biography

 

Tim Parkinson (b.1973) is an independent composer, based in London, UK since 1997. 

Music has been written for various groups and ensembles including Apartment House, [rout], Incidental Music, Dedalus, Basel Sinfonietta, London Sinfonietta; and for various instrumentalists including Stephen Altoft, Angharad Davies, Rhodri Davies, Julia Eckhardt, Anton Lukoszevieze, Tanja Masanti, Andrew Sparling, Craig Shepard, Philip Thomas, Stefan Thut. Music has been performed in UK, Europe, USA, Armenia, New Zealand, Japan.

Broadcasts of music have been on Resonance FM (www.resonancefm.com), Wandelweiser Radio (www.timescraper.de), BBC Radio 3 (www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/hearandnow), and WDR Köln.

He is also active as pianist and performer, both independently and also by invitation, having been an occasional performer with Apartment House, and Plus-Minus, and having performed in the UK in venues such as Tate Modern, Barbican, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and further afield in Europe, and South America. 

Independently he has curated, presented and performed many concerts, forming working relationships with musicians without intention of forming an ensemble. Since 2003 has been regularly performing with composer James Saunders in the lo-fi electronics, auxiliary instrument and any-sound-producing-means duo Parkinson Saunders.

In 2005 launched the yearly London based concert series, “Music We’d Like to Hear” (www.musicwedliketohear.com) with composers John Lely and Markus Trunk.

He studied at Worcester College, Oxford, studied privately with Kevin Volans in Dublin, and in 2001 he participated in the Ostrava New Music Days, attending seminars with Petr Kotik, Alvin Lucier, Zsolt Nagy and Christian Wolff. 

 

Recordings 

cello piece (Stefan Thut, Edition Wandelweiser EWR0603) (www.timescraper.de)

/2009/ (Compost and Height) (www.compostandheight.com) (includes Melodica and Percussion performed by Tim Parkinson)

piano piece piano piece (Philip Thomas, Edition Wandelweiser EWR1005) (www.timescraper.de) (recording of piano piece (2006) and piano piece (2007))

James Saunders - divisions that could be autonomous but that comprise the whole (Another Timbre at44) (www.anothertimbre.com) (performing on 2 tracks)

untitled installation (with Angharad Davies) (free download on Never Come Ashore) (nevercomeashore.blogspot.co.uk))

A Place in the Sky (Lorelt LNT135) (www.lorelt.co.uk) (includes Clarinet and Words performed by Andrew Sparling)

Wandelweiser und so weiter (Another Timbre at56x6) (www.anothertimbre.com) (performing on 5 tracks)

20.05.02 - Tim Parkinson, Michael Parsons, Manfred Werder (free download from Compost and Height) (www.compostandheight.com) (featuring 4 pieces (2000))

 

Selected Bibliography 

"Une Présence Manifeste - Quelques Compositeurs Du Royaume-uni Dont J'aime La Musique" by Tim Parkinson - Revue & Corrigée, December 2011

The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music, ed. James Saunders (Ashgate, 2009)

"Zeitmaschinen" by David Ryan - Dissonanz, August 2003

"Tim Parkinson" by Bryn Harrison - Counterpoints, May 1999 

 

Selected Comments 

"Philip Thomas' sublime recording of Tim Parkinson's piano music recently released on Edition Wandelweiser will soothe the most fevered of brows. Formed of two extended works for solo piano - piano piece 2006 and piano piece 2007 – this is very precise, intelligent and simply beautiful music performed by Thomas at the absolute top of his game."

Graham McKenzie, The Sampler 15 July 2010 

 

"Your music seems to stand so in between many categories or scenes, being kind of homeless."

Manfred Werder 

 

"As we listened in the foyer, surrounded by Sinfonietta soloists before the somewhat disappointing final concert, to the melodious, somewhat sixties sounds of Tim Parkinson's "untitled (winter 2002)", I reflected on how the state of composition in this country might have turned out if this ensemble had been prepared to take such risks thirty years ago. Perhaps much less of the more mainstream predictable stuff which the Sinfonietta feels obliged to offer on these occasions might have been written."

Keith Potter, The Independent, 2nd May 2002 

 

"It has the feeling of a very genial assemblage (...) -- light in character, but not at all superficial. This is not a characteristic I hear in much other music from the UK."

Michael Pisaro, California Institute for the Arts 

 

Tim Parkinson Cello Piece EDITION WANDELWEISER RECORDS CD "Very few composers have made use of the shuffle play function offered by CD players. Tim Parkinson is one who has, and he’s used it creatively. His austere and ostensibly minimal Cello Piece (2004), written for the cellist Stefan Thut, consists of twelve sections which can be played in any order. This isn’t, by any means, a new compositional strategy (Pierre Boulez and Earle Brown, for example, have written compositions that may be tackled in this way), but Parkinson has constructed each of his twelve pages of music so cunningly that there are a number of perspectival shifts within each of the sections, new ideas are introduced when you least expect them, and there are no clear beginnings or endings anywhere in the score. None of the musical events offer any indication as to what has gone before or what will happen next. Even after several listens in standard play it’s hard to predict when changes are about to occur, and once the numerous permutations offered by shuffle play have been factored in, the piece assumes a complexity that such minimal materials would seem to deny. 

Except, on reflection, the material isn’t minimal at all. As with Morton Feldman’s works from the 1980s, Parkinson seems to use repetition intuitively rather than according to a fixed compositional logic, and the range of string articulations and sonorities that Thut has to produce is extensive. Perhaps what’s more important is that Parkinson has avoided making a music which draws attention to either its or the performer’s virtuosity. In its unostentatious, non-Romantic presentation and compositional integrity it reminds me somewhat of Bach’s “Cello Suites”, a total music."

Brian Marley, The Wire, March 2007

 

OK, the question is what is going on in music now that I find interesting, right? I think at the moment, well, it's been at least over the last five or six years, there have been a group of composers, well it's a kind of music that is more or less based in Germany. It is called Wandelweiser, and it's a collective of composers that come from all over the place: Dutch, German, Swiss and American. What I like about them is how they organise themselves as a collaborative operation. They make their own festivals, their own recordings, they publish the music themselves; so they are completely independent of the new music establishment. And they are genuinely different; the character of the music is very extreme; very minimal. I mean, I don't think that is the only music one needs to make, it's not a direction everyone has to follow. But nonetheless, the kind of music they are making, the way they are organising, seems to me a good thing.

There are a couple of English composers I know, there are two, I am sure there are more, three including a German who has been here a long time; Tim Parkinson, James Saunders and Markus Trunk are working in directions that I find attractive. They are not so minimal, not so extreme as this Wandelweiser group. But there is also an independence and freshness to what they are doing, and an independence from the standard 'new music' norm.

Christian Wolff in London: In Conversation with David Ryan and Anton Lukoszevieze at the Conway Hall, London, 16 October 2006 (British Library)

 

 (see also individual works for other comments)


selected chronology

2011

Dec - "Une Présence Manifeste" published in Revue et Corrigée 

Nov - Premiere of orchestra piece 2007, performed in Basel, Zürich, Huddersfield, broadcast by Schweizer Radio DRS2 and BBC Radio 3 

Nov - MWLTH curated event at University College, Falmouth 

Oct - Visiting Professor of Composition at Janacek Academy, Brno 

Sept - Participation at Word Event Conference, Corsham Hall 

July - Music We'd Like to Hear 2011 

Performances in London (Cut & Splice), Oxford (Audiograft), New York, Berlin, Glasgow, Finland (Time of Music Festival) 

 

2010

Nov - With Lee Patterson at q-02 

July - Parkinson Saunders at Soundwaves, Brighton 

July - Music We'd Like to Hear 2010 (series 6) 

June - piano piece piano piece released on EWR 

May - /2009/ cd released 

April - Premiere of symphony by Incidental Music 

 

2009

Oct - With Phill Niblock at Cafe Oto, London 

July - Residency at Q-02, Brussels 

July - Participation in 6 hour performance of Cardew's "Treatise" at The Drawing Room, London 

July - Music We'd Like to Hear 2009 

May - quartet (2006) at the ICA London 

May - Parkinson Saunders in Hamburg 

Mar - Parkinson Saunders at Borealis, Bergen, Norway  

 

2008

Dec - Co-curates and performs in 4 concerts in New York of new British Experimental Music.

Dec -  With Manorexia at All Tomorrow's Parties.

Nov - Premiere of "three music boxes" at HCMF. 

Oct - Parkinson Saunders at Kings Place, London. 

Sept - Premiere of "violin, clarinet and piano piece" for the New York Miniaturist Ensemble. 

July - co-curates “Music We’d Like to Hear IV” in London. 

July - Parkinson Saunders at the Expo Festival Brighton. 

Jun - with Apartment House at the Soundwaves Festival Brighton playing Kagel’s “Acustica” and soundworks by visual artists. 

Mar - Premiere of “septet (2007)” on WDR Köln by Apartment House.

Jan - Premiere of “piano piece (2006)” commissioned by Philip Thomas for a portrait of Christian Wolff piano music.

Performances in Sheffield, Cambridge, London, Bern, Köln, Leeds, Helsinki, California, New York.

2007

Dec - Parkinson Saunders play at Q-O2, Brussels.

Nov - Parkinson Saunders play at Cut and Splice in HCMF, playing Cage, Lucier, Maierhof. Later broadcast on BBC.

Nov - plays with J.G.Thirlwell’s European Manorexia Ensemble in London.

Sept - included in world-wide performance of “Phontaine” by Istvan Zelenka

July - co-curates “Music We’d Like to Hear III” in London, giving the UK premiere of works by Frey, Newman, Nishikaze and Maierhof.

June - included in exhibition of composers' sketches at the Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York.

June - premiere of “Trio” in Solothurn, Switzerland

May - included amongst pianists in perfomance of Satie's "Vexations" at the Tate Modern. 

April - Parkinson Saunders play at Modern Art Oxford at the start of the BMIC Cutting Edge Tour. 

Performances in Oxford, Cambridge, York, London, Basel, Solothurn, Den Haag,  New York, Brussels, Norway, and California. Broadcasts on Swiss Radio, Slovenian Radio.

2006

Dec - with Apartment House in BBC broadcast of Cardew & Parsons.

Nov - "sextet" at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Nov - premiere of "violin piece (2006)" in Zürich played by Angharad Davies.

Nov - release of CD of "cello piece" played by Stefan Thut on Edition Wandelweiser. 

Oct - premiere of "quartet (2006)" for four percussionists in the BMIC Cutting Edge series, London, played by Apartment House, later broadcast by BBC.

Aug - with Apartment House in Sao Paolo performing Kagel's "Acustica".

May - performance of James Saunders' #180506, a three hour installation, at the Keith Talent Gallery, London.

March - April - co-curates "Music We'd Like to Hear II" in London.

Jan - tour of Switzerland with pianist Tanja Masanti of works including Wolff, Tenney, Shepard.

Performances in Tokyo, Solothurn, Zürich, Sheffield, Bielle, Gent, Basel.

UK performances in London, Glasgow, Huddersfield, Dartington, Cambridge, Manchester, and on Clapham Common. 

2005

Dec - premiere of "sextet" played by [rout] in Brighton. 

Nov - premiere of "harp piece" played by Rhodri Davies in London.

Nov - performance of Phill Niblock's "Pan Fried" in Oxford, with film.

Sep - included in performance of music by Alvin Lucier at the Tate Modern as part of the Open Systems exhibition.

Jun-July - co-curates concert series "Music We'd Like to Hear" at St Anne and St Agnes Church, London.

Jun - premiere of "three pieces (2000)" in Valencia, California

Jun - premiere of "68 Sounds for Welborne" for 2-4 CDs at Welborne Arts Festival.

Mar - premiere of "double quartet" for Vor und Nach ensemble in Boswil, Switzerland.

Performances in Aarau, Frieburg, Stuttgart, Boswil, Zürich, Basle, California.

UK performances in London, Leeds, Oxford, Brighton. 

2004

Nov - performs in Manfred Werder's "zwei ausführende(n)" at the Huddersfield Festival. 

Nov - premiere of "septet" by Buruk in London.

Oct - performs in Christian Wolff's "Changing the System", St Giles, London

Jul - tour of Germany and Switzerland with Craig Shepard, works for trombone and piano/organ.

Jan - performs in Cage's "Musicircus" at the Barbican, London

Performances in Denison & Stanford Universities USA, Zürich, Christchurch NZ, Basel, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf.

Uk performances in London, Oxford, Huddersfield.

2003

Dec - first performance of Parkinson Saunders, duo with James Saunders, music for any sound producing means other than normal instrumentation. Premiere of "two cardboard boxes" in Huddersfield.

Oct - premiere of "trombone and piano piece" with Craig Shepard in London.

Mar - premiere of "viola piece" by Julia Eckhart, Zürich.

Performances in Zürich, Armenia, New York. 

UK performances in Cambridge, London,  Huddersfield.

Broadcasts on Resonance FM.

2002

Nov - participates in performance of "Burdocks" by Christian Wolff at Huddersfield. 

Apr - premiere of "untitled (winter 2002)" by London Sinfonietta at the State of the Nation, QEH, London.

UK performances in Glasgow, London, Huddersfield, Hebden Bridge, Bexhill on Sea.

2001

summer - attended the Ostrava New Music Days in the Czech Republic, attended seminars with Jean-Yves Bosseur, Petr Kotik, Alvin Lucier, Zsolt Nagy and Christian Wolff.

June - premiere of "ten brass" commissioned by the London Borough of Camden for the re-opening of St George's Gardens, Bloomsbury.

Performances in London, Manchester, and the Czech Republic.

2000

Jun - installation "40 Trinder Road" included in Living Room Exhibition, curated by Damian Llambias.

Performances in Poole. London, Leeds, Durham, UK, and Kansas and Iowa, USA.

1999

Commencing of concerts at St Cyprians Church London. 

Performances in London, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Leeds, Durham.

1998

Performances in London and Hebden Bridge. 

1997

Commencing of concerts at British Music Information Centre, London.

Premiere of “bed”, commissioned by the Harpur Trust Bedford School Silver Jubilee Music Festival.

Performances in Oxford, London, Bedford.

1996

Performances in London, and Little Missenden Festival.

1995

Premiere of “piece for organ” commission for the organist of Chester Cathedral, Michael Booth.

1994-95

Private study with Kevin Volans.

1991-94

Ba at Worcester College Oxford.

short biography

Tim Parkinson, lives in London, writes music, puts on concerts, "Music We'd Like to Hear" since 2005 with John Lely and Markus Trunk, plays 'any sound producing means' with James Saunders as "Parkinson Saunders" since 2003, plays with groups from Set Ensemble to Manorexia, his music performed from LA to Tokyo, from Viitasaari to Christchurch, championed by especially Apartment House and Incidental Music and the excellent associated soloists therein, now has 2 Cds out on Edition Wandelweiser, featured in The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music, web presence here www.untitledwebsite.com, here www.youtube.com/untitledparkinson, and here https://soundcloud.com/tim-parkinson-1. Born 7th July 1973, at school 11 years, at university for 3, studied briefly with Kevin Volans in his house in Dublin, went to Ostrava 2001 met Christian Wolff and Alvin Lucier, aside of which never sought any further education except life and self.