Music Composition as Interdisciplinary Practice was a research network of practitioners and practitioner-researchers funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The network included the universities of Surrey, York and Oxford Brookes and was run jointly by Tom Armstrong (University of Surrey) and Ambrose Field (University of York).
Contemporary practices in music appear to be increasingly foregrounding interdisciplinary approaches either from individual artists or collaborators. Compositional activity in all its guises – sonic art, notation-based instrumental music, the myriad forms of electronic music, music in the theatre, music for dance, film and so on – may be conceived as a nexus where the practices of different disciplines can connect in various ways, overlapping, bridging, or integrating. This research network was established to investigate this area of practice: what kinds of interdisciplinarity are in evidence here, how are these practices organised/facilitated/led, how is such work created and what might this knowledge add to understandings of artistic creativity?
As part of the research network, a two-day symposium was held at the University of York on 28-29 June 2016. A full and varied programme included presentations from researchers based in the UK and overseas covering themes such as single-person interdisciplinarity, composing interdisciplinarity, collaborative methodologies for interdisciplinarity, the composer/performer relationship and interdisciplinarity. Featured disciplines beyond music included fine art, design, theatre, dance and mathematics, and the keynote, ‘Chimeric compositions: interdisciplinary encounters between music, theatre and science’, was given jointly by Milton Mermikides (University of Surrey) and Alex Mermikides (Kingston University). A day-long festival was also held at the University of Surrey on 7 December 2016, and a one-day seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 28 January 2016.
Professor Field's research focuses on composition, new aesthetics and compositional strategies, postmodern culture and immersive media.