Astrolabes and the sound of dark matter

The recording of Ealing Youth Orchestra’s fantastic performance of Dark Matter Sounding is here:

There are other recordings on my Soundcloud page that are relatively new, including Quatuor Danel playing Cloud Fragments particularly brilliantly! 

Over the last few months I’ve been working on a set of pieces that respond to contemporary accounts of Hypatia of Alexandria, and the astronomical instrument she is known to have worked on – the astrolabe. These pieces will be heard for the first time at IMPULS (Graz, Austria), and explore modular compositional approaches and flexible duration, which is a new development!

Stainless Star (Astrolabe I) – female voice, viola, cello

…to magic, astrolabes, and instruments of music (Astrolabe II)  – bass flute, tenor saxophone, accordion, viola, cello, double bass

Her body in pieces (Astrolabe III) – double bass and optional electronics

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dark Matter [nearly] Sounding

Here’s the link to a post published on Sound and Music’s blog – it’s about writing for young musicians. I reflect on my experiences of working with Ealing Youth Orchestra, and how my Adopt-a-Composer commission in 2011 laid the foundations for this current project Dark Matter Sounding.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exploring the universe

I’ve been working hard on a series of commissions since the summer. Many of the pieces explore scientific concerns and concepts:

Dark Matter Sounding (for Ealing Youth Orchestra – premiere on 1 March)

The Galaxy Rotation Problem (for Psappha – performed in November – film here:

NCG4826: Kinematic Substructures (for MUCE – performed in November)

I’ve also completed a new piece for the idiosyncratic (half-metal band/half-piano trio) ensemble Vulgar Display. Titled Eviscerated Dysphoria, the piece is an encounter with feedback and dynamic extremes. Premiere on 12 February at the RNCM.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Galaxy Rotation Problem

I’ve spent the past few months working on a commission from Psappha. It’s called The Galaxy Rotation Problem, and the premiere is on 2 November – details here

Flier here Psappha 2nd November – Manchester Uni A5

This is the programme note:

Vera Rubin (b.1928) is an astronomer whose research led to theories of dark matter in the universe. Her observations that objects at the outer limits of galaxies rotate much faster than the laws of physics predict was an important landmark in our understanding of space: unseen, non-luminous, dark matter of significant mass must exist.

The Galaxy Rotation Problem is an impossible journey through some of the galaxies observed by Rubin: their properties are re-imagined sonically, guiding the listener through terra incognita light years apart.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Some things to look forward to in the coming months!

Saturday 21 September 8pm – solo voice set (to include Kurtág, Aperghis, and my solo piece DNA) – Manchester, location to be revealed….

Tuesday 29 October 6pm – Trio Atem performance (programme features Fabrice Fitch, Martin Iddon, Michael Mayhew, Ian Vine, Richard Whalley, and my trio The modifications of clouds) – MediaCityUK, Salford – Dock10 building.

Saturday 2 November 7.30pm – Psappha premiere my newest piece The Galaxy Rotation Problem – Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, University of Manchester.

Friday 6 December 7.30pm – Quatuor Danel perform my string quartet Cloud Fragments –  Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, University of Manchester.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Next solo gig on 15 June

Had a brilliant time at the last concert in the Trio Atem Northern Arcs series yesterday – we played in a bar to a friendly crowd including lots of kids and some unfamiliar faces.

My next performance is on Saturday 15 June, and will be a solo voice extravaganza. Bark! and Jiyah Kelly are also playing – can’t wait! Details here (it’s in Manchester):

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From the scientific to the sonic

I’m giving a paper at the MuSA conference in Karsruhe, Germany on 25 May.

My title is From the scientific to the sonic: compositional and performative approaches in DNA for solo voice

I’ll be talking about current compositional approaches that generate sonic materials from scientific impetuses, as well as reflecting on my dual role as composer-performer.

Thanks to the RNCM Research Fund for financial assistance with my attendance costs!

Also coming up is the final concert of the Trio Atem Northern Arcs series, where we finally play in a bar! 4pm Sunday 2 June at the Nip and Tipple, Whalley Range, Manchester. Also featuring special guests GOVES and David Birchall. Can’t wait!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Northern Arcs

Over the last few months my ensemble Trio Atem has performed five new commissions (Eleri Pound, Scott Wilson, Larry Goves, Martin Iddon, Mic Spencer), so much of my time has been spent learning this music and navigating the new technical challenges posed. It’s been very exciting! We’ll be performing all the commissions together as part of the Leeds University Contemporary Music Weekend on 21 April. This concert will also feature the second performance of my new piece for solo voice, DNA. There’s a recording of the premiere here

I’ve also revised my bass flute piece The invention of clouds so that it can be performed without the offstage instruments. Gavin Osborn gave a fantastic performance of this new version in March at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


….New Year folks!

At the moment I’m working on a new piece for solo voice, which I’ll be performing on Valentine’s Day at the University of Manchester.

PLUS – good news on the funding front for Trio Atem:

Trio Atem are the delighted recipients of an Arts Council Grants for the Arts award.

The funds will support our 2013 concert series, Northern Arcs, which features five brand new Trio Atem commissions from composers Martin Iddon, Larry Goves, Eleri Pound, Scott Wilson, and Mic Spencer. We’ll be working closely with these fabulous composers, who we think will make exciting and varied additions to our repertoire. Please see my ‘Events’ page for details of the concerts taking place in Manchester and Leeds in the coming months at a variety of venues. We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

then and now

Busy times have meant I’ve not updated this site for a while….

Recent performances include singing at A Curious Night, which was part of the Allery Gallery (

And I’ll be performing music by Berlioz and Aperghis on 15 July at Repton School, accompanied by the dazzling Richard Casey. This should be a fantastic concert  –  Endellion String Quartet with Kathryn Stott, who are playing music by Haydn, Smetana, and Brahms:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment