Short Biography

  • Born 1969 in South Wales, UK.
  • Childhood studies in violin and piano, and first experiments in composition.
  • Studied Philosophy at Swansea University, then BMus at Cardiff (1998-2001), with courses in harmony, counterpoint, analysis, orchestration and composition.
  • PhD in Composition under composer Anthony Powers at Cardiff (2001-2006).
  • Composition workshops with eminent UK composers Anthony Payne, John Pickard, Michael Berkeley.
  • Associate lecturer in harmony, counterpoint and composition at Cardiff.

Outside of the musical world I have also worked as a software developer, most recently for a US text analytics company, building their REST API and cloud infrastructure. I am currently employed as a researcher at the University of Huddersfield, working on the John Cage Concert for Piano and Orchestra project.

About my music

Melody, and particularly new melody, is central to my music. By ‘new’ melody, I mean what the composer Claude Vivier meant: bold melody that isn’t derivative of any past style, but seeks out fresh shapes and contours. More than this, however, I find melody is important in providing a clue as to the structure of a piece, since it represents a unity of both material and form.

I employ the total chromatic but my music is not strictly atonal (I regard that term as meaningless anyway). I never begin with vertical structures, but always find myself involved with counterpoint and other textures which in some way elaborate or enrich a line. I would describe myself as a ‘top down’ rather than a ‘bottom up’ composer; the whole, in a way, precedes the parts. In fact I often begin with just a title, and work down from that.

I seek a balance between systematic and intuitive composition. Pieces often begin with an improvised idea, and if the idea interests me I inevitably find within it meaningful structures and potential material to further develop and explore. Recently this exploration has at least partly been through the use of computer-based techniques and tools, such as IRCAM’s OpenMusic software.

At the risk of exceeding the bounds of taste, here is a list (neither exhaustive, nor in any particular order) of some composers I particularly admire, and who have influenced my own work:

Jean Sibelius
Igor Stravinsky
Harrison Birtwistle
Claude Vivier
Karlheinz Stockhausen
John Cage
Anton Bruckner
Guillaume Dufay
Leos Janacek
Anton Webern
Johannes Brahms
Gyorgy Ligeti
Witold Lutoslawski
Magnus Lindberg

Writing, and other projects

I am the author of the chapter ‘Six Metal Fugue’ in vol.2 of The OM Composer’s Book, which discusses the use of IRCAM’s OpenMusic software in my piece of the same name.

Currently working on an article on aspects of the music of the composer Claude Vivier.

I have also developed two libraries for OpenMusic – OMFuzzy, which integrates Fuzzy Logic programming into OM, and OMContour, a contour analysis module (both will shortly be available for download on this site).