PRiSM 8 Cubed 2020

8 composers x 8 scientists x 8 performers

10 July 2020

PRiSM 8³ 2020 was a collaboration between 8 composers, 8 scientists and 8 performers from the RNCM and the University of Liverpool, in which music and science entwine in the creation of new works. Throughout the year, paired scientists and composers spent time together reflecting on each other’s practice. The composers immersed themselves in understanding the scientists’ work, visiting laboratories, taking part in experiments and even dissecting an eye! The scientists gained insight into the artistic process of composition, and reflected on their own practice in discussion with the musicians and the other scientists – both within their pairings and with the wider cohort.You can read more about each pairing and the resulting work from the individual project pages by following the links below.

  • Uptake Anna Appleby (Composer, RNCM) and Rachel Bearon (Professor of Mathematical Biology, Liverpool)
  • Fight of the Antimicrobials Brittany Collie (Composer, Liverpool) and Raechelle D’Sa (Senior Lecturer in Antimicrobial Biomaterials, Liverpool)
  • Organoids Ian Costabile (Composer, Liverpool) and Raphael Levy (Senior Lecturer Biochemistry, Liverpool)
  • A Picture of Transparency Rachael Gibson (Composer, Liverpool) and Rachel Williams (Professor of Ophthalmic Bioengineering, Liverpool)
  • Liquid Gold Isabel Benito Gutiérrez (Composer, Liverpool & RNCM) and Mathias Brust (Professor of Chemistry, Liverpool)
  • Dynamical Systems: Pendula Simon Knighton (Composer, RNCM) and Lasse Rempe-Gillen (Professor of Pure Mathematics, Liverpool)
  • Spin Excitations Shruthi Rajasekar (Composer, RNCM) and Lucy Clark (Materials Innovation Factory, Liverpool)
  • Geiger Ellen Sargen (Composer, RNCM) and Yvonne Grunder (Royal Society University Research Fellow, Liverpool)
Presentation to a room of composers and scientists

Composer Anna Appleby and Professor Rachel Bearon share progress on their collaboration at a PRiSM 8³ workshop 3 March 2020

The performances of these exciting new works were planned for 22 April 2020 at RNCM and 13 May 2020 at The University of Liverpool. Although this was not able to take place due to COVID-19, many of the student performers were actively involved in the creative process with the scientists and composers, as you will see from the individual project pages. The Riot Ensemble recorded the works in summer 2021, with support from the Cultural Recovery Fund, working closely with each of the composers to realise the performances planned in 2020. See the performances here.

Following our collaboration around the celebration of Ada Lovelace in Liverpool in October 2019, it has been a pleasure for the Department of Music at the University of Liverpool to continue to work with Emily Howard and PRiSM. ‘8 Cubed’ has been a great opportunity to bring together Liverpool scientists and some of our composers with colleagues from the RNCM. Back in December we hosted a lively workshop in the Department of Music where the composers and scientists met for the first time. It was really exciting to witness the discussions and mutual fascination for each other’s work. We are all looking forward to the resultant pieces being brought to fruition soon. Professor Catherine Tackley, Professor of Music, Head of the Department of Music at The University of Liverpool

What a privilege to take part in 8 cubed! Over several months, Dr Joe Leedale and I met with composer Anna Appleby to discuss our research project which explored, via mathematical models, the activity and transport of drugs in liver spheroids. Anna delved deeply into the modelling process and results, and also generously shared with us her evolving musical ideas. It was thrilling to see how scientific concepts were translated into a musical score, and also to gain insight of the creative process. The conversations also provided us the opportunity to explore our modelling philosophy from a new perspective, and has provided the strengthening of ties across a diverse range of departments at the University of Liverpool, from Music to Eye and Vision Science. Professor Rachel Bearon, Professor of Mathematical Biology, The University of Liverpool

A number of insightful collaborations with researchers at the University of Liverpool have made me acutely aware of what a mind-blowing experience working closely with a researcher from a different discipline can be. Ever since spending time on a Leverhulme Residency at Liverpool’s Department of Mathematics in 2015, I have actively created opportunities for conversations with mathematicians and scientists as part of my ongoing creative process. These interactions take my work in directions I am unable to predict, something that is hugely valuable for me creatively. I’ve found it incredibly rewarding to attend the 8 Cubed 2020 group sharings, absorbing the excitement that the composer-scientist pairings have radiated. I’m very much looking forward to each of these impressive, highly contrasting new works being brought to life by performance. Professor Emily Howard, Composer and Director PRiSM

Meet the Scientists and Composers