Sound advances

Lefteris Papadimitriou

"Like many composers of my generation I have been influenced by the computer as a new kind of instrument and as a music making tool."

HCMF and University of Huddersfield's PhD partnership

Posted on 20.07.09

The shared commitment of HCMF and the University of Huddersfield to supporting cutting-edge music is about to make a real difference to one upcoming composer's work.

HCMF and the university's long-running association was strengthened last year by the signing of a three-year sponsorship deal. Now Greek composer Lefteris Papadimitriou is the first musician to benefit from a new joint PhD scholarship run by HCMF and the University of Huddersfield, starting this autumn. Papadimitriou will carry out studies within CeReNeM , the Centre for Research in New Music, and work closely with Graham McKenzie, Artistic Director of HCMF.

"I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to work with Lefteris on the development of his artistic practice, and in assisting him in finding the most appropriate context for his work," says McKenzie.

"I first became aware of his music in 2006 in Amsterdam when he won the Gaudeamus International Composers Award with his work for piano and orchestra, Black and White. It surprised a lot of people when it won, I think ... but in a good way. He is also an interesting performer - playing laptop - and I think we can help develop that side of his work while he is at Huddersfield."

Born in Volos, Greece, Lefteris Papadimitriou is a graduate of the music department at the University of Athens. Writing for both live instruments and electronics, his talent has previously been recognized by Amsterdam's Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, who awarded him a commission in 2008.

"I consider that my music can be perceived in the larger tradition of European art music, though it's not strongly tied to any particular movement," says Papadimitriou. "I think I have been influenced by American minimal music of the 70s, the European avant-garde like Stockhausen and Xenakis and also a lot of experimental electronic music of the 90s. Of course, like many composers of my generation, I have also been influenced by the computer as a new kind of instrument and as a music making tool."

He describes his work as "constructed by functional cycles of transformation of various musical parameters. These transformations are usually achieved by a predefined ‘engravement' of the musical space where the various parameters can move through a piece."

Papadimitriou will find himself among many like minds at CeReNeM. The centre's areas of specialist research span improvisation, composition, sound spatialisation, advances in sonic technology and the cultural position of new music. In addition, CeReNem's annual GEMdays festival showcases advances in electroacoustic music.

Professor Liza Lim, Director of CeReNem, explains what the PhD research will involve: "Lefteris' music works with the physical impact of sounds and the 'dramas': the sensory, emotional, historical, contextual elements that he perceives to be encoded by sounds. His doctoral research will examine the microstructure of sounds as a way of making a language of gesture explored through both instrumental and electronic means."

She adds, "The university has excellent studio facilities and a strong performance workshop programme to support this area of research which also connects with a number of CeReNeM staff projects. The scholarship also offers a fantastic opportunity for Lefteris' work to find a public platform through HCMF and for his development as an artist to be mentored by the festival director, Graham McKenzie."