Richard Glover (3 Questions for Composer-Researchers Number 1)
I’m really happy to make the first of these posts. After some positive replies, I hope it won’t be the only one. (Being the first, this post is also the ‘reveal’ of the questions.)
The first composer-researcher that is Richard Glover.
Richard Glover is a Research Fellow in composition at the University of Huddersfield. He writes on experimental approaches to music making, and in particular sustained tone music. His chapter ‘Identity through Instability’ is included in a forthcoming book on the music of Phill Niblock, and he has a forthcoming chapter in the Ashgate companion to minimalism. He is currently working on publications with Bryn Harrison exploring the temporal experience in experimental musics, alongside broader perceptual issues in sustained tone music. His music is performed internationally and will be released on albums with both the Sheffield lable ‘another timbre’ and the University of Huddersfield CeReNeM label.
Richard Glover’s piano piece, Logical Harmonies, can be heard here, performed by Sebastian Berweck:
1. Can you briefly outline your research interests and their context in, or link with, your practice as a composer?
My research interests into other composers’ work has only ever been grounded in my own compositional practice. Where I have followed up on the working methods of a composer and discussed that, it is simply because my work in creating music has led me to think about their work in further detail, which has consequently led me to think about my work more. I don’t choose to think up new research strands outside of my own compositional work.
2) How does research inform your practice, and how does your practice inform your research?
When I study other composers’ work, it is because there has been some alignment with what I do (I will have come across that music in attending concerts of music which I enjoy, or heard people I enjoy hearing talk, talking about that composer). I likely focus on the differences between myself and that composer’s approach, although this is not a conscious decision. These differences might then start to feed into my own work, or not, depending.
3) What do you think practice, and composition in particular, has to offer the research contexts of universities? Do you think that this influences the way that you compose, document your work, or decide to create new works?
I think it is good for students to see their teachers’ work performed, as they can ask questions about the music - so this is good in a pedagogical sense. Today a composer is giving a research forum at our university, just the same as an historical musicologist would, so there doesn’t seem to be a difference in the way in which composition is seen within the research community here, compared to other disciplines. Composers may often make connections about their music that others wouldn’t (and vice versa), so I don’t particularly see a difference. In the current corporate climate, composers can be very important in generating/enhancing international departmental reputations, so…that’s good, I suppose. This honestly doesn’t influence the way I compose, but I can see that it’s good for my job when the two align.
Many thanks to Richard, particularly for being the first to contribute.