Ben Mawson's Music

A hybrid musical language that draws equally on found objects, from the balances of control with wild freedom in Afro-American, Balkan & central Asian musics and Western classical traditions, where the symmetry of the Baroque and fluidity of late Romanticism have also left marks.

currently developing. . . a platform for virtual performance of music composed in a digital studio.

Over the past two decades I have composed digital music that minutely simulates live performance on acoustic instruments but which is unplayable by human hands.
A constant question has been how to cross the gulf between listeners’ experience of concerts and recordings.
The spectacle of performance with its social rituals and formal artifice, the variation between different performances, unpredictability of even familiar music: these can’t be matched by listening to a recording: the separation between performance and listening to recordings is profound.
Music is now made that was impossible before digital technology but the digital listener’s experience is poorer than those hearing a live performance.
Experiments, with computers or speakers replacing performers, were still essentially just about sitting with other people in a room to listen to a recording.
Audiences remain unconvinced that these experiences are as compelling or meaningful as watching an accomplished soloist coax successive wafting bubbles of tactile sonic geometries from a strung wooden box or valve-stopped brass pipe.
I am working with colleagues in virtual acoustics research to change all this. . .

[update: July 2014.  
3DBARE is finally at proof of concept. 
Demos of 'walking inside a piece of music' are now being given. Email me if you would like to know more]

and editing for (virtual and live) performance. . .
(based on the response by composer Morris Pert to this mysterious Pictish standing stone inscription)

  • Double String Quartet

Eight spatialised virtual instruments (studio-transformed acoustic performances)
respond to harmonies that only the performers can hear

Recently completed. . .
      Latest music, released on SoundCloud including excerpts from 

Short series of 30 minute sound montages for

Player Piano Studies 7-10

Virtual Piano Studies 1-4

"Take me by the Hand"
Locative (geo-located) versions of choir setting of Jeffrey Wainwright's short poem
- Southampton and London (South Bank & St Paul's Churchyard)
(premiered March and October 2012, in situ)

"Dreaming at the Circular Ruins"
for 12 digital player pianos (premiered at Front Room of QEH during "Impossible Brilliance" Festival for Nancarrow's centenary, April 2012)

"Memory Games" for solo and avatar pianists (premiered at Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton, March 2012)

CD "Credo":
      Four short convolutions:

  • a soundtrack to solitary dislocation improvising with a Saxon shepherd

  • Obama's speech on the capture of Bin Laden reconstructed 

  • Virtuosic Android Pianist Recital 

  • 3-D plunderphonic from sampled medieval and modern sacred chant with piano, harp and string orchestra: an examination in motion of devotional music from many faiths. 

for a list of compositions to date, with scores (pdf) and audio (mp3):   

Benjamin Mawson 2011 (2014)