Winter 2015 Newsletter

 In Newsletters

Artist in Residence at the Royal Northern College of Music

What does an artist; a painter and printmaker, do in residence at a music college? A good question. I’m hoping that this newsletter will give you some idea.


A deliberate misquote from Shakespeare’s 24th sonnet I have been working with a very talented young musician Kathryn Williams. Kathryn has been preparing for her Post Graduate International Artists Diploma (IAD) recital. By ‘working with’ I mean talking to her, watching her play, drawing her, photographing her. Also, I’ve been making myself familiar with the music she’ll be playing for this very important recital.

I made finished images from these working drawings and photographs. I then scanned, photoshopped and manipulated them, so that they would enhance her recital when projected by power point onto the wall behind her.

Kathryn rehearsing

The images were projected from two sources while the performance was taking place. Both sets of images changed as they became visible and dissolved with the music. The aim was to support and not distract from the performers or from the music. 

Kathryn played six pieces in all. Some were solo performances for flute. Others were accompanied by piano and cello. 

One of the pieces, ‘la Kunah Ai Cayunah’ by Laurence Tompkins, was a world premier. It is evidence of her talent that Kathryn played it so magnificently with so little rehearsal time because it was finished only days before the recital.

Trio rehearsing George Crumb’s Vox Balaenae

Vox Balaenae (the Voice of the Whale) a beautiful piece written for three masked players, was wonderfully played by Kathryn and her two accompanists, Katie Tertell, Cello, and Carla Fernadez Boix Piano.

My projection for the Voice of the Whale was another experiment. I painted live in response to the music with a camera over my shoulder focused on the painting. The image, as I worked on it, was projected, for all the world to see, on the wall above and behind the trio. You could see only my hand and the painting being made.

Nerve wracking but exciting. Why not live dangerously?

Kathryn Masked while playing Vox Balaenae

All of the music was contemporary except for J S Bach’s Partita in A minor BWV 1013 which Kathryn performed beautifully.

Kathryn playing the Bach

The recital was held on 12th February in the Carol Nash Recital Room, Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9RD.

I give special thanks for their support to Professor Linda Merrick, Principal of the RNCM and Michelle Casteletti, Artistic Director of the RNCM, and the whole team of technicians who made the recital run so smoothly. I have never worked with a more professional and friendly group. The RNCM is lucky to have them.

Date for your diary

As part of my residency the RNCM has asked me to exhibit those of my paintings, drawings, prints and dépêche pieces which are music related.

Guitar Player

The exhibition, ‘PAINTING MUSIC’ takes place at the college between Thursday 19th March and Sunday 22nd March. There will be a guitar quartet playing on the Sunday. I’ll give you details closer to the time. Watch this space.

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