Mary Hampton appointed composer in residence at West Dean College

Folk Witness doesn’t usually carry much in the way of news, but we’re happy to share an update on the latest musical happenings of Mary Hampton, whose Folly album of 2011 partly inspired the creation of this blog.

Hampton hasn’t released an album since, but she has just been appointed as West Dean College of Arts & Conservation’s first-ever composer in residence. The college says the “inaugural composer-in-residence programme provides musicians with the opportunity to research, reflect and experiment in order to develop the possibilities of their own practice”.

Among this research, reflection and experimentation will be Salon Imaginaire, a series of seven concerts held at the Sussex college’s Oak Hall. The first of these concerts took place at this weekend – with Hampton herself playing alongside C Joynes, Terence Allbright and Angela Zanders. The pay-what-you-decide shows will take place every month until May 2019 (there isn’t one in April), with an eclectic line-up of musicians and performers promised – Collectress and Hanna Tuulikki are already confirmed for November and December respectively. Also lined up for November is Sonic Pleasure, who, promisingly, “is famed for her unique crafting of sound from bricks and masonry, reducing much of her instrumentation to dust by the end of a concert”.

“I’m honoured to have been selected the first ever composer-in-residence at West Dean College and I’m looking forward to developing new work in response to the college’s vibrant cultural heart,” said Hampton.

“I am especially looking forward to curating the Salon Imaginaire series. It’s a unique chance to draw on [poet, philanthropist and West Dean College founder] Edward James’s cultural legacy; his enthusiasm for bringing together experimental approaches and facilitating collaborations, and a great opportunity to trace the ongoing journey of surrealist ideas through the work of music-makers at work today. Salon Imaginaire is a fresh space for collaboration and performance from some of the most talented and interesting acts operating on the UK music scene and I can’t wait to be involved.”

For more information and to reserve tickets, visit the West Dean College website.

Main image credit: Emile Holba

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