British Council (Switzerland)
I have attended various British Council conferences on scientific and humanitarian themes, with a brief to write poetry in response, published within the conference reports. Public discussion events and further publications ensued. Themes included: ethics and predictive medicine; the traffic in cultural artefacts from Iraq and Afghanistan; climate change; and the role of cultural relations in addressing conflict. One poem, ‘Mitigation’ was subsequently included in a German textbook, and set to music by Stuart White.
I have written and performed for ArchiCantiores, a project run by Jonathan Louth, ‘Singing and performing for the Architectural Heritage’. The poem ‘Duet’ was written for the ‘Sacrifice’ event at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, in 2018. It relates to the Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon violins made by Steve Burnett in honour of the two poets and their lost generation. The poem was also read (and the violin played) at Wilfred Owen’s grave side in Ors, northern France, on the centenary of his death.
An earlier commission, ‘Quartet’ was written to complement new music stands commissioned from members of the Master Carvers Association to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Chippendale Senior in 1718. The poem was performed and distributed at gallery events in London, Burton Constable Hall, Yorkshire, and the Leeds Piano Competition.
I first wrote for Jonathan in 1990: Loggerheads, a long poem sequence, was set to music by Kit Monkman and first performed at the Arts Centre, York, with Peter Smith (tenor), Armin Sproll (saxophone) and Catharine Laws (piano). Part of the work has since been featured at St George’s Cathedral, within an ongoing programme of ArchiCantiores events.
With David Ashworth (composer) I devised and wrote two musicals: The Losers (for Easingwold School, 1997) and Checkout (for Rhesus Productions, 2000), supported by Yorkshire & Humberside Arts and York Performing Arts Service, respectively.
York Performing Arts Service also commissioned us to write a piece for 2000 voices to celebrate the millennium. It was performed at Huntington Stadium, 28 May, with pupils from ten schools.