Author Archives: Ben

Soundmaking Podcast

Was really great to speak to my mate and colleague Matthew Shlomowitz for his great podcast (made with Håkon Stene) Soundmaking. We spoke about my theorbo piece for Liz Kenny, Extending from the Inside and podcast finishes with the Linn recording of the piece from her CD Ars Longa. You can hear it on Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Platforms!

On the Circulation of Blood

I was super pleased to be invited by Sam Belinfante, along with five other brilliant composers – Sarah Dacey, Neil Luck, Elaine Mitchener, Bernhard Schimpelsberger and Josephine Stephenson – to contribute a new piece to his Folkestone Triennial commission, On the Circulation of Blood. My contribution is called Beacons and features visual heartbeat click tracks, which I created with the help of Professor David Simpson from the University of Southampton.

Sam’s work is an itinerant, multimedia installation and performance work as part of ‘The Plot’, the fifth edition of Creative Folkestone Triennial. Initially unfolding at The Old Drying Grounds, adjacent to St Peter’s School in Folkestone, the work will then move to Market Place in central Folkestone before making its final journey to the Lower Leas Amphitheatre. At the heart of the project is a series of monumental, outdoor installations constructed from specially adapted theatrical apparatuses and bespoke fabric netting. It’s going to be an amazing thing.

Work in progress, Quarterhouse, Folkestone

There are multiple performances, details available on Creative Folkestone’s website.

I first worked with Sam on a project back in 2005, where he tied me up and puppeteered me when I was conducting… video documentation available here!

Pythagoras’ Toolkit ACE Funding

‘Pythagoras’s Toolkit’ for puppet and ensemble, has been awarded funding for further Research and Development work from Arts Council England. The application was led by my theatre director collaborator Rachel Warr and includes funding towards creating an outreach project for the Hands on Humanities Festival at the University of Southampton.

‘From the Sublime to the Ridiculous’

COVID-19 lockdown has been a hectic and strange time for all of us. I’ve not been massively creative, with a lot of my gigs and activities being cancelled, and a busy time working at the University of Southampton.

However, the fantastic pianist Duncan Honeybourne (and my colleague at Southampton) approached me to see if I’d like to write a short piece for his Contemporary Piano Soundbites series. From the Sublime to the Ridiculous is what came out…

Excited that Duncan is recording a bunch of these pieces for a CD later this year.

BLAST

At last year’s Cohan Collective Dance Residency I worked with choreographer Joshua Ben-Tovim and composer Hollie Harding on a new work Enemy of the Stars. A BBC New Creatives film, BLAST, directed by Roseanna Anderson and Josh (http://impermanence.co.uk/), emerged from this collaboration. The film was inspired by the Vorticist journal – BLAST – which was edited by Wyndham Lewis. The journal included short stories, numerous illustrations, poems and a manifesto signed by 11 artists including Ezra Pound and Gaudier Brzeska. Hollie and I worked together to create the music for the film from musical materials we developed last summer.

The film evokes the pulsing energy of early modernist Britain with its experiments in form and desire to manifest a utopian future. We sit alongside a female audience and follow an artist, two dancers and two lovers, with the heavy shadow of retrospect, knowing the carnage and decimation that was to follow this remarkable period of productivity.

In the Alps

I had blast directing the Hartley Loop Orchestra in a major University of Southampton Music Department project at Turner Sims, IN THE ALPS. We performed Richard Ayres’ masterpiece No 42. (In the Alps: an animated concert) featuring soprano Juliet Fraser (wearing an amazing garment made by students at Winchester School of Art), as well as Carnival of the Animals with soloists David Owen Norris and Verity Brooks and a brand new work, Shadows, by Zoe Sones. Was fantastic to work so closely with Southampton students and colleagues on the project and Juliet was AMAZING. Here are some pics by the massively talented Ash Sealy and a short audio excerpt.

eavesdropping.london · Juliet Fraser sings Richard Ayres ‘No. 42 — In the Alps’ (extract)