Dr Nina Whiteman

Dr Nina Whiteman is a core member of the The Experimental/Exploratory Music Research Centre (EEMRC) at the RNCM.

Nina is a composer, singer, and researcher based in Manchester. Recent high-profile performances of her music by ensembles such as Manchester Camerata, Psappha, and accordion duo TOEAC, and at venues including Kings Place and the Bridgewater Hall, as well as broadcast of her work on BBC Radio 3, demonstrate a growing reputation as an engaging compositional talent.

Her current project is a commission from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Shakespeare 400th anniversary celebrations. The new work, titled The map of days outworn, forms the music for a radio play in collaboration with Francesca Martinez, as well as adding to the concert repertoire of the BBC Philharmonic. The orchestra will give the world premiere at the Bridgewater Hall in April 2016, and the play will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in spring 2016.

Commissions during 2013-14 included Dark Matter Sounding for Ealing Youth Orchestra (funded by the Ambache Charitable Trust, Leathersellers Company, Penny Trust, London College of Music and RNCM Research). This work was nominated for a BACSA British Composer Award in the Making Music Category. The Galaxy Rotation Problem (commissioned by Psappha, with funds from the PRS for Music Foundation) received its premiere at the New Music North West Festival, and was selected for the ISCM World Muisc Days Slovenia 2015.

Nina’s large-scale composition The Astrolabe Series (2015) will be heard in full at the New Music North West festival at the RNCM on 24 January. The pieces in this collection range from solo to large ensemble in their scoring, and may be heard alone or overlaid.

As a singer, Nina specialises in the performance of new work, and is singer/co-director of Trio Atem, who focus on commissioning music for their unusual combination of flute, mezzo soprano, and cello. The ensemble have performed at major venues and festivals in the UK as well as engaging with projects in education settings. Their 2013 Northern Arcs tour and commissioning project was funded by Arts Council England, and other funding has come from the RVW Trust and the PRS for Music Foundation. Recent collaboration includes work with Fabrice Fitch on his Per Serafino Calbarsi cycle.

Nina has taught music in a number of HE institutions as well as delivering and devising education and outreach projects in schools and the community.

Current Research

Nina Whiteman’s current research applies theories from maze and labyrinth design to musical parameters, material behaviours, and ensemble interaction. In addition, her work explores the psychological effects of navigating a maze, seeking sonic instability, and placing performers in situations where they may find themselves lost. A number of innovations in notation arise from this research, notably the design of scores that appear maze-like and demand unusual navigation according to rules established/edited by the performers.

Selected Recent Projects

House of Mazes (2017) 25-35 minutes

For flute [doubling bass and alto flutes], mezzo soprano, cello

Composed for Trio Atem in their 10th birthday year with funds from Arts Council England and RNCM Research

Performances to date: University of Manchester (March 2017), Oxford University (May 2017), The Wonder Inn (June 2017)

Further performances: Leeds University (November 2017), Durham University (December 2017), Bath Spa University (January 2018), York University (January 2018)

Video recording with Trio Atem:

Maze-Vortex (‘White Light’) (2017) 10-15 minutes

For amplified viola, amplified clarinet

Commissioned by The Night With… and funded by Creative Scotland

Performed by Emma Lloyd and Joanna Nicholson in Edinburgh and Glasgow (April 2017)


Thread (2017) 1-2 minutes

A labyrinth for solo flute to be performed in a single breath

Commissioned by Kathryn Williams in aid of Help Musicians

Performed at Islington Mill (June 2017)


Video performance, Kathryn Williams, Islington Mill (Manchester), June 2017:


Audio performance, Kathryn Williams, Royaumont Abbey, France:



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