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date: 22 April 2021

Saunders, Jameslocked

  • Christopher Fox

Extract

(b Kingston-upon-Thames, Dec 12, 1972). English composer. He studied composition at the University of Huddersfield with Margaret Lucy Wilkins (BMus 1994). He undertook further study at the RNCM with Anthony Gilbert (MA 1996), after which he returned to the University of Huddersfield, first as a research student, gaining the doctorate in 2003, and subsequently as a lecturer. In 2007 he became a lecturer in music at Bath Spa University.

As a student, Saunders was fascinated by the long late works of Morton Feldman and the issues of form and duration raised by the timescale of that music. His initial response was to go to the opposite extreme, composing music of extraordinary brevity. The orchestral work Like Wool (1998), for example, is music of considerable textural density but lasts only 25 seconds. Other works, in particular 511 Possible Mosaics (1999), experimented with ideas of modularity: nine different instrumental parts can be combined in any or all of their 511 possible combinations. Experience of these brief works in performance, however, led Saunders to a consideration of the ways in which he could compose not just the succession of sounds within each musical constellation but also their disposition within the surrounding periods of musical inactivity. In an extension of his use of modular principles he began ...

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