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Name: Paul Norman

PhD: Composition

Thesis Title:

UNPROTECTED PRACTICE: Including process as compositional material

Research Questions

  • My composition practice begins with an idea, from which I create a concept that will inform all aspects of the work. I make decisions in such a way that it is possible to describe how the piece is made. This creates the opportunity to communicate the usually hidden decision and creation processes to others.

    • When all decisions made during the composition process can be communicated, how is it possible to also compose ways of communicating them?

    -      How do composed material and composed communication interact to create the realisation?

    -      What duality exists between the literal and artistic aspects of the composed communication?

    -      How can the composed communication create and/or support the dramaturgy?

    -      What extra-musical elements must be used?

    -      Does this method of composition create a more shared experience between the composer, performer and audience? 

Research Aims

    • To make all decisions in the composition process communicable, and to discover the artistic merit of communicating decisions directly or indirectly, clearly or less clearly, and the effect of intentional misdirection or misleading.
    • To compose work where sonic, visual and kinaesthetic elements are valued equally, but not always utilised equally.
    • To create an opportunity for a more equal collaboration with artists from other art forms, working together without genre-specific considerations and terminology on the unifying level of ideas, decisions and realisations.
    • Where there are elements of the composition process that will be communicated to the audience, to integrate them into the realisation and not to share them elsewhere, allowing the piece, inclusive of the usually hidden elements, to be perceived in full during a performance.

Supervisors and Institution(s):

Michael Wolters, Howard Skempton, Ron Woodley (BCU Birmingham Conservatoire)

Notable Performances

  • Pointing at things: It started when you read this (2016): Performance with Masking Tape, Postcard Scores, Recorder and Video/Audio installation. Frankfurt LAB, Frankfurt.

  • TEXT (2016): Exhibition of text scores in collaboration with Michael Wolters, Hillary Springfield and Andy Ingamells, Parkside Campus Gallery, Birmingham (2016)

  • Adrian Boult Hall ist kaput; by brass (2016) Performance with 32 brass players, Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham.

  • YBRIDE (2016): Performance with Dance, Music and Visual Art in collaboration with Josep Caballero Garciá and Carl Trahan, Kampnagel, Hamburg.

  • elton John Cage the songbird (2015): Installation with photographs, film, audio and live performance, Ort Café, Birmingham

  • £108 – Art Never Lies (2015): Performance with Music, Film, and Live performance in collaboration with Michael Wolters, Oliver Clark, Andy Ingamells, Joe Young and Tori Farren, Recital Hall, Birmingham.

  • maneuvers / groove space (2014 -15): Performance with Dance, Music (electric guitar and live electronics) and Performance art in collaboration with Sebastian Matthias and Nino Baumgartner, Gessnerallee, Zurich (2014): Museum Tinguely, Bassel (2015): Theater Freiburg, Freiburg (2015): Kampnagel, Hamburg (2016)

  • (with accompaniment) (2014): Installation with live electronics in response to Susan Phillipz, Broken Ensemble, East Side Projects, Birmingham.

  • I Just Wanted to play like Buddy Holly (2014): Installation with glass frames, paper with printed text and audio, Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham

  • I Don’t Really Recommend It (2014): Performance with Guitar duo, Saxophone Ensemble, Film and Tape. (For the Vickers Bovey guitar duo), Recital Hall, Birmingham.

  • the compulsion of counting (2013) Performance with Accordion, Piano, Marimba, Cello, Double Bass, Violin, Trumpet, Trombone, Guitar, Clarinet and Heart Rate Monitors, A E Harris, Birmingham 

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

  • 2016. Presenting Lecture Performance for HTA- Ringvorlesung, Frankfurt.
  • 2016. Presenting practice at Research Matter(s) Conference
  • 2015. Artwork Published in Birmingham Journal or Literature and Language.
  • 2015. Presenting practice at M3C Research Festival 
  • 2014. Post concert talk on maneuvers / groove space, Theaterhaus Gesnerallee, Zurich.
  • 2014. Presentation of maneuvers / groove space, for internal postgraduate forum, Birmingham Conservatoire.
  • 2014. Dramaturgical assistance for Sebastian Matthias Company for synekism / groove space
  • 2014. PGCert Lecture on Research as Practice with prof. Chris Dingle, BCU Parkside.
  • 2014. Guest speaker in Conceptual Art and Music lecture, Birmingham Conservatoire.

Social Media Presence: