Author Archives: Ben

‘Love Letters’ reworked

Been working on a new version of Love Letters for me to play (piano/electronics) with Hannah Williams. Had a good first rehearsal yesterday on it. I need to practise! We will play the premiere at a new University of Southampton festival focused around AI Arts on 2 June alongside music by Anna Appleby and Drew Crawford/Bella Barlow. Music by Jennifer Walshe will also feature.

The Love Letters [with AI] project has been featured as a research highlight too:


Doing a big socials push at the moment around the release, next Friday 26 April, of my portrait album with Birmingham Record Company – TOO MANY SWEETS. The first video is a clip from awesome US pianist Dorothy Chan‘s recording of Too Many Sweets (when Dorothy met Blake).

Pythagoras’ Toolkit returns to Montreal

Had a fantastic time returning to Montreal this week for performances of Pythagoras’ Toolkit promoted by Le Vivier and Bach Before Bedtime. Was really fun working with the musicians from Ensemble Paramirabo again and of course the Dotted Line crew director/co-creator Rachel Warr and puppeteers Gilbert Taylor and Edie Edmundson.

Laefer Quartet performances of ‘Avalanche’

Laefer Quartet will give the world premiere of my sax quartet (with electronics) – Avalanche – at Turner Sims on 4 March 2024 at 1pm, as part of the Department of Music Lunchtime series. They will also play the piece at the launch of their new album STRATA on 16 March 2024 at St Peter’s Church, Fulham.

I’m really delighted to have Avalanche included on STRATA, which is released 1 March.

The Driver

I’ve been on research leave from University over the last few months. I’ve written a sax and percussion duo Shuffle (more on that soon I hope) and nearly finished the editing of a new 45-minute poetry-music piece with the wonderful poet Luke Wright called The Driver. We will premiere this piece in February with an orchestra of students at Turner Sims in Southampton. The gig is free (details in Events)!

The piece narrates the life of a driver from behind the wheel, taking in the ring roads, flyovers, service stations, leisure parks, motels and lay-bys of England. It’s both a travelogue of England’s least glamorous places and the story of a break-up, a love poem to being away and our ability to keep on going. It’s sad, celebratory and caustic with all the squalor and romance the road has to offer.

The music I’ve written sometimes underscores Luke’s poetry, and sometimes comes to the fore. It draws on a range of music from England including some medieval polyphony shared with me by my ace colleague Amy Williamson as well as music by Purcell (linked up to me by Andrew Pinnock) and Parry. There’s also recordings from inside a car, including recordings I took driving up to Fleet Services with a posh microphone in the passenger seat back in 2019!!

It’s been great working on this project with Luke and been a long time coming as we started it before the pandemic. I’m grateful to the Department of Music for helping make this happen and super excited to share The Driver with the world!

Ensemble Saxologie record ‘Avalanche’

Montreal-based Ensemble Saxologie recently recorded my Avalanche (2022). It sounds wonderful. This is the final recording done for my album Too Many Sweets which is due out in April 2024! I’m grateful to the Vaughan Williams Foundation who supported this recording.

The album is sounding great and going off for mastering soon. My friend and colleague Drew Crawford is an amazing mix engineer!

Second Montreal run of Pythagoras’ Toolkit – February 2024

Really excited to be going back to Montreal with the Pythagoras’ Toolkit crew Rachel Warr (director), Gilbert Taylor and Edie Edmundson (puppeteers) in February 2024. Playing the piece with the amazing Ensemble Paramirabo again. Five performances will be co-presented by Le Vivier, Bach Before Bedtime and Une école montréalaise pour tous.