City presents two programmes of work by composer Denis Smalley, in celebration of his 75th birthday. An influential figure in electroacoustic music and a pioneer of computer music, Smalley is also Professor Emeritus and former Head of Department at City, where his legacy is deeply felt, through the ongoing work of City's Sound Studios, which have inspired generations of leading composers, sound artists, sound designers and academics.
This is a rare opportunity to hear Smalley's work diffused on a large array of loudspeakers, in City's Performance Space, the acoustic design and layout of which (in its current specification) was supervised by Smalley himself. The programmes include early examples of his use of computer transformations of source material, such as 1984's Sea Flight, alongside more recent works in stereo, 6 channel and 8 channel sound.
5:30pm: Concert 1: Denis Smalley "Of land and sea"
Empty Vessels (1997)
Sea Flight (1984)
Debussy’s Cathedral (2016)
Spectral Lands (2011)
6:30pm: Interval Drinks Reception
7:30pm: Concert 2: Denis Smalley "Of day and night"
Little prelude: Festive Moments (2020)
Ringing Down the Sun (2002)
Nuit - Marc-Antoine Charpentier (In Nativitatem Domini Canticum 1688)
Sommeil de Rameau (2015)
The Voices of Circius (2016)
Little postlude: Festive Moments (2020)
About Denis Smalley
Denis Smalley was born in New Zealand in 1946. He studied music at the University of Canterbury and the Victoria University of Wellington prior to spending a year at the Paris Conservatoire in Olivier Messiaen's composition class. At the same time he completed a diploma in electroacoustic composition with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales/Paris Conservatoire. He moved to England, completing a doctorate in composition at the University of York. Until 1994 he was Senior Lecturer in Music and Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studio at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. He then moved to City, University of London, as Professor and Head of the Department of Music. He retired in 2009, and is now Professor Emeritus.
His works have been widely acclaimed, winning a number of international awards including the Prix Ars Electronica in 1988. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Huddersfield for his achievements in electroacoustic music.
He is a noted writer on the aesthetics of electroacoustic music. He developed the notion of "spectromorphology" (the shaping of sound spectra through time), which aims to explain sonic relationships in their musical context. The most widely read article, Spectromorphology: Explaining Sound-Shapes, has been published in English, French, German and Italian. A follow-up article, Space-Form and the Acousmatic Image, elaborates spatial concepts relating to spectromorphology. A book on his music and ideas was published by GRM/Institut national de l'audiovisuel in the Polychrome Portraits series - in English in 2010, and in French in 2011.