Lauren Redhead – Biography

I am a composer, an organist, and a musicologist who writes about 20th and 21st Century Musics.

As a composer, my work falls broadly within the context of experimental music. Increasingly, I also work on a project-based and collaborative basis, creating series of graphic scores, notated scores, texts, and audio fragments or sound compositions. These aspects of my work can be performed, layered and responded to in many different ways, resulting in multiple performance presentations and A/V works. Some of my work of this type is released on the pan y rosas discos label (Chicago), including recently the digital opera the octopus (2020), and hearmleoþ-gieddunga (2018), a project of pieces responding to medieval and Anglo-Saxon art, texts, and poetry.

I am interested in notation and materiality, and use a combination of experimental approaches to the creation of scores and electronic materials, alongside improvisation. This often means that I take on the role of the composer-as-performer, including working with others so that many of my pieces are devised and created collaboratively. The often graphic- and text-based approaches to notation that I have developed have further been presented in art galleries and as video work.

Beyond this, my music has been presented at festivals in the UK and internationally, including at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, TRANSIT, the London Ear Festival, London Contemporary Music Festival, Firenze Suona Contemporanea, Composer’s Marathon V (Vienna), Full of Noises Festival, and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival. I have worked with many internationally renowned performers including Ian Pace, the Nieuw Ensemble, Trio Atem, Philip Thomas, BL!NDMAN ensemble and rarescale.

I also perform contemporary music for the organ, and most often perform work for the combination of organ and electronics, very often in a duet with Alistair Zaldua. I also co-founded the collective ‘Automatronic’ with Huw Morgan and Michael Bonaventure. Although I also write for the combination of organ and electronics, I also collaborate with other composers to present new works for the combination.

With Alistair Zaldua, I released released the album Diapason on the sfz music label in 2015. We also toured the UK with the support of the charity Sound and Music and recently toured in Germany. In 2019, our performance of Mesias Maiguashca’s ground-breaking work — Nemos Orgel (1970 – 1992) — was featured at the Stavanger NyMusikk/Only Connect Festival and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and NRK 2. In 2021 we developed and presented a set for the BBC Tectonics Festival in Glasgow and online. Working with Alistair Zaldua, I also work on developing live-interactive approaches to performance for organ and electronics through collaboration with other composers.

When writing about music, my primary interests are in 20th and 21st Century Music; my musicological work focuses on the aesthetics and sociosemiotics of music, anti-aesthetics, materialism and notation. I have written about the work of living contemporary composers including Chris Newman, Michael Finnissy, and Annette Schmucki.

I also write about the concept and methodological critique of practice research, concentrating on its epistemology and phenomenology. From 2013-2018 I was the president of the RMA’s Music and/as Process Study group, whereby I organized many conferences and edited two collected volumes of research. I am currently Head of Department and Reader in 20th and 21st Century Music at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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