, ACT Aberdeen) as part of In Cahoots, Jenny Stephenson will perform a short recital of works for solo clarinet: my piece My Life in Ventriloquism alongside a recent work by Neil Tòmas Smith. My Life in Ventriloquism was originally written for Jenny back in 2012 and it’s been great to revisit the piece with her for this performance.

Friday evening (8pm, The Lemon Tree) sees the première performance of my new collaborative project with choreographer Lucy Boyes, Sandglass. The piece is based around the recollections and imaginations of people from Aberdeen, captured in recorded interviews and workshops conducted especially for this project. We hear the voices of older and younger residents as they discuss the cultural change to the city seen through their lifetime, encompassing the remembered past and the imagined future. Lucy and myself will be discussing this work in a Soundconversation event after the Friday performance and then again with Nele Hertling at the In Cahoots Dance and Contemporary Music Workshop on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday afternoon (24th October, 1pm, ACT Aberdeen) I’ll be conducting Ensemble Thing for the first performance of an interesting and original project called You Can’t Get There From Here. Arising from a residency at Cove Park, YCGTFH is a collaborative project between six Scottish composers – Francis Macdonald, Sonia Allori, Colin Broom, Drew Hammond, John De Simone and Oliver Searle – where each composer’s work was edited and re-written by all the other composers in sequence. The resulting scores are fascinating, surprisingly distinctive and perhaps proof that good art can be made by committee! The band’s been sounding great in rehearsals, too.

Categories: Ensemble Thing, Performance, Sound Festival

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ICWID! Interview with PianoPiano

24 August 2015


In the last ICWID! podcast from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015, PianoPiano (AKA Karen Maciver and Hillary Brooks) talk about their show Dedicated, a series of new works for two pianos which celebrate the lives of women who have changed history.

Listen to the whole interview at I’LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!

Categories: I'LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!, Podcast

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ICWID! Interview with Fiona Soe Paing

24 August 2015

FionaSoePaing by Wes Kingston

In the fourth episode of ICWID! from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we speak to Scottish/Burmese producer-vocalist Fiona Soe Paing about her multimedia work Alien Lullabies which blends other-worldly live vocals with detailed electronica and mesmerizing animations by Zennor Alexander.

Listen to the full interview at I’LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!

Categories: I'LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!, Podcast

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ICWID! Interview with John De Simone

23 August 2015


In the third I’LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE! show from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, John De Simone talks about his work Independence, an exploration of cultural and political identity in Scotland from his perspective as an English-born Scottish-Italian whose grandfather, John McCormick, was instrumental in founding the Scottish National Party.


Categories: Ensemble Thing, I'LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!, Podcast

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ICWID! Interview with John Harris

23 August 2015

John Harris

In the second I’LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE! podcast from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015, John Harris talks about his opera The Garden which is being performed at the Traverse Theatre. Based on an original play by Zinnie Harris, The Garden is set in a dystopian future where a husband and wife find a plant growing through the lino in their kitchen. Originally performed in a real kitchen, this intimate and moving work is scored for two singing actors accompanied by a trusty Yamaha DX7.


Categories: I'LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!, Podcast

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ICWID! Interview with Matthew Collings

21 August 2015

Matthew Collings

My new music podcast, I’LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!, is reporting from this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe: I’ll be talking to some of the composers who are presenting exciting new work there. In this first episode, Matthew Collings talks about his work A Requiem for Edward Snowden which is being performed as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase at the Fringe before performances at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht) and Sound Festival (Aberdeen) later this year. The piece uses live audio-visual processing to explore issues raised in the fallout of Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass covert surveillance and memorialises the death of the innocence of the Internet.


Categories: I'LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!, Podcast

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Sandglass: development week

17 August 2015


I spent last week in residence at Citymoves Dance Agency in Aberdeen with choreographer Lucy Boyes and dance artist Mhairi Allan where we were developing our new work, Sandglass, for Sound Festival and DanceLive.


The piece takes as its starting point the recollections of older residents of Aberdeen, although at present the work is not warmly nostalgic. I’ve made several trips to the city over the last few months to meet some wonderful people and record interviews with them about how Aberdeen has changed over the years. Each of my interviewees spoke about how the arrival of the oil industry into Aberdeen drastically changed the city and the lives of those who live there. As explored in my recent work Elbow Room, I’m fascinated by the role cities have in shaping the lives of those who live in them and how the fabric of the city responds to broader changes and societal trends.


I enjoy collaborating with artists from different disciplines but this is my first time working with dance artists. We spent the week exploring how sound can be made though dance and how physical gesture and sonic gesture can relate to each other — an experimental approach for all concerned. There was a lot of listening, particularly to the recordings of those beautiful Aberdonian voices I have captured over the last few months.


Sandglass will be performed at 8pm on Friday 23rd October 2015 at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen.

Categories: Research, Works

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Independence Trailer

23 July 2015

Here’s a trailer for a production I’m involved in at the Made in Scotland Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. The music is by John De Simone and the group is Ensemble Thing. Performances are at 11:20am on 18th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd August at Summerhall and tickets are on sale now!

Categories: Ensemble Thing, Performance

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