Over time free improvisation has grown in great significance in my music making as a performer-composer. I try to create music that has the emotive freedom and intensity of free improvisation - I love its energy, focus and agility – but captured in scores (in some type of form) from which musicians can perform! This fundamental approach towards the improvised is considered from Wadada Leo Smith's ideal of creative music - dedicated to developing a heightened awareness, appreciation and understanding of improvisation as an equal art form alongside western classical art music.
Aya for bass flute and ensemble of flutes (2018)
Aya “fern” is the Adinkra symbol for endurance and resourcefulness. Imagine a peaceful soothing forest. The wind gently blows, trees creak, branches, plants and leaves rustle. Written for The Silver Pencils featuring Laura Cioffi on bass flute.
The score consists of a hand printed acrylic graphic and simple text guide for the performers. [text card available upon request] Live recording SET Dalston 13 Sept 2018
RITUALS for Orchestra Entropy (2018) shortlisted for a 2018 British Composer Award!
An extended work for ten improvisers using open scoring and graphics presented in two hand drawn panels. At the centre of the first panel lies a graphic for the musicians to interpret inspired by the work of Polish artist Jan Tarasin.
Orchestra Entropy - Georgia Cooke (alto flute), Tom Ward (bass clarinet), Matt London (tenor sax), Seb Silas (baritone sax), Sarah Gail Brand (trombone), Rebecca Raimondi (violin), Benedict Taylor (viola), Seth Bennett (double bass), Joel Bell (guitar) and Mark Sanders (drums)
Panels for Alto Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Violin, Double Bass, Live Electronics & Drums (2017)
A set of five graphic panels devised to serve as starting points for performers to interpret, improvise and depart from. Written for Mark Sanders (Drums), Phil Maguire (Live Electronics) and Ensemble Entropy - Georgia Cooke (Alto Flute), Matt London (Tenor Saxophone), Rebecca Raimondi (Violin) and Seth Bennett (Double Bass).
Panels in order of this performance (ensemble completely free between 3 & 4) - Live recording 1 November 2017 IKLECTIK London
The Shaman for 12 Tenor Saxophones (2017)
The Shaman - full of mystic spirits and energies influenced & inspired by the music of my favourite saxophonist Paul Dunmall. The score uses a hybrid notation system including graphics towards my aim of devising music that captures the intense & spontaneous spirit of free improvisation!
Written for and premiered at EurSax17 (Porto) by the Tenor Saxophone Collective - Joåo Pedro Silva, Nathan Henshaw, Rodrigo Villa, Rob Buckland, Jenni Watson, Erin Royer, Andy Scott, Henrique Portovedo, Gilly Blair, Isabel Anjo, Matt London and Luis Riberio.
Herbig-Haro for Violin and Double Bass (2017)
...cosmological objects... clouds of interstellar gas appearing and colliding with each-other around newly born stars. Hybrid graphic score devised for and performed by Rebecca Raimondi (Violin) and Seth Bennett (Double Bass).
The Illuminated Man for Piano, Flute, Saxophone, Violin and Double Bass (2017)
An open scored work exploring questions and realisations. Written for and performed by Matthew Bourne (Piano) and Ensemble Entropy - Georgia Cooke (Flute/Alto Flute), Matt London (Baritone/Tenor Saxophone), Rebecca Raimondi (Violin) and Seth Bennett (Double Bass).
Score - Live recording 25/4/17 IKLECTIK London
Beneath the Horizon for Large Ensemble (2017)
For Leeds College of Music | New Music Collective (Amplified Ensemble) Direction: Damien Harron
"from below the shadows glances of light appear and vanish" - imagine hidden forces constantly in flux some subtle, some not so growing towards a point which for now is unseen. Full of graphic elements, non-traditional notations and not a time signature or barline in sight, I am trying to push the players in to creating uninhibited textures and moments that fluctuate and crest away from the standard compositional tradition. For me the interplay between performers is really important, intriguing and exciting!
Live performance 27/02/17 The Venue - Leeds College of Music
Serenade for Solo Voice (2016)
Text score written for and performed by Loré Lixenberg. Live electronics by Ardeshir Mostajeran.
The Wind Blows South for Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, Violin and Double Bass (2016)
Inspired by a Jo Surzyn poem. Written for and performed by Ensemble Entropy exploring the relationship and balance between open scoring, free improvisation and traditional notation.
Georgia Cooke (Flute), Matt London (Tenor Saxophone), Rebecca Raimondi (Violin), Seth Bennett (Double Bass), with Ben Zucker (Trumpet).
Live recording 3/8/16 IKLECTIK London
Some Not All for Three Cellos (2015)
A graphic score written for and performed by Tre Voci: Torun Stavseng, Gregor Riddell and Colin Alexander.
Live workshop recording Brunel University London 13.10.15
Flea Circus for Oboe, Violin, Tenor Saxophone & Double Bass (2015)
"Roll up, roll up, roll up! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... let my rag tag troupe of performers entertain you!"
Written for Trish Clowes' Emlusion Quartet for the 3rd Cheltenham Composer Academy. Joe Sanders (Oboe), Donald Grant (Violin), Trish Clowes (Tenor Saxophone) and Calum Gourlay (Double Bass)
Performance recording from Cheltenham Music Festival 2015.
Northern Call for Bass Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello and Percussion (2015)
Written for and performed by the brilliant Distractfold Ensemble. The score is openly notated and mainly based around a simple notation key. This key is designed to encourage free and personal interpretation… not exact repetitions.
A keening for a place afar and in the past.
Rocío Bolaños (Bass Clarinet), Linda Jankowska (Violin), Emma Richards (Viola), Alice Purton (Cello), and Rodrigo Constanzo (Percussion)
Workshop recording at the Centre for Contemporary Music Practice.
FaN | Fanfare about Nothing for Violin, Horn & Cassette player (2015)
Written for Jetpack Bellerive: Noëlle-Anne Darbellay [violin] and Samuel Stoll [horn] for their brilliant "bored to death" programme. For this piece I have tried to look at my use of musical line and the edge of sound.
A fanfare quite literally about nothing!
Live performance recording at the Centre for Contemporary Music Practice.
Shard for Bass Clarinet & Live Electronics (2014)
Written for Marij van Gorkom [sonicspaces.eu]. Patch [MAX MSP] designed and created by Ben Fox.
This piece looks at sound as if it were light passing through glass constantly shifting and shimmering. Sometimes corse and sharp imagine a visceral energy like an electrical undercurrent passing through unseen before it breaks and shatters. Performed & recorded live at the Centre for Contemporary Music Practice.
Lament for Michel for Improvising ensemble (2013)
Character postcard piece written for and performed by notes inégales at the London Jazz Festival November 2013.
Michel Petrucciani was a person and musician always full of joy ignoring the affliction of a disease that stunted his growth and weakened his bones to become one of the most celebrated jazz pianists of his generation.
The Pervasive Force for Tenor Saxophone and Piano (2012) | Recorded by Matt and Dave Howard on the CD "SPEAK NOW" (ML001)
Just two tones form the basis of this piece, and these two influence each other, develop, and spread into The Pervasive Force!
Written as a salute to the tenor saxophone the work is built around the interval between F# and Ab, exploring different uses of the material through interweaving chords and melodic lines before transforming into a hard hitting and sweeping force demonstrating the full and rich tone of the tenor.
Unstable Molecules for Set Up & Contemporary Ensemble (2010)
Written for percussionist Robin Eggers. The work is based on the melding of classical percussion and improvisation. The piece contains three main flavours taken from classical, free improv and jazz, which has been formulated into a structure with space for the performers to improvise and experiment within, leading to a overall feel of spontaneity.
Do get in touch if you have an idea for a future piece or project!
More works can be found on my soundcloud page.