Category Archives: Conducting

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.

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!

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.

‘Phat Feet’ & The Triple Helix

In 2022 I was involved in a couple of cool projects with Music colleagues at Southampton. The first was ‘Exquisite Corpse of AI (Consequences)’ which features music by Drew Crawford, Bella Barlow, Brona Martin and me. This video is the whole piece, but kicks in from near the end of Brona’s part leading into my ensemble contribution Phat Feet.

The Triple Helix Music Project was a collaboration with students and staff from across the Department, led by my friend and amazing colleague Drew Crawford, which responded to the Triplex Helix of the University of Southampton strategy…

Pythagoras’ Toolkit Premieres

Just back from a brilliant week or so in Montreal conducting the premiere of my collaborative puppetry-music work made with Rachel Warr (Dotted Line Theatre). It was fantastic working with Rachel, the amazing musicians of Ensemble Paramirabo, and ridiculously talented puppeteers Gilbert Taylor and Edie Edmundson. The reception from both kids and adults was fantastic, and it was really great to be part of the Festival de Casteliers. Great to see lots of weird and wonderful puppetry in other shows too! Fingers crossed this production leads to further opportunities to do the piece. I’m hugely proud of what Rachel and I have created together and grateful to Jeff Stonehouse and all at Ensemble Paramirabo for believing in it and supporting the project.

Pythagoras’ Toolkit production (finally) happening!

I’ve spent the past few months busily revising and reworking, with my creative collaborator Rachel Warr of Dotted Line Theatre, the score of Pythagoras’ Toolkit (La Boîte à outils de Pythagore in French!) for ensemble and puppeteer. We are working towards the inaugural production of the show with the amazing Ensemble Paramirabo, which will take place in early March in Montreal. I’ve just sent off the production score and parts!

Rachel is brilliant to work with. Super talented of course but also so focused on ensuring the narrative of the show is totally honed. We started working on the piece back in 2019 and have had lots of (mostly pandemic induced) setbacks along the way so it’s really great to be finally heading towards showing this piece to the world.

Details of shows on my gigs page. We are filming and recording it too.

Consequences Pics

Had a great time working with awesome University of Southampton students and colleagues on The Exquisite Corpse of AI (Consequences) back in February. Hope to have a recording/video soon but in the meantime here are some great photos from Ash from whatabouttheash.