Swing it, shake it, move it, make it

I am giving a Research Seminar in the University of York Music
Department on Wednesday 27th May, 4pm. Here is the abstract.

Swing it, shake it, move it, make it
A reflection on devising processes in recent music-theatre pieces

My recent music-theatre works have derived all their material from the physicality and gestures of musical performance. In these, both performer and instrument are physical, performative objects.

As a composer, the question was: how far can this material go? Inevitably, the pieces would become partly self-referential about musical performance itself. (As an absurdist, the answer is: no comment.)

This talk will detail how influences from contemporary dance and performance art have developed a devising process for creating equally visual and aural works collaboratively with musicians. A key factor in this practice-led research has been into the establishing of a rehearsal space, in which musicians with little or no experience of movement, or physical/musical improvisation, can create and develop physical and musical material comfortably and thoughtfully. In this way, music-theatre works are not composed “onto” a performer, but with. The composer becomes facilitator, reflector, director.

The following works will be discussed,

before a brief look ahead to final planned PhD pieces, including a large-scale work for choreographed orchestra.