Alastair Borthwick_new

Alastair Borthwick

Professor

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

School of Arts

a.b.borthwick@hull.ac.uk

01482 465682

Alastair Borthwick is a composer and musicologist interested in exploring the expressive relationships between, and within, musical ideas that exhibit different stylistic nuances.

He tends to do this within an over-arching compositional structure rather than as a proliferation of free-floating signifiers, although sometimes an explicit dramatic narrative (e.g. the use of some sort of text) plays a decisive role in the overall coherence of a work.

Alastair composes for a wide range of instrumental and vocal combinations, from solo works for piano up to large scale choral and orchestral works. As a musicologist, he works mainly on British music since 1945 and its roots.

Research

Research Interests

  • Modern classical music, especially post-1945 British music

  • Music theory and analysis, especially in relation to music cognition, semiotics, mathematics, philosophy and religion

  • Composition

Publications

Sighs Resound (for piano, flute and oboe). Commissioned by the Ellipsis Ensemble (University of Hull, November 2017).

 “The Four Piano Sonatas: Past and Present Tensions”, in The Cambridge Companion to Tippett, eds. Gloag and Jones (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 190 – 205.

“Musical Time and Eschatology” (50% co-authored), in Resonant Witness, ed. J. Begbie (Eerdmans, 2010), pp. 271-294.

Lear Settings (2009). 3-part animation by Rozi Fuller. Music for parts 1 and 3 by Borthwick. Duration: 35 minutes. Arts Council England funded project. DVD film premiered at Bradford Animation Film Festival 2009.

Music Theory and Analysis: The Limitations of Logic (New York: Garland, 1995). pp. i-xiii:1-268

For a list of Alastair's compositions see Professional Highlights below. 

Full list

Teaching

Modules list

On secondment and research leave in 2016/17.

Research PhDs

Completed PhDs

  • Patrick Phillips,Pathways in the Music of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: The First Two Symphonies (2012)

  • Graham Dunnington,Domestic Piano Music in Victorian England (2011)

  • Leo Sakellarides, PhD by Composition (2010)

  • Roland Dee, The Music of Patrick Hadley (2009)

  • David Lang, The Anglican Organist in Victorian and Edwardian England (2004)

Current PhD supervisions 

  • David Gawthorpe (composition)

  • Michael Betteridge (composition)

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BSc (Lond)

  • MMus (Shef)

  • PhD (Lond)

  • LTCL

  • ARCS

External roles

External Examining:

University of York (PhD by composition 2014).

University of Helsinki (PhD in musicology, 2013).

University of York (PhD by composition, 2010).

BA Music and MMus, Leeds College of Music (2002 to 2006)

 

Editing/refereeing:

Guest Editor (with Ian Cross, University of Cambridge), special edition of Musicae Scientiae (1999)

Referee for the journal Musicae Scientiae.

Professional highlights

Orchestral Compositions

Lear Settings (2009). 3-part animation by Rozi Fuller. Music for parts 1 and 3 by Borthwick. Duration: 35 minutes. Arts Council England funded project. DVD film premiered at Bradford Animation Film Festival 2009.

Equiano’s Lament for soloists, choir and orchestra (2007). Duration: 23 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission for Hull Sinfonietta and University of Hull choir and orchestra. Premiered at the Wilberforce International Conference, Hull City Hall.

The Dong with a Luminous Nose for soprano and chamber orchestra (2005). Duration: 15 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission. Premiered by Hull Sinfonietta and Sarah Leonard.

The Jumblies for soprano and chamber orchestra (2004). Duration: 10 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission. Performed by Hull Sinfonietta and Allison Bell.

Three Songs for Tenor and Orchestra (1990). Duration: 20 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission. Premiered by Martin Hindmarsh and the Vivaldi Ensemble at the University of Sheffield.

The Awakening for large orchestra (1989). Duration: 18 minutes. Shortlisted for performance by the Society for the Promotion of New Music.

Chamber Music

Sighs Resound (for piano, flute and oboe). Commissioned by the Ellipsis Trio (forthcoming November 2017).

Snake Lines (for pithkiavli, piano, guitar and electronics). Performed at the Museum of Archaeology in Nicosia, Cyprus (July 2014). Erasmus funded. Revised and performed in Hull (2016).

Helical Time (an open ended song cycle for combinations of baritone voice, violin, piano and trumpet with instrumental pre-/inter-/post-ludes):

‘Time Being’, for baritone voice and piano. Duration: 4 mins. In Tsang, L. & Venables, P. (eds) Finding Ursula Vaughan Williams: An Anthology of New Songs for Voice and Piano, with an Introduction by Lee Tsang (York: University of York Music Press, 2010). Performed as part of Ursula Vaughan Williams: In Memoriam which featured 12 new commissions.Lee Tsang (baritone); Peter Sproston (piano). Recorded live to video for online use. Beverley Minster and Middleton Hall, April 2010, Chinese University of Hong Kong 2013. ISMN M 57036 187 8.

‘Days’, for baritone voice, piano, trumpet and violin (a setting of the poem by Philip Larkin). Performances (as part of the whole ‘helix’) in Hull and Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 2013.

Angel (for arpeggione and electronics). Duration: 8 mins. First performed Nicolas Delataille, University of Hull, April 2012.

Exspecto Vitam for piano (2008). Duration: 3 minutes. Performances by Julian Jacobson (Hull, London).

In Memoriam – CAthErinE DAlE for piano (2006). Duration: 4 minutes. Commissioned for the Beijing Modern Music Festival, 2005. Premiered by Xiang Zou. Other performances in London (Julian Jacobson), Cyprus.

Lacuna Lullaby for Cello and Piano. (1996). Duration: 10 minutes. Score held by British Music Information centre. Premiered by players from the London Sinfonietta at the Royal Festival Hall 1997 as part of the State of the Nation Festival. Other recent performances in Beijing (Contemporary Music Festival 2006) and Cyprus (Musical Liaisons concert 2008).

String Quartet (1995). Duration: 13 mins. Received a Dio award from the Arts Council of Great Britain. First performed by the Bingham String Quartet at the Go West Festival, Haverfordwest, Wales, September 1995.

Numerous piano compositions, songs and small ensemble pieces spanning the period 1983 to 1995 (i.e. pre-Hull).

Choral Music

Telling God’s Story for SATB (2005). Duration: 5 minutes. Runner up in BBC/St Martin in the Fields carol competition, 2005. First performed by Hull University Chapel Choir, December 2005.

O Logos for SSAATTBB (2002). Duration: 7 minutes. Recorded by Royal Holloway Choir, London. CD RR1016.

Beverley Minster Variations for soprano and organ (2000). Duration: 7 minutes.  First performed by Andrew Love and Emma Trow in the Beverley Fine Arts Millennium Concert, April 2000.

Peace for SAB (1997). Duration: 3 minutes. First performed by the University of Hull Chapel Choir at Beverley Minster, March 1997.

The May Magnificat for SSAA (1996). Duration: 7 minutes. First performed by the University of Hull Motet Choir.

Eternity for SATB (1996). Duration: 2 minutes. First performed by the University of Hull Chapel Choir.

Me for SATB (1996). Duration: 5 minutes. First performed by Beverley Minster Choir.

Three Poems by ee cummings for SATB (1991). Duration: 10 minutes. Including a commission by the choir Cantico for a six-concert tour of the North West of England.