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Music from the Genome premiere in July

Published: 18 June 2010

A new work by Southampton composer Michael Zev Gordon will receive its first performances in July.

Allele, for 40 voices, is a creative response to genetic research into musical ability. It arises from the Wellcome Trust-funded project 'Music from the Genome', in collaboration with Dr Andrew Morley of St Thomas's Hospital and poet Ruth Padel. The project aims to bridge gaps and encourage interaction between science and the arts.

Forty-one members of the New London Chamber Choir have supplied samples of their DNA for Morley's research into the genomic locations associated with musical aptitude. Michael Zev Gordon has used the data to generate unique musical material for each singer's part in the new work, so that in effect each will perform a musical version of part of his or her own genetic code.

First performances are taking place on 9 July (at Diamond Light Source, a new synchrotron science facility at Harwell research campus in south Oxfordshire); 10 July (Cheltenham College, Cheltenham Festival) and 13 July (Royal Society of Medicine, London). A feature on BBC Radio 3's Music Matters on 3 July and an article in the Guardian by Michael Zev Gordon - both linked right - provide further details and background.

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