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James Saunders

2

Personal statement

James Saunders is a composer who makes open form compositions that explore group behaviours and decision making. His music has been played at numerous international festivals, including Bludenz Tage fur Zeitgenossiche Musik, Brighton Festival, BMIC Cutting Edge, Darmstadt, Donaueschingen, Gothenburg Arts Sounds, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Inventionen Berlin, The Kitchen, Music We’d Like to Hear, Ostrava New Music Days, Rational Rec, Roaring Hooves, Ultima, and Wittener Tage fur Neue Kammermusik. It has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Resonance FM (UK), WDR3, BR Klassik and SWR2 (Germany), and national radio in Czech Republic, Norway, Italy, New Zealand, and Sweden. In 2003 and 2007 he held residencies at the Experimental Studio fur Akustiche Kunst in Freiburg. James has worked with Apartment House, Arditti Quartet, asamisimasa, Sebastian Berweck, ensemble chronophonie, duo Contour, Rhodri Davies, EXAUDI, Nicolas Hodges, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Neue Vocalsolisten, plus minus ensemble, Psappha, ensemble recherche, SUONO MOBILE, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, and 175 East. As a performer he plays in the duo Parkinson Saunders with composer Tim Parkinson, Apartment House, and has also performed with Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff and Phill Niblock.

James studied at the University of Huddersfield and latterly with Anthony Gilbert at the Royal Northern College of Music. He runs the Open Scores Lab and the ensemble Material at Bath Spa University. James was a participant in the London Sinfonietta’s Blue Touch Paper scheme (2006-9). He held an AHRC Research Leave Award in 2005-6, and a Fellowship in 2010-11. His edited book The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music was published in 2009, and Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (with John Lely) was published by Continuum in 2012. He is currently working on new pieces for BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Tectonics 2017) and Ictus Ensemble (Donaueschingen 2017).

Academic qualifications

  • BMus (Hons) Huddersfield
  • PGDip Huddersfield
  • MusM RNCM
  • PhD Huddersfield

Professional qualifications

  • FHEA

 
  • AHRC Peer Review College [2007-10]
  • Higher Education Academy
  • Performing Rights Society

External examiners

  • University of Birmingham [MPhil/PhD, 2006]
  • University of Huddersfield [MPhil/PhD, 2005]
  • Goldsmiths College [PhD, 2007, 2013]
  • University of Huddersfield [PhD, 2013]
  • Brunel University [PhD, 2010]
  • University of Southampton [PhD, 2011]
  • University of York [MRes, 2012]
  • Leeds University [PhD, 2012]
  • University of Durham [PhD, 2015]
  • University of Edinburgh [PhD, 2016]
  • Brunel University [BA Music, 2008-11]
  • University College Falmouth [BA Music, 2013-]
  • Royal Academy of Music [BA Music, 2013-16]

Other external roles

  • Board Member, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival [2007-2013 ]
  • AHRC application reviewer [2006- ]

Teaching specialism

  • Composition
  • Experimental Music
  • Music since 1945 (Musicology)
  • Notation

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

Word Events: perspectives on verbal notation
book

Saunders, J and Lely, J (2012) Word Events: perspectives on verbal notation. Continuum, London. ISBN 9781441173102


The Ashgate research companion to experimental music
book

Saunders, J (2009) The Ashgate research companion to experimental music. Ashgate, Aldershot. ISBN 9780754662822


Heuristic models for decision making in rule-based compositions
book_section

Saunders, J (2015) 'Heuristic models for decision making in rule-based compositions.' In: Ginsborg, J, Lamont, A, Phillips, M and Bramley, S, eds. Proceedings of the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, 17 - 22 August 2015, Manchester, UK. Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, pp. 715-719.


Rebecca Saunders, Still
book_section

Saunders, J (2012) 'Rebecca Saunders, Still.' In: Dvorák, Rebecca Saunders, Tchaikovsky. BBC, London, pp. 6-8.


Mutual effects: organization and interaction in the orchestral music of Christian Wolff
book_section

Saunders, J (2010) 'Mutual effects: organization and interaction in the orchestral music of Christian Wolff.' In: Chase, S and Thomas, P, eds. Changing the System: The music of Christian Wolff. Ashgate, Farnham. ISBN 9780754666806


Rebecca Saunders
book_section

Saunders, J and Adlington, R (2009) 'Rebecca Saunders.' In: Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Christopher Fox
book_section

Saunders, J and Pace, I (2009) 'Christopher Fox.' In: Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Fourteen musicians
book_section

Saunders, J (2009) 'Fourteen musicians.' In: Saunders, J, ed. The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music. Ashgate Research Companions . Ashgate, Farnham and Burlington VT, pp. 221-368. ISBN 9780754662822


'Traces' and 'Rebecca Saunders'
book_section

Saunders, J (2009) ''Traces' and 'Rebecca Saunders'.' In: BBC Prom 56. BBC, London, pp. 3-5.


Confined spaces: a portrait of Bryn Harrison
book_section

Saunders, J (2008) 'Confined spaces: a portrait of Bryn Harrison.' In: Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Programme Book. hcmf, Huddersfield.


Modular structures in manufacturing and object art
book_section

Saunders, J (2007) 'Modular structures in manufacturing and object art.' In: Waterman, A, ed. Agape. Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York, pp. 36-50.


#271102 (apartment house, Huddersfield) [sketch]
book_section

Saunders, J (2007) '#271102 (apartment house, Huddersfield) [sketch].' In: Waterman, A, Singer, D and Lyons, M, eds. Between thought and sound : graphic notation in contemporary music. The Kitchen, New York, p. 49.


#110605 (ensemble recherché, Freiburg) [sketch]
book_section

Saunders, J (2007) '#110605 (ensemble recherché, Freiburg) [sketch].' In: Waterman, A, Singer, D and Lyons, M, eds. Between thought and sound : graphic notation in contemporary music. The Kitchen, New York, p. 48.


What are you doing with your music?
book_section

Saunders, J (2005) 'What are you doing with your music?' In: Blocks of consciousness and the unbroken continuum. Sound 323, London, pp. 254-263. ISBN 9780955154102


Rebecca Saunders
book_section

Saunders, J (2004) 'Rebecca Saunders.' In: 2004 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Programme Book. hcmf, Huddersfield, p. 13.


No mapping
article

Saunders, J (2016) 'No mapping.' MusikTexte, 149. ISSN 0178-8884


Specific objects? Distributed approaches to sourcing sonic materials in open form compositions
article

Saunders, J (2013) 'Specific objects? Distributed approaches to sourcing sonic materials in open form compositions.' Contemporary Music Review, 32 (5). pp. 473-484. ISSN 0749-4467


'Zeit ist niemandes Eigentum'. Interview mit Beuger
article

Saunders, J (2011) ''Zeit ist niemandes Eigentum'. Interview mit Beuger.' MusikTexte, 130. pp. 44-50. ISSN 0178-8884


Introduction: what is Wandelweiser?
article

Melia, N and Saunders, J (2011) 'Introduction: what is Wandelweiser?' Contemporary Music Review, 30 (6). pp. 445-448. ISSN 1477-2256


Testing the consequences–multipart series in the work of the Wandelweiser composers
article

Saunders, J (2011) 'Testing the consequences–multipart series in the work of the Wandelweiser composers.' Contemporary Music Review, 30 (6). pp. 497-524. ISSN 0749-4467


Realising Gavin Bryars' 'Far away and dimly pealing'
article

Saunders, J and Lely, J (2009) 'Realising Gavin Bryars' 'Far away and dimly pealing'.' PORES, 5. ISSN 1740-4304


Modular music
article

Saunders, J (2008) 'Modular music.' Perspectives of New Music, 46 (1). pp. 152-193. ISSN 0031-6016


The Dictaphone in my life
article

Saunders, J (2007) 'The Dictaphone in my life.' Leonardo Music Journal, 17. pp. 33-34. ISSN 0961-1215


Playing, music
conference_item

Saunders, J (2015) Playing, music. In: Gaminomics, 11 June 2015, Cavendish Conference Centre, Tower Hill, London.


I tell you what to do: autonomy, control and play in game compositions
conference_item

Saunders, J (2015) I tell you what to do: autonomy, control and play in game compositions. In: Authorship in Music, 6-7 March 2015, University of Oxford.


know that your actions reflect within the group
composition

Saunders, J (2017) know that your actions reflect within the group.


alternate between attention and ease
composition

Saunders, J (2017) alternate between attention and ease.


sometimes we do what you say, but occasionally we don't
composition

Saunders, J (2017) sometimes we do what you say, but occasionally we don't.


we tell each other what to do but always listen to you
composition

Saunders, J (2017) we tell each other what to do but always listen to you.


all the things we make you do
composition

Saunders, J (2017) all the things we make you do.


reassigned #2
composition

Saunders, J (2016) reassigned #2.


constant interchange of the most various kinds
composition

Saunders, J (2016) constant interchange of the most various kinds.


they are always different, they are always the same
composition

Saunders, J (2016) they are always different, they are always the same.


reassigned #1
composition

Saunders, J (2016) reassigned #1.


in which one thing depends on another
composition

Saunders, J (2016) in which one thing depends on another.


we gradually have more things to do and fewer things to say
composition

Saunders, J (2015) we gradually have more things to do and fewer things to say.


like you and like you
composition

Saunders, J (2015) like you and like you.


assigned # 15
composition

Saunders, J (2015) assigned # 15.


all voices are heard
composition

Saunders, J (2015) all voices are heard.


different water environments
composition

Saunders, J (2015) different water environments.


space with sounding floor
composition

Saunders, J (2015) space with sounding floor.


positions in the sequence correctly recalled
composition

Saunders, J (2014) positions in the sequence correctly recalled.


we do what you say and say what to do
composition

Saunders, J (2014) we do what you say and say what to do.


overlay (with transience)
composition

Saunders, J (2014) overlay (with transience).


I tell you what to do
composition

Saunders, J (2014) I tell you what to do.


you say what to do
composition

Saunders, J (2014) you say what to do.


so many territories
composition

Saunders, J (2014) so many territories.


on bare trees
composition

Saunders, J (2014) on bare trees.


lots and lots for us to do
composition

Saunders, J (2014) lots and lots for us to do.


everybody do this
composition

Saunders, J (2014) everybody do this.


choose who tells you what to do
composition

Saunders, J (2014) choose who tells you what to do.


I decide what it is I am going to do
composition

Saunders, J (2014) I decide what it is I am going to do.


interspersed sometimes with weeds and brambles
composition

Saunders, J (2013) interspersed sometimes with weeds and brambles.


the range of outside factors influencing it, as well as its own radius of action
composition

Saunders, J (2013) the range of outside factors influencing it, as well as its own radius of action.


everybody doing what everybody else is doing
composition

Saunders, J (2013) everybody doing what everybody else is doing.


what you must do, rather than must not do
composition

Saunders, J (2012) what you must do, rather than must not do.


small template
composition

Saunders, J (2012) small template.


overlay
composition

Saunders, J (2012) overlay.


object network
composition

Saunders, J (2012) object network.


instruments with recordings
composition

Saunders, J (2012) instruments with recordings.


eight panels
composition

Saunders, J (2012) eight panels.


AT LEAST ONE HUNDRED DEVICES BEING TURNED ON AND OFF
composition

Saunders, J (2012) AT LEAST ONE HUNDRED DEVICES BEING TURNED ON AND OFF.


things whole and not whole
composition

Saunders, J (2011) things whole and not whole.


with the same material or still, to vary the material
composition

Saunders, J (2011) with the same material or still, to vary the material.


various distinct spatial and temporal locations
composition

Saunders, J (2011) various distinct spatial and temporal locations.


opposition between the two spaces and their common mediation
composition

Saunders, J (2011) opposition between the two spaces and their common mediation.


nothing reveals itself without at the same time concealing something else
composition

Saunders, J (2011) nothing reveals itself without at the same time concealing something else.


location composites
composition

Saunders, J (2011) location composites.


it may exist for a few seconds or it may go on indefinitely
composition

Saunders, J (2011) it may exist for a few seconds or it may go on indefinitely.


each will appear or not appear
composition

Saunders, J (2011) each will appear or not appear.


certain elements within that situation remained constant
composition

Saunders, J (2011) certain elements within that situation remained constant.


distribution study #1-12
composition

Saunders, J (2011) distribution study #1-12.


things whole and not whole
composition

Saunders, J (2011) things whole and not whole.


template with alterations
composition

Saunders, J (2010) template with alterations.


surfaces
composition

Saunders, J (2010) surfaces.


materials vary greatly and are simply materials
composition

Saunders, J (2010) materials vary greatly and are simply materials.


any one part can replace any other part
composition

Saunders, J (2010) any one part can replace any other part.


although it may appear to vary by the way in which units are joined
composition

Saunders, J (2010) although it may appear to vary by the way in which units are joined.


Geometria Situs
composition

Saunders, J (2010) Geometria Situs.


imperfections on the surface are occasionally apparent
composition

Saunders, J (2009) imperfections on the surface are occasionally apparent.


components derive their value solely through their assigned context
composition

Saunders, J (2009) components derive their value solely through their assigned context.


PART OF IT MAY ALSO BE PART OF SOMETHING ELSE
composition

Saunders, J (2009) PART OF IT MAY ALSO BE PART OF SOMETHING ELSE.


either/or
composition

Saunders, J (2009) either/or.


assigned #1
composition

Saunders, J (2007) assigned #1.


with paper
composition

Saunders, J (2006) with paper.


assigned
composition

Saunders, J (2002) assigned.


#120501
composition

Saunders, J (2001) #120501.


#030501 [1-2] / #200501 [1-3]
composition

Saunders, J (2001) #030501 [1-2] / #200501 [1-3].


#080401 / #300501 / #310501
composition

Saunders, J (2001) #080401 / #300501 / #310501.


#010401
composition

Saunders, J (2001) #010401.


#160301
composition

Saunders, J and Adkins, M (2001) #160301.


#010201
composition

Saunders, J (2001) #010201.


#280101
composition

Saunders, J (2001) #280101.


#051000
composition

Saunders, J (2000) #051000.


#[unassigned]
composition

Saunders, J (2000) #[unassigned].


Fingers barely touching
composition

Saunders, J (2000) Fingers barely touching.


Compatibility hides itself
composition

Saunders, J (1999) Compatibility hides itself.


Scanning trees
composition

Saunders, J (1999) Scanning trees.


511 possible mosaics
composition

Saunders, J (1999) 511 possible mosaics.


Two pieces
composition

Saunders, J (1998) Two pieces.


Preventing fluidity
composition

Saunders, J (1998) Preventing fluidity.


Like wool
composition

Saunders, J (1998) Like wool.


Six pieces
composition

Saunders, J (1997) Six pieces.


Floating poles
composition

Saunders, J (1996) Floating poles.


Changing rings
composition

Saunders, J (1996) Changing rings.


Those birds
composition

Saunders, J (1996) Those birds.


'various distinct spatial or temporal locations' and 'with the same material or still, to vary the material'
audio

Saunders, J (2012) 'various distinct spatial or temporal locations' and 'with the same material or still, to vary the material'.


Divisions that could be autonomous but that comprise the whole
audio

Saunders, J (2011) Divisions that could be autonomous but that comprise the whole.


#250904
audio

Saunders, J (2009) #250904.


#211007
audio

Saunders, J (2008) #211007.


#[unassigned]
audio

Saunders, J (2007) #[unassigned].


#160304-[r]
audio

Saunders, J (2004) #160304-[r].


Rebecca Saunders' piano music [Liner notes for 'Rebecca Saunders: Choler; Crimson; Miniata']
other

Saunders, J (2008) Rebecca Saunders' piano music [Liner notes for 'Rebecca Saunders: Choler; Crimson; Miniata'].


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