ABOUT

 

Described by Gramophone magazine as working in the “more radical domain” of British music, David Gorton’s compositions are often characterized by microtonal tuning systems and performer virtuosity. Yet alongside apparently complex works his output includes compositions for amateur choirs and pieces in the ABRSM Spectrum series.

 

He first came to public attention in 2001 when he was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. Commissions followed for ensembles that include the London Sinfonietta, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Exposé, Jane's Minstrels, Chroma, Hermes, and the Kreutzer Quartet. His compositions have been performed throughout Europe and America, in China, and in Vietnam. Much of his output comprises series of works for solo performers with whom he has built a collaborative relationship over a period of years, including the violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, cellist Neil Heyde, oboist Christopher Redgate, pianists Zubin Kanga and Roderick Chadwick, and the guitarist Stefan Östersjö. He has released three portrait albums on the Métier and Toccata Classics labels, the most recent of which is framed as a set of variations on music by John Dowland and was featured on BBC Radio 3's Record Review programme.

 

David Gorton was a student at Durham University, King’s College London, and the Royal Academy of Music, studying composition with Harrison Birtwistle and Simon Bainbridge. From 2004-06 he held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship for a compositionally driven project about musical time, structure, and performance. He has been an associate researcher at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, and a composer-in-residence at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. He has taught at the Royal Academy of Music since 2006, where he is an Associate Professor of the University of London.

 

 

Extract from Lachrymae Variations (04:14)

Extract from Austerity Measures II (02:08)

Extract from Fosdyke Wash (02:19)

Extract from String Quartet: Trajectories (02:38)

RECORDINGS

 

David Gorton: Variations on John Dowland

 

Toccata Classics TOC0396, 2017. Longbow, Peter Sheppard Skærved, Stefan Östersjö. Produced by David Gorton and Peter Sheppard Skærved. Sound engineering by Jonathan Haskell and Martin Svensson. Cover photograph by Benjamin Ealovega. Booklet notes by Michael Gale and David Gorton.

 

1. John Dowland arr. Gorton: Flow my teares fall from your springs (3.55)

 

2-10. Lachrymae Variations (23.58)

 

11-12. Thomas Morley arr. Gorton: Pavana and Galiarda (6.20)

 

13. John Dowland arr. Östersjö: Forlorn Hope Fancy (3.23)

 

14-20. Forlorn Hope (21.31)

 

21. John Dowland set William Byrd arr. Gorton: Pavana Lachrymae (4.04)

 

David Gorton: Orfordness

 

Métier msv28550, 2014. Kreutzer Quartet, Zubin Kanga, Christopher Redgate, Neil Heyde, Milton Mermikides. Produced by David Gorton. Sound engineering by Jonathan Haskell and Kirsten Cowie. Photographs by David Gorton. Booklet notes by Michael Hooper.

 

1. Orfordness (18:06)

 

2. Austerity Measures II (13.34)

 

3. Fosdyke Wash (16.52)

 

4. 2nd Sonata for Cello (12.48)

 

Trajectories: Music by David Gorton

 

Métier msvcd92104, 2010. Kreutzer Quartet, Neil Heyde, Peter Sheppard Skærved, Roderick Chadwick. Produced by David Gorton. Sound engineering by Jonathan Haskell. Photographs by Richard Bram. Booklet notes by Simon Shaw-Miller.

 

1-5. Sonata for Solo Cello (18.06)

 

6-7. String Quartet: Trajectories (18.37)

 

8-9. Caprices 1 & 2 (2.28)

 

10. Melting Forms (13.32)

 

11-15. Sonata for Solo Cello (live version) (16.08)

 

Electrifying Oboe

 

Métier msv77204, 2013. Christopher Redgate, Ensemble Exposé, Matthew Wright, Paul Archbold, Milton Mermikides. Sound engineering by David Lefaber and Kirsten Cowie. Booklet notes by Christopher Redgate.

 

CD 1

Erinnerungsspiel (16.39)

 

CD2

Schmetterlingsspiel (16.47)

 

with pieces by Christopher Fox, Matthew Wright, Michael Young, Edwin Roxburgh, and Roger Redgate.

 

CATALOGUE

 

Selected scores available to view on ISSUU and to purchase from Amazon.

 

ORCHESTRA AND ENSEMBLE

 

Three Deleuzabelli Variations

Ensemble [fl, cl, vib, guit, vla, vc, pno], c.6 minutes. Commissioned for the Deleuzabelli Variations project with the Hermes Ensemble as part of 'Experimentation versus Interpretation: Exploring New Paths in Music Performance in the Twenty-First Century' [ME21]. First performed by the Hermes Ensemble, Antwerp, 17 March 2015.

 

Lachrymae Variations

15 solo strings [4,4,4,2,1], c.25 minutes. First performed by Longbow, Peter Sheppard Skærved (director), Maison Dieu, Dover, 20 May 2016. Recorded on David Gorton: Variations on John Dowland (Toccata Classics, 2017).

 

Burgh Castle

Piano and ensemble [cl, hn, accord, vln, vla, vc], c.20 minutes. Commissioned by CHROMA with funding from the Performance Rights Society Foundation. First performances given by Roderick Chadwick (piano) and CHROMA ensemble, The Forge and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 11 and 23 November 2015.

 

Schmetterlingsspiel

Solo oboe and ensemble [alt fl, cl, vln, vla, vc], c.18 minutes. Commissioned by Christopher Redgate. First performed by Ensemble Exposé, Christopher Redgate (oboe), Roger Redgate (conductor), Bates Mill, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 21 November 2009. Recorded on Electrifying Oboe (Métier, 2013).

 

The Fall of Babel

Symphony orchestra, c.15 minutes. Commissioned by spnm. First performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Zsolt Nagy (conductor), Maida Vale Studio 1, 23 June 2006, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Hear and Now.

 

Sonnentode

Solo soprano and ensemble [picc, cl, vla, vc, pno], c.8 minutes. Commissioned by spnm. First performed by Jane’s Minstrels, Jane Manning (soprano), Roger Montgomery (conductor), Coombehurst Studio, Kingston University, 24 June 2005.

 

Oblique Prayers

Solo soprano and large ensemble, c.28 minutes. Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society. First performed by the London Sinfonietta, Martyn Brabbins (conductor), Claire Booth (soprano), Queen Elizabeth Hall, 27 April 2002, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Hear and Now.

 

 

CHAMBER MUSIC

 

Fosdyke Wash

Piano and string quartet, c.16 minutes. First performed by Zubin Kanga (piano) and the Kreutzer Quartet, St John's Church Waterloo, Waterloo Festival, 29 June 2013. Recorded on David Gorton: Orfordness (Métier, 2015).

 

Austerity Measures II

Howarth-Redgate oboe and string quartet, c.20 minutes. Composed as part of a visiting researcher position at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Belgium. First performed by Christopher Redgate (oboe) and the Kreutzer Quartet, Wilton's Music Hall, 12 June 2013. Recorded on David Gorton: Orfordness (Métier, 2015).

 

Hereward's Lament

19-division trumpet and 8th-tone horn, c.6 minutes. Commissioned by Stephen Altoft and Samuel Stoll. First performed by Stephen Altoft (19-division trumpet) and Samuel Stoll (8th-tone horn), the Vortex Jazz Club, UK MicroFest 4, 5 March 2011, and at the Tate Britain 'Late at Tate', 1 April 2011.

 

Wind Sculpture

Trombone and accordion (or organ), c.10 minutes. Commissioned by Professor James Watson for the trombones of the Royal Academy of Music. First performed by Philip Dewhurst (trombone) and Rafal Luc (accordion), Royal Academy of Music, 3 February 2010. Version for trombone and organ first performed by Stephanie Conway (trombone) and Pavla Bockova (organ), St Marylebone Church, 7 May 2010.

 

2nd String Quartet: Frozen Landscapes

String quartet, c.12 minutes. Commissioned by the London String Quartet Foundation and ABRSM (Publishing) Limited with funds provided by the John S. Cohen Foundation and the Neville Abraham Foundation. Published by ABRSM (Publishing) Limited in Spectrum for String Quartet (London, 2008). First performed by the Sacconi Quartet, Wigmore Hall, 11 March 2008.

 

Passacaglia

Violin and cello, c.20 minutes. Commissioned by Tate St Ives as part of the ‘Minimal Means’ series of events. First performed by Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) and Neil Heyde (cello), Tate Gallery, St Ives, 8 September 2007.

 

String Quartet: Trajectories

String quartet, c.22 minutes. Commissioned by Tate St Ives. First performed by the Kreutzer Quartet, Tate Gallery, St Ives, 17 September 2006. Recorded on Trajectories: Music by David Gorton (Métier, 2010).

 

Melting Forms

Piano trio, c.13 minutes. Commissioned by Music Past & Present. First performed by the Lawson Trio, Jacksons Lane Theatre, Highgate, 26 February 2006. Recorded by Peter Sheppard Skærved, Neil Heyde, and Roderick Chadwick on Trajectories: Music by David Gorton (Métier, 2010).

 

Silva Myrtea

Mezzo-soprano, clarinet, and cello, c.3 minutes. Commissioned by Gemini. First performed by Alison Wells (mezzo-soprano), Ian Mitchell (clarinet), Zoë Martlew (cello), the Music School, Durham, 28 February 2002.

 

Tähtelä, Place of the Stars

Cello and accordion, c.6 minutes. Commissioned by the Czardas Duo. First performed by Matthew Forbes (cello) and Ian Watson (accordion), British Music Information Centre, 11 December 2001, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, In Tune.

 

Revontuli

Clarinet, vibraphone, and piano, c.3 minutes. Commissioned by King’s College London for the occasion of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s retirement as Henry Purcell Professor of Composition. First performed by Kate Romano (clarinet), Alan Hicks (piano), Richard Benjafield (vibraphone), Chapel of King’s College London, 1 October 2001.

 

 

SOLO INSTRUMENT

 

Farnabye's Maske

Solo piano, c.6 minutes. First performed by Zubin Kanga, St John's Smith Square, 23 June 2017.

 

Austerity Measures I

10-string guitar, c.12 minutes. First performed by Stefan Östersjö, ORCiM Research Festival, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, 2 October 2014.

 

Forlorn Hope

11-string alto guitar and optional electronics, c.20 minutes. First performed by Stefan Östersjö (guitar) and Juan Parra Cancino (electronics), ORCiM Research Festival, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, 5 October 2012. Recorded on David Gorton: Variations on John Dowland (Toccata Classics, 2017).

 

Hlówung for Sutton Hoo

Solo horn, c.8 minutes. First performed by Carly Lake, Cast Court, Victoria and Albert Museum, 14 September 2012.

 

Orfordness

Solo piano, c.16 minutes. Commissioned and first performed by Zubin Kanga as part of the Out Hear contemporary music series at Kings Place, 13 February 2012. Recorded on David Gorton: Orfordness (Métier, 2015).

 

Caprices

Solo violin, c.15 minutes. Ongoing project with nine Caprices composed to date. Individual performances given by Peter Sheppard Skærved at the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate St Ives, Wilton’s Music Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Barnes Auditorium in Cornell, and the Janacek Academy in Brno. Caprice VII performed at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Only Connect exhibition, 18 March 2011. Caprices I and II recorded by Peter Sheppard Skærved on Trajectories: Music by David Gorton (Métier, 2010).

 

Capriccio

Solo cello, c.5 minutes. First performed by Neil Heyde, Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology, Couvent des Cordelier, Paris, 28 October 2009.

 

Four Inventions

Solo violin, c.10 minutes. Dedicated to Peter Sheppard Skærved and Wilton's Music Hall. First performed by Peter Sheppard Skærved, Wilton’s Music Hall, 14 September 2008.

 

2nd Sonata for Cello

Solo cello with optional electronics, c.12 minutes. First performed by Neil Heyde (cello) and David Gorton (electronics), Connect Festival, Malmö, 15 November 2011. Recorded on David Gorton: Orfordness (Métier, 2015).

 

Erinnerungsspiel

Oboe and optional electronics, c.16 minutes. First performed by Christopher Redgate (oboe), Michael Casey (electronics), Coombehurst Studio, Kingston University, 29 January 2007. Recorded on Electrifying Oboe (Métier, 2013).

 

Sonata for Solo Cello

Solo cello, c.16 minutes. First performed by Neil Heyde, Tate St Ives, 11 September 2005. Recorded on Trajectories: Music by David Gorton (Métier, 2010).

 

Ondine

Solo piano, c.7 minutes. First performed by Jan Karl Rautio, Royal Academy of Music, 28 June 2004.

 

Prelude after d’Anglebert

Solo piano, c.1 minute. Commissioned by Thalia Myers. Published by ABRSM (Publishing) in Spectrum 4 (London, 2005). First performed by Graham Ross, David Josefowitz Hall, Royal Academy of Music, 21 November 2005. Recorded on Spectrum 4 (Usk, 2005).

 

 

CHORAL MUSIC

 

In God I Trust

SATB, c.3 minutes. First performed by the Chapel Choir of King's College London, Joseph Fort (conductor), King's College London Chapel, 15 November 2016.

 

Regina Caeli

SSAATTBB, c.2 minutes. First performed by Musa Horti, Peter Dejans (conductor): Abdij Keizersberg, Leuven, Belgium, 16 November 2012; Sint-Adelbertabdij, Egmond-Binnen, Netherlands, 25 November 2012; Sint-Pietersabdij, Steenbrugge-Assebroek, Belgium, 30 November 2012.

 

Alma Redemptoris Mater

SATB with solo soprano, c.3 minutes. First performed by the Royal Academy of Music Chamber Choir, Patrick Russill (conductor), Clare Lloyd (solo soprano), Neresheim Abbey, Germany, 3 September 2010. Broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Choral Evensong, 8 and 12 September 2010.

 

RESEARCH

 

All of the compositions on this website are conceived as research, in the sense that composition is an investigative and exploratory activity, as well as a responsive and pragmatic one. Whether or not the investigative processes of compositional activity are evident in the final outcomes, or whether these outcomes represent some kind of insight or knowledge, are topics for debate. But the articles and presentations listed below are all attempts to provide access to specific facets of a compositional process, and while they exist as research outcomes in their own right, they cannot exist without the artistic activity that underpins them.

 

ARTICLES

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, ‘Choose your own adventure music: on the emergence of voice in musical collaboration’, Contemporary Music Review,

Vol. 35, No. 6 (2016), 579-598.

 

Eric Clarke, Mark Doffman, David Gorton, and Stefan Östersjö, ‘Fluid Practices, Solid Roles? The evolution of Forlorn Hope’ in: Eric Clarke and Mark Doffman (eds.), Creativity, Improvisation and Collaboration: Perspectives on the Performance of Contemporary Music (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

 

David Gorton and Christopher Redgate, ‘Austerity Measures and Rich Rewards’ in: Kathleen Coessens (ed.), Experimental encounters in music and beyond (Leuven University Press, forthcoming).

 

David Gorton and Zubin Kanga, ‘Risky Business: negotiating virtuosity in the collaborative creation of Orfordness for solo piano’ in: Lauren Redhead and Vanessa Hawes (eds.), Music and/as Process (Cambridge Scholars, 2016), pp. 97-115.

 

Esther Coorevits, Dirk Moelants, Stefan Östersjö, and David Gorton, ‘Decomposing a Composition: On the Multi-layered Analysis of Expressive Music Performance’ in: Richard Kronland-Martinet, Mitsuko Aramaic, Sølvi Ystad (eds.), Music, Mind, and Embodiment: 11th International Symposium, CMMR 2015 (Springer International Publishing, 2016), pp.167-189.

 

David Gorton, Simon Shaw-Miller, and Neil Heyde, ‘Instrumental Choreography: Gesture and Performance in Gorton’s Capriccio for solo cello’, in Michèle Castellengo and Huhues Genevois (eds.), La musique et ses instruments (Delatour France, 2013), pp. 485-493.

 

Simon Shaw-Miller and David Gorton, ‘Performing Structure: Music, art, and space’, Proceedings of the fourth Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (2008).

 

INVITED PRESENTATIONS

 

Presentation about compositional work, Contemporary Music Research Unit Composer Lecture Series, Goldsmiths, 10 November 2016.

 

‘Composing a performance: activating collaboration’, Institute of Musical Research, 25 April 2016.

 

Presentation about compositional work, Sibelius Academy, 11 April 2016.

 

‘Mind the Gap: composing a performance’, University of Surrey, 1 December 2015.

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, ‘Composer/Performer explorations towards a gesture-based understanding of musical composition and performance’, Inventing Gestures study day, ManiFeste 2015 Festival, IRCAM, Paris, 8 June 2015.

 

Presentation about compositional work, University of Durham, 20 January 2015.

 

Composers’ Seminar, University of Oxford, 10 March 2014.

 

Symposium ‘Opening the Score: the place of notation in composer and performer collaboration’, University of Surrey, 5 July 2012.

 

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, 'Towards a multimodal understanding of musical performance in David Gorton’s Austerity Measures I for ten-string guitar', Fourth Performance Studies Network International Conference, Bath Spa University, July 2016.

 

David Gorton, Christopher Redgate, and Amy Blier-Carruthers, 'Dying on stage: Holliger’s Cardiophonie', Performance, subjectivity and experimentation in artistic research, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, February 2016.

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, 'Subjectivity in the workshop', Performance, subjectivity and experimentation in artistic research, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, February 2016.

 

David Gorton, Stefan Östersjö, Dirk Moelants, and Esther Coorevits, ‘Towards a multi-layered analysis of Subjectivity in musical performance’, presented at the Orpheus Research Festival 2015, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, October 2015.

 

David Gorton, Stefan Östersjö, Dirk Moelants, and Esther Coorevits, ‘Austerity in Performance: David Gorton’s Austerity Measures I for ten-string guitar’, presented at CARPA4 The fourth Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts, Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, June 2015.

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, ‘Austerity Measures I: improvisational strategies for managing cuts’, presented at the Perspectives on Musical Improvisation II Conference, Oxford University, September 2014.

 

David Gorton and Peter Sheppard Skaerved, ‘The Exchange Project: distributed creativity as artistic strategy’, presented at the Performance Studies Network Third International Conference, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, July 2014.

 

David Gorton and Christopher Redgate, ‘Creative Tensions/Intentions in Artistic Experimentation’, presented at the Tracking the Creative Process in Music Conference, University of Montreal and McGill University, October 2013.

 

David Gorton, ‘Recomposing Dowland: Forlorn Hope for eleven-string alto guitar and optional electronics’, presented at the John Dowland 450th Anniversary Conference, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, May 2013.

 

David Gorton and Christopher Redgate, ‘Exploring new sounds: composer–performer dialogues in the search for new sonorities’, presented at the Performance Studies Network Second International Conference, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, April 2013.

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, ‘Forlorn Hope: Co-creativity and interpretative strategies towards open form’, presented at From the Known to the Unknown: Possible worlds for artistic experimentation in music - Fourth Annual Research Festival, Orpheus Research Centre in Music [ORCiM], Ghent, 3-5 October 2012.

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, ‘Forlorn Hope: the distribution of creativity in a composer-performer collaboration (workshop demonstration)’, presented at The Reflective Conservatoire 3rd International Conference – Performing at the Heart of Knowledge, 17-20 March 2012.

 

David Gorton and Zubin Kanga, ‘Collaborating in Virtuosity: an agent for re-imagining the creative process’, presented at the Tracking the Creative Process in Music Conference, University of Lille-Nord de France, September 2011.

 

David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö, ‘Forlorn Hope: tracing the dynamics of composer-performer collaboration’, presented at the Performance Studies Network International Conference, University of Cambridge, July 2011.

 

David Gorton, Simon Shaw-Miller, and Neil Heyde, ‘Instrumental Choreography: Gesture and performance in Gorton's Capriccio for solo cello’, Presented at the Fifth Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM09), Paris, 26-29 October 2009.

 

Simon Shaw-Miller and David Gorton, ‘Performing Structure: Music, art, and space’, Presented at the Fourth Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM08), Thessaloniki, Greece, 3-6 July 2008.