Composer
[ London, UK ]
- free music to play
Research Conclusions
My draft PhD thesis runs to 80,000 words, but here is an amazingly brief summary. 1. Artists may imagine they think up ideas just from their imagination. They are deluding themselves if so. Ideas emerge from an artist's subconscious mind as a result of a dialogue affected all they they have learned and experienced. As a result artistic ideas reflect the artist's environment, and cannot be said to be an artists alone. This is the conclusion I draw both from studies of aesthetic theory, and from modern studies of the psychology and neurology of artistic creation. I call this process 'dialogic artistic creation'. 2. Collaboration is an over-used word, used to refer to a wide variety of working relationships. It would be better to use different terms for different forms of shared working between artists. The key questions will be - can they share the imagining of ideas, and can they share decision making about them? From this I define four types of working relationship - hierarchical, consultative, co-operative, and collaborative. In the last type the work of imagining and decision making are both shared. 3. Artists are often seen as the authors of the meaning of their art, but they can rarely specify what this is. As a result the search to identify the artists' intended meaning will result in failure. Some argue that the artist is irrelevant, and meanings are made by audiences. However, we cannot shut from our minds the identity of the artist(s) when experiencing art. My conclusion is that artists do not seek to communicate meanings, but to offer experiences. They are the authors of the tasks required to create these experiences. Each audience member makes their own meaning from their experience of the art. 4. Many pieces of music, mainly from the 19th century, have been analysed as narratives. But some writers argue that music cannot communicate a narrative. The problem with both of these arguments is that they conflate the ideas of narrative and of representation. Neurological studies show that music is received as a complete experience in the right hemisphere of the brain, and cannot be summarised adequately in words. They also show that music may be perceived as an analogue of another experience, such as a story. Looking at my own music, I find that pieces I wrote with or for other artists seem to me to take the form of dramas, while pieces I wrote just as felt right to me take the form of narratives.
Biography
I came to music part way through life. Earlier decades were spent working in a wide range of activities linked to public policy and political activism. Since beginning to study and write music I have become a proficient clarinet, player, and a modest saxophone, percussion, violin and viola player. I began writing soon after I began playing, and soon obtained performances for my pieces. My music has been played extensively in Britain, both by groups I have worked with directly and by others. It has also been performed in Spain, France, the USA, and Argentina. I initially studied with Peter Sander, Michael Finnissy, and John Woolrich. I completed an MMus in Composition at Trinity College of Music, where I won the Halford Prize for piano composition and my entry to the Runswick Composition Prize was commended. At Trinity I studied with Andrew Poppy, Errollyn Wallen, Gwyn Pritchard, and Paul Newland. I completed an Erasmus Fellowship at ESMUC in Barcelona as part of my course, studying with Felix Pastor and Luis Naon. I have nearly completed a PhD in Composition. I began by studying composers working with other artists, but found it necessary to focus instead on defining several aesthetic ideas since their lack of definition impeded my original study. I have worked out new views on how artists create, how they work together, on the authorship of art, and on musical narratives. My research is supervised by Professor Paul Barker, head of Music Theatre at the Central School of Speech and Drama. I have a long-standing involvement in community and amateur music. I conduct the London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra and London Consort of Winds. I play in Lambeth Wind Orchestra and Dulwich Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 I set up the Herne Hill Music Festival. 6 Festivals have now taken place and we are already planning the 2017 Festival.