Technophonia Update

Rehearsals have begun for our exciting new commission Technophonia which will be premiered in June as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.   All 17 young musicians who will be performing in the Technophonia Ensemble as part of our PRS for Music Foundation New Music 20×12 commission got together for the first time at the end of November to take part in an exciting joint rehearsal of the new work.

See photos from the rehearsal

The ensemble includes three talented musicians whose physical disabilities mean that instead of playing a conventional instrument like a keyboard or guitar they will play inclusive music technology specially developed to enable people with limited mobility to make music.  Stephanie is playing Skoog, Anthony the Soundbeam and an adapted keyboard, and Chris has a laptop with Notion software and the innovative Brainfingers which is triggered by facial muscle movement – and even his alpha and beta brainwaves!


Each of these three musicians will play their part in the ensemble and perform as a soloist in different movements of the new work alongside musicians from the City of Edinburgh Music School.  As well as enabling them to display their musical talents to a worldwide audience, the piece will showcase how people with disabilities can perform on an equal footing with their peers.


Composer Oliver Searle tells us where his inspiration for the piece came from

“Music psychologists tell us regularly about the fantastically complex series of procedures that your brain goes through on its way to performing music.

“We must interpret pitches, rhythms, dynamics and articulations from a page of music, itself a type of complex language, then begin to realise these through a number of miniscule muscle movements, making decisions about the attack and sustain of individual notes, before moving to the next one. With or without sheet music, we are looking at others around us, perhaps focusing on a conductor/director, using our ears to decide when to join in with other musicians, altering our pitch by the smallest of microtonal increments and balancing our sound to produce a musical performance.

“These tiny movements and processes (many of which are only barely noticeable, or often completely invisible to the human eye) seem to me to be a number of microscopic dances between our neural processes and motor skills.”

New Music 20×12 

Technophonia has been chosen to be one of twenty participants of New Music 20×12, an independent commissioning programme initiated by Jillian Barker and David Cohen, delivered by PRS for Music Foundation in partnership with the BBC, LOCOG, Sound and Music and NMC Recordings.

Special thanks to Creative Scotland for making this New Music 20×12 commission possible.

New Music 20×12 is generously supported by the following committed patrons and funders: Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, John S. Cohen Foundation, PRS for Music Foundation, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, Columbia Foundation Fund of the Capital Community Foundation, Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians Benevolent Fund, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, RVW Trust, Charlotte and Dennis Stevenson, Tolkien Trust, The Leche Trust, The Bliss Trust, Finzi Trust, The Worshipful Company of Musicians, Lilian Slowe, John and Ann Tusa, John Wates Charitable Trust, Richard Walduck, Honeymead Arts Trust, and Sir Anthony Cleaver.

Funders and patrons websites are as follows (NB: Funders and patrons not listed here do not have a website):

Arts Council England:

Creative Scotland:

PRS for Music Foundation:

Arts Council of Northern Ireland:

Arts Council of Wales:

Incorporated Society of Musicians:

Musicians Benevolent Fund:

Jerwood Charitable Foundation:

RVW Trust:

The Tolkien Trust:

The Leche Trust:

The Bliss Trust:

Finzi Trust:

The Worshipful Company of Musicians