Tansy DaviesBorn 29 May 1973
Tansy Davies Biography (BBC)
Tansy Davies characterises the role of the solo saxophone in her 2004 work Iris as that of a shaman, or ‘one who walks between worlds’, and in doing so she also describes herself – a musician whose boundary-crossing curiosity makes her one of the most distinctive voices in British music today.
Born in Bristol in 1973, she studied both horn and composition at the Colchester Institute and subsequently spent three years as a freelance horn player before further study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Simon Bainbridge and at Royal Holloway with Simon Holt. Always a performing musician – her composing grew out of improvisation and her first pieces were written for ‘a Pink Floyd-style line-up at school’ – the visceral impact of her music comes partly from her own immediate, physical sense of making sounds.
In 1996 Davies took part in the BBC Young Composer workshops in Manchester alongside her contemporaries Morgan Hayes, Stuart MacRae and Joby Talbot – taking her place within a generation of composers whose recognition and acclaim is as widespread as their respective musical languages differ.
Early (and continuing) support from the Composers Ensemble and the London Sinfonietta (Davies’s music featuring on NMC’s The Hoxton 13 CD and in the Sinfonietta’s regular ‘State of the Nation’ concert series) led in 2002 to The Void in This Colour, a Spitalfields Festival commission for the Brunel Ensemble, vividly reviewed by Tim Ashley in The Guardian as ‘a prismatic soundscape at once alluring and alienating’. The work’s qualities of sensuousness and brittleness feature in virtually everything Davies has written since, while the prismatic aspect points towards her fascination with the physical world, both natural and man-made.
Her music is often inspired by an acute visual/spatial sense. Components of Zaha Hadid’s buildings find exact parallels in the structuring of Spiral House (2004) – a trumpet concerto for Mark O’Keeffe and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra – while the work of Anselm Kiefer gave inspiration and a title for Falling Angel, a work written for Thomas Adès and BCMG and first performed successively in Birmingham and in Paris, at the Présences festival in 2007.
Alongside orchestral works of such brazen confidence as Tilting (2005) for the LSO, Davies has composed a series of equally vivid chamber works, some of which involve electronics. The almost literal tang of the textures and the title of saltbox (2005) and the suggestiveness of grind show (2007) can be heard in both acoustic and ‘electric’ versions.
Davies’s own ‘remixes’ include the music of Scarlatti in Loopholes & Lynchpins (2001) and Dowland in make black white and Residium (2004). In inside out 2 (2003), a two-part invention by J. S. Bach is transformed – a splintery, paper-on piano-strings gaiety foregrounding over a melancholy chorale.
Commissioned and performed internationally, Tansy Davies won a Paul Hamlyn Award in 2009.
Profile © Christopher Austin
Tansy Davies Biography (Wikipedia)
Tansy Davies (born 29 May 1973, Bristol) is an English composer of contemporary classical music. She won the BBC Young Composers' Competition in 1996 and has written works for ensembles such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
- "I discovered as a student that sometimes composers didn't really know quite how to speak with musicians." Tansy Davieshttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01br1bk.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01br1bk.jpg2015-02-26T16:13:00.000ZTansy Davies speaks to Tom Service about her career as a horn player, and how it influenced her work as a composer. Taken from a Proms Composer Portrait, recorded in 2010.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p02kw7pc
"I discovered as a student that sometimes composers didn't really know quite how to speak with musicians." Tansy Davies
- Composers' Rooms: No. 5 Tansy Davieshttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01ylpg5.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01ylpg5.jpg2014-05-06T17:13:00.000ZSara Mohr-Pietsch travels to Kent, and visits the Georgian home studio of Tansy Davies.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01ylph2
Composers' Rooms: No. 5 Tansy Davies
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