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MusicPart of Humanities

Research Group: Composition and Music Technology

Currently Active: 

Southampton's thriving creative environment supports musical composition in a wide range of genres, from contemporary classical concert works to music for theatre, television and film. Members of our staff work with traditional performing resources as well as new media, and engage with styles from the experimental and avant-garde to mainstream classical, jazz and pop.

Group Overview

Our composers regularly receive prestigious commissions from leading performing ensembles and major festivals, as well as from national television and radio. In music technology, our staff are involved in the development of cutting-edge resources for the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music (IRCAM) and other major centres for new music.

Some recent highlights include:

  • Michael Finnissy's completion of Mozart's Requiem was first performed by a specially-assembled choir and orchestra in St Michael's Church in Southampton in November 2011. His Piano Concerto No. 2 was performed by Nicholas Hodges and the Britten Sinfonia at the BBC Proms 2012. The Metier label released his Âwâz-e Niyâz for oboe doubling lupophon (Christopher Redgate) and piano (Finnissy) in November 2012.

  • Matthew Scott continues as Head of Music at the National Theatre, composing music for two productions in 2012; Detroit by Lisa D'Amour, and The Doctor's Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw. He has also composed for three theatre pieces at Chichester Festival Theatre including The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertholt Brecht (transferring to the Old Vic in 2013), and Private Lives by Noel Coward (transferring to the Geilgud Theatre in 2013). Scott has continued writing for children, recent work includes the score for Horrible Histories: Vicious Victorians and Terrible Tudors.

  • Matthew Shlomowitz's Line and Length was performed by reed quintet Calefax at the Wigmore Hall and Concertgebouw Amsterdam in 2012. Shlomowitz had four works performed at the 2012 Darmstadt Summer Course and three works at the 2012 World Music Days in Belgium. He has recently completed a Britten-Pears Foundation commission for a 20-minute set of songs for soprano Juliet Fraser and pianist Mark Knoop, which will be premiered in 2013.

  • Thomas Seltz's comic opera Awesome X was premiered to critical acclaim in the Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh, in April 2011. Seltz won two calls for scores, which lead to the premiere of works by Rohan de Saram at the S.O.U.N.D. Festival and electric bassist John Patitucci with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

  • Benjamin Oliver has been commissioned by Sound and Music to compose a new work for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which will be performed and recorded at Maida Vale Studios in November 2013. Oliver's works were performed at the Sounds New Festival by London Sinfonietta (2012) and Aarhus Sinfonietta (2011) following success in the International Composer Pyramid Competitions 2010 and 2011.

  • Andrew Fisher's recent work includes composition and orchestration credits on a range of film and television scores, including the Golden Globe-nominated film A Mighty Heart (Paramount Vantage/Plan B), Wild Child (Working Title), Mr Bean's Holiday (Universal), Burke and Hare (Ealing Studios), Last Days of the Dinosaurs (Discovery Channel), How the Universe Works (Discovery Channel) and Apples and Oranges (Channel 4/IWC). 

Links between composition and performance are particularly strong: in addition to working with student performers in our New Music Ensemble, Southampton staff and postgraduates play key roles in new music groups such as Workers Union Ensemble and Plus Minus Ensemble.

  • 4 December 2015

    Fraser/Jackson Duo

    Composer Showcase

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  • 7 December 2015

    Emanuele Torquati Workshop

    Composition Workshop

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  • 7 March 2016

    Kreutzer Quartet workshop

    Student composition workshop with the Kreutzer String Quartet

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  • Research Staff

    Related Projects

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    Compositions for cochlear implanteesDormant
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