ESSAYS

 

I have always loved words. I never imagined that writing might become part of my creative practice though, so it's something of a surprise now to have assembled such a collection of essays. A pivotal moment was the generous offer of a Hartley Residency at Southampton University in 2019. I so enjoyed the reading, the thinking and the writing, but also the sense of contributing to a wider conversation. Too few performers share their perspectives, I feel, so I now encourage many that I encounter — and especially women and other less-heard voices — to write their selfs. I write for myself. I am not writing within or for academia, so I have been free to develop my own style and follow my own strange avenues of thought. No essay ever really tidily concludes an idea, and the process often reveals surprises. I put everything I write here, and most things also on Substack. Big thanks to the various friends that regularly read first drafts and offer so much wise feedback and steady encouragement.

 

Please do get in touch if you would like to use or cite any of my work: a lot of the writing is quite personal.

IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER (OLD TO NEW)

 

These two documents are designed to a) help composers I am working with understand a bit about my voice, and b) offer any composer a few insights into writing for the voice in general. Both documents have been recently revised. 

 

About my voice
About my voice 2023.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [27.1 KB]
On writing for the voice
On writing for the voice 2023.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [61.5 KB]

In February 2019 I was invited to take up a two-day Hartley Residency at Southampton University. For this I wrote a paper on collaboration, subsequently revised and attached here in the version I presented at the conference 'Collaboration is more refreshing than new socks' organised by CREATIE and Mixed Currents in December 2019 at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp.

 

The voice that calls the hand to write: exploring the adventure of agency and authorship within collaborative partnerships
The voice that calls the hand to write A[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [143.5 KB]

As part of the Hartley Residency, I also wrote a short position paper further exploring some issues of authorship in collaborative work. An updated version of this, entitled 'Sharing the spoils of a shared practice', was published in TEMPO Vol. 73 No. 290 (Oct. 2019).

 

Sharing the cultural capital
Sharing the cultural capital.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [59.1 KB]

For the eavesdropping symposium in April 2020, which was held online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I wrote a short and quite personal essay sharing my experience of lockdown.

 

An identity in lockdown
An identity in lockdown.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [65.5 KB]

 

This is also available as an audio file, read by me, on YouTube.

In the middle of one night during lockdown, I wrote some very candid words about menstruation, about the taboo that still surrounds the menstruating body, and about some of the physical and emotional challenges that come with this monthly experience.

 

The modesty days are over
The modesty days are over.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [56.6 KB]

In January 2021 I presented a recorded version of this essay as part of the Fragility of Sounds lecture series, organised by Pia Palme and Christina Lessiak and hosted by the Kunstuniversität, Graz. Subsequently published in Sounding Fragilities: An Anthology (Wolke, 2022).

 

In the thick of it: further reflections on the mess and the magic of collaborative partnerships
In the thick of it.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [226.3 KB]

 

This is also available (abridged) as an audio file, read by me, on YouTube.

Berliner Festspiele / MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues invited me to contribute to their 2021 digital festival. 'Inside Out' is a strange video essay made with filmmaker Jessie Rodger. Best to watch the film, which is available on YouTube.

 

Inside Out: a video essay
Inside Out MAERZMUSIK (3 March 2021).pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [144.0 KB]

Britten Pears Arts invited me to contribute this short essay to their 2021 'Interlude' booklet.

 

Words and Music
Words and Music FINAL (BPA 2021).pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [30.6 KB]

This short TED-style talk was presented at Cheltenham Music Festival's 2022 'Composium'.

 

Collaboration bites back
Collaboration bites back.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [98.2 KB]

In December 2022, at the end of a difficult year, I wrote this essay reflecting on validaton and vulnerability. Part analysis, part confessional, it explores the performer's relationship with promoters, the press and the audience as well as concepts such as the inner critic, the inner mentor, persistence and exposed vulnerability.

 

On validation and vulnerability
On validation and vulnerability.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [87.4 KB]

What is repertoire? What is my repertoire? How did this come to be?! Written in August 2023, just for the hell of it, and published on Substack.

 

Repertoire: an accidental wardrobe
Repertoire — an accidental wardrobe.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [50.5 KB]

PART I of a triptych of essays on archetypes. This paper had a mind of its own — I knew I wanted to interrogate the muse but I wasn't expecting it to take the turns it did. Presented at the Darmstadt Summer Course 2023.

 

I AM NOT A MUSE
I AM NOT A MUSE.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [89.2 KB]

PART II of a triptych of essays on archetypes. Presented at the Fourth International Conference on Women's Work in Music 2023, at Bangor University. 

 

Deconstructing the Diva: in praise of trailblazers, killjoys and hags
Deconstructing the Diva.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [92.3 KB]

PART III of a triptych of essays on archetypes. Published on Substack on Halloween 2023.

 

I MAY BE A WITCH
I MAY BE A WITCH.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [119.4 KB]

A short essay written as an opening salvo to launch the eavesdropping festival forum, exploring 'Experiments in Failure' and held at Cafe OTO on 23 & 24 March 2024. 

 

Experiments in failure
Experiments in failure 2024.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [67.4 KB]

'The Practice of Play' reflects on ways in which we can rekindle playfulness in our music-making. Published on my Substack on 17 May 2024.

 

The Practice of Play
The Practice of Play.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [66.6 KB]

Please do get in touch if you would like to use or cite any of my work: a lot of the writing is quite personal.

 

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