Composer-Curator 2015-16 Announcement

Produced by: 
Sound and Music


Composer-Curator supports and represents a step of change in the world of live music touring, celebrating entrepreneurial artists that are often overlooked.

Composer-Curator aims to create a space for artists to make innovative new work, push new boundaries and develop and understand new music audiences like never before.

Sound and Music wants to honour the incredible passion, dedication and commitment of composers at the heart and grass roots of live production from across the UK.

We are delighted to introduce you to the new Composer-Curator cohort, selected during the Summer of 2015. Their work will showcase and tour across the UK throughout 2015/2016. 

Find out more about the artists and their projects below. 

Ailie Robertson - credit Ryan MacDonald

Ailie Robertson

Lorimer Productions aims to increase the profile and visibility of new music in Scotland, through commissions, curation and tour production. Lead by composer Ailie Robertson, we strive to bring new music to as wide an audience as possible, to promote Scotland's composition talent to the world.

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Nobilis Humilis: Echoes and Traces

This project presents an eight-date tour of eight new choral works written by eight Scottish composers, developed in response to a 900-year old archive fragment from Orkney, Nobilis Humilis. Acclaimed Scottish choir Cappella Nova will premiere the eight new works at Historic Scotland venues around the country, including Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Iona Abbey. This project will be one of the most significant cultural events in Scotland in 2016, highlighting the breadth of Scottish composition talent.

The concert programme will be supplemented with a learning programme, delivered in conjunction with Historic Scotland, to involve local schools from the areas involved in the project. The new pieces can be a direct response to the archive fragment or a more tangential reaction to the text – encouraging audiences to consider the distant world of the fragment and how we can respond to it. The choice of composers draws upon those working within the contemporary classical, folk, electronica and world-music genresand thus best represents the wealth of compositional talent currently residing in Scotland. It includes both established and emerging composers, with a view to attracting as wide an audience as possible, while nurturing Scotland's developing artists.

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 Darius Ciuta

Emma Welton

A QUIET NIGHT IN has presented three concerts of quiet music from diverse strands of twentieth-century and twenty-first-century composition, including new pieces composed by invitationin Exeter (October and November 2014, June 2015). We are at an exciting, early stage of developing an audience for this music in Devon. A QUIET NIGHT IN is curated by Emma Welton and Tony Whitehead.

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A Quiet Night In

Co-curators Emma Welton and Tony Whitehead were drawn together by their shared love of quiet listening both within and outside concert halls. We conceived A QUIET NIGHT IN in 2014 to perform concerts of quiet contemporary music otherwise neither performed nor widely-known in Devon. An antidote to musical performances in noisy bars and club-type settings, A QUIET NIGHT IN provides a context for the exploration of the creative possibilities in quiet/silence. 

We consider carefully the quality of our listening experiences. We use different venues across Exeter and curate the programmes to best fit the space. We allow each venue its own moment of quiet, partly to help our audience settle into a state of attentiveness, but also because each venue has its own audible character and this is worth hearing. We strike a balance between some of the more challenging quiet music of, for example, James Saunders and Wandelweiser composers, and the calm directness of, for example, Howard Skempton. We are also interested in music that contains a certain attitude toward discovering, revealing and permitting sounds such as Joanna Bailie's Artificial Environments – with its recordings of everyday sounds combined with live instruments – and Alvin Lucier's exploration of the acoustic properties of objects, rooms and materials.

We invite people to compose new quiet pieces for our concerts. Programmes have included playfulness and humour alongside intense introspection. Performers number between three and ten per concert.

With the help of Sound and Music’s Composer-Curator programme, we will invite specialist performers and composers from further afield to join us for A QUIET NIGHT IN – sharing insights into the creation and performance of quiet music. For the coming three concerts, the weight of programming will be towards new and recent work, in the context of classics of musical quietness from the last seventy years or so. 

Click here for more info


Neil Luck performing at Dimanche Rouge, FRASQ, Paris. Photograph by Eliane Akl

Neil Luck

Neil Luck is a composer, performer and director based in London. His practice covers a range of media from music-theatre, to concert works, curatorial projects, installations and public engagement projects. He has written for soloists and ensembles in the UK and abroad, and presented work at music venues, festivals and galleries internationally. Neil is the founder and director of the ensemble ARCO – a group that focuses on experimental approaches to music-theatre – and, along with Federico Reuben and Adam de la Cour, co-founder of squib-box – a netlabel and cooperative dedicated to the production and dissemination of perverse avant-garde music. As a curator and producer, Neil has organised a number of events that reflect his interests in live performance. This has included festivals, radio series, concerts, séances, happenings and public engagement projects.

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DRIVETIME UNDERGROUND is a new radio series presenting vanguard new music in the fun and easily digestible format of commercial radio. It attempts to address head-on the growing commercial pressures faced by composers, performers, and organisations in today's cultural marketplace, and rallies against any whiff of elitism. Each show in the series will feature features devised and written by a variety of emerging and established composers – including live performances, competitions, phone-ins, travel news, chat and much, much more.

Do you have a concert to promote, a recording to show-off or a marketing target to reach? On DRIVETIME UNDERGROUND, much of the airtime will also be available to you. For reasonable prices, we will be offering playlist slots, advertising time, shout-outs, studio guest appearances and a whole host of other promotional opportunities. Guaranteed to reach a broad listenership, this show will provide a key platform for composers, performers, ensembles and organisations wishing to develop audiences and maximise their public profile.

Your number one destination for keeping up-to-date with the hottest trends, names and gossip, DRIVETIME UNDERGROUND will be a one-stop shop at the heart of the new music community. 

The show will be broadcast live on Resonance FM, and be made available as a podcast.

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1 = Michael Betteridge / Helen Anne Gregory // 2 = Anna Braithwaite

Michael Betteridge and Anna Braithwaite

Michael Betteridge is a composer with an eclectic output of site-specific and non-traditional works for professionals and non-professionals alike, alongside more traditional concert hall worksbased in Manchester. His music has been performed by local community choirs through to internationally acclaimed soloists and ensembles. He has a keen interest in utilising verbatim practices in his work.  

 Michael Betteridge is one of Sound and Music's 2015 New Voices. To view Michael's profile click here. If you'd like to know more about Sound and Music's New Voices scheme click here to visit the British Music Collection website.

Anna Braithwaite is a composer based in Folkestone, Kent. Her main focus is to write music that connects directly and viscerally with both performer and audience. One of the ways her work does this is through the use of verbatim text taken from interviews or workshops – lending both an unvarnished honesty and a vernacular language that can move and entertain in equal measure. 

More info coming soon


In a UK first, this musical event will be comprised solely of verbatim pieces. IN THEIR OWN WORDS will tour to audiences in Manchester, Folkestone and London with the intention of popularising this radical new genre. This is music about ordinary lives, for everybody. 

IN THEIR OWN WORDS contains world premieres by up-and-coming composers Michael Betteridge and Anna Braithwaite. It will contrast the differing approaches they take to using verbatim text in their work. Both composers have chosen to investigate health issues that continue to be side-lined by today's media: Betteridge's piece looks at young gay men and HIV, whilst Braithwaite explores the lives of people living with dementia.  

Braithwaite's composition uses text taken directly from interviews with dementia sufferers and their carers, and deals with the issues that affect their daily lives in a sensitive and humorous way. Her musical influences are classical, folk and dance, which she blends with the text to create an original and moving theatrical experience. She creates contemporary classical music that is accessible to a wide audience and not ghettoised by the frequent public perception of such words as 'academic' or 'difficult'. Its verbatim nature humanises and de-stigmatises mental illness, providing sufferers with positive artistic representation. 

In an era where the rate of HIV-positive diagnoses is on the rise, Betteridge's work addresses the issue by telling the story of a twenty-one year old man living with the virus. The piece uses fragments of text taken from interviews with his subject to create a candid and intimate depiction of his subject’s life and day-to-day experiences, exploring attitudes to safe sex in the wider LGBT community. The style of music reflects Betteridge's own eclectic musical tastes and fuses them with the soundscape of Manchester. 

More info coming soon


 Mickel Smithen

Isabel Jones and Duncan Chapman

Salamanda Tandem was co-founded by choreographer/composer Isabel Jones in collaboration with deafblind artist Lewis Jones. Composer Duncan Chapman joined the team in 1992 and is now co-director with Isabel, working alongside a team of associate artists. Salamanda Tandem has created a substantial body of new music and dance – including educational projects and thirty-five pubic engagement performance works – made in collaboration with disabled people, in extraordinary buildings and with the support of numerous awards from the UK, EU and beyond.

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White Cane: Salamanda Tandem UK

WHITE CANE: SALAMANDA TANDEM UK is a series of site-specific performances touring nationally, where audiences wearing wireless headphones are immersed in a sound world created by two blind performers exploring and navigating public space. As the long cane rolls across the surface of each space, we hear it’s sound, which is combined with live music and spoken and sung audio description to create a unique experience of ‘sonic vision’.

WHITE CANE: SALAMANDA TANDEM UK is an intriguingly novel way for audiences to re-discover city centre spaces. From the vantage point of a visually impaired long cane user, we hear the ground underneath our feet, sense the shift of air between the buildings, and re-imagine the world around us through sung audio description in performance.

WHITE CANE: SALAMANDA TANDEM UK is the latest in a series of performances that Salamanda Tandem has created in collaboration with blind and visually impaired performers, exploring perceptions of the world through touch, sound and presence.

WHITE CANE: SALAMANDA TANDEM UK is a unique collaboration between music, dance and performance that places the sensory experience of sound as both a facilitator of navigation and carrier of layers of memory and response at its centre.


Isabel Jones: Composer/Performer

Duncan Chapman: Composer/Performer

Takashi Kikuchi: Viola Player

Mickel Smithen: Performer


Click here for more info


You can find more information about our Composer-Curator programme here.

And keep up to date with all the latest using #composercurator @soundandmusic

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Calls are now closed for Composer-Curator 2015 

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