Music Composition as Interdisciplinary Practice


Today, I'm giving a paper at the Music Composition as Interdisciplinary Practice Symposium.


Hosted by the AHRC-funded research network this symposium features two days of papers, workshops and lecture-performances investigating compositional activity in many guises - sonic art, notation-based instrumental music, the myriad forms of electronic music, music in the theatre, music for dance, film and so on - and the way these activities may connect with practices from other disciplines. The symposium asks what kinds of interdisciplinarity are in evidence here, how are these practices organised, facilitated and led, how is such work created and what might this knowledge add to understandings of artistic creativity?


My paper focuses on a Practice Based Research project that I worked on with my performance company, Assault Events. Assault have produced a range of high quality accessible performance work for non-traditional theatre spaces that attracts new audiences and participants to new dance and theatre work. Key to the company's success has been our continued exploration and investigation of interdisciplinary practice incorporating music, dance, visual arts, theatre and new writing.


In 2015 Assault received Arts Council funding to develop new approaches to storytelling through the exploration of new models of interdisciplinary collaboration and devised practice. Through this practice-led research project, titled Telling Stories, an interdisciplinary team of composer, choreographer, writer and 6 performers worked together over 6 months to develop collaborative approaches for the creation of new performance work, where each discipline is informed by the other. This paper will present a number of the key aspects of the project, focusing on part composition played in the interdisciplinary practice; The interdisciplinary frameworks put in place to support the projectThe creative strategies developed to create work through interdisciplinary practice The key challenges of true interdisciplinary collaborationThe resulting work created using these approaches The project culminated in a public sharing at Dance House Cardiff and the publication of an ibook sharing the interdisciplinary strategies developed through the project. Both these outcomes will be drawn on in the paper. This paper will be of interest to anyone exploring interdisciplinary creative practice, either as a composer working with other disciplines or as a practitioner interested in working with composition. *Telling Stories...was funded by Arts Council Wales with support from Cardiff Metropolitan University, DeMontfort University and a Support for the Individual Artists Award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.