DMU composers win prestigious international awards

Two famous composers from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have won prestigious awards at international music and audiovisual festivals.

John Young, professor of composition at MTI², received the first Francis-Dhomont Prize at the 2022 Akousma Festival in Montreal.

Professor John Young won a first prize in Montreal

While Bret Battey, professor of audiovisual composition at DMU’s Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI²), saw his latest audiovisual composition Estuaries 4 won the “Best Music (Europe) Award” from the International Computer Music Association.

Professor Battey also received the ‘Best Video’ award for Estuaries 4 at MuVi6, an event in Spain involving artists, musicians, designers and performers from around the world.


Professor Bret Battey’s audiovisual composition won two awards

The work of Professor Young—The Singing Outside— was created in the MTI² Diffusion studio. He then spent four days at McGill University in Montreal rehearsing before performing live using a 64-speaker system.

Professor Young said: “Montreal is something of a global center for electronic music, so it’s really exciting to have won this award.

“I guess the compositions are kind of niche, but you’re not deliberately setting out to make niche or obscure or intellectualized music for people to understand.

“It’s just a matter of exposure. If people come to listen, they have to have an experience that means something to them. I want to touch and move people by using original and innovative ideas.

“The whole process of working with something you created and then installing it in a space with 64 speakers was really interesting.

“I worked in a rehearsal room with other composers around me before performing live and that made it interesting. There was a sense of camaraderie and it was a great experience talking to each other and seeing the different ways we work.

“Performing the piece live scared me a bit because there’s a flip side to performing electronic music and that’s if the equipment breaks down and you have to start over. I guess that’s is a bit like a violinist breaking a string, but everything went well and it’s wonderful to have won.

Professor Battey’s work blends music, mathematics and abstract art to create compositions and was judged the best out of 362 works submitted to the International Computer Music Association’s annual conference at the University of Limerick.

Audiovisual composition by Professor Battey Estuaires 4

He said: “Visual music is a technique that is a little over a century old and works on the idea that we can shape the moving image the same way we can shape music.

“The abstract art movement explored the idea that painting could function more like music. They are two very different disciplines but the most familiar ones we know are music and cinema.

“Traditionally, we think of music as an add-on, but in reality, it helps establish how we explore the film. What you see also affects what you hear.

Professor Battey is currently investigating game engines as a means of creating audio-visual art and live musical performance.

You can learn more about MTI² and its work here

Published on: Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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