World Premiere of PRiSM 8 Cubed 2020 works by Riot Ensemble

World premiere of eight new works from the project PRiSM 8 Cubed 2020, recorded and performed by Riot Ensemble

26 July 2021

PRiSM 8³ 2020 was a collaboration between 8 composers, 8 scientists and 8 performers from RNCM and University of Liverpool (read more about the project here). Performances of eight exciting new works were planned for summer 2020 but couldn’t take place due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19. We are delighted that Riot Ensemble could record the works in summer 2021 at Kings Place, London, with support from the Cultural Recovery Fund. Artistic Director of Riot Ensemble, Aaron Holloway-Nahum explained how the collaboration came about:

“At Riot Ensemble we first heard about the 8 Cubed pieces through our interest in giving a concert performance of Shruthi Rajasekar’s Spin Excitations. Unfortunately, the premiere we had planned was cancelled, and then – many months into the pandemic – I suddenly thought: wait, what happened to this piece? And to all of these pieces? And when we heard that the premieres had not been able to take place, we immediately wondered if they might suit Riot Ensemble’s characteristic flexibility, and if we might be able to use the generous support we’ve been enjoying from Kings Place, London throughout this whole nightmare to make these pieces into some sort of reality.

As the scores came in, it quickly became apparent that they would suit us down to the ground, and that the work was exciting, innovative and throughly beautiful. We talked about the pieces a lot and decided that we didn’t want to record them as if it was just another concert that had been lost. Just as the composers and scientists were creating out of new ways of seeing things, we wanted the viewer to have a new experience while listening to these pieces. So we hired seven GoPro wide-angle cameras and set them up all over the place. Above the players, inside the piano, attached to instruments, right on stage in the midst of the joyful music making.”

It was really something exciting and – for us – a new way of making digital work. We learned a lot, we had a LOT of fun, and we really loved working with these composers on their music. We hope you’ll enjoy listening (and watching!). Aaron Holloway-Nahum, Artistic Director Riot Ensemble.

You can watch each of the performances and read detailed programme notes about each of the collaborations and the scientific themes explored by following the links below. In the article Play me some science, Tim Rutherford-Johnson looks into the experiences of the Riot Ensemble players and what it takes to realise scientific concepts in music.


Anna Appleby (Composer, RNCM) and Rachel Bearon (Professor of Mathematical Biology, Liverpool). Read more about Uptake.

Fight of the Antimicrobials

Brittany Collie (Composer, Liverpool) and Raechelle D’Sa (Senior Lecturer in Antimicrobial Biomaterials, Liverpool). Read more about Fight of the Antimicrobials.


Ian Costabile (Composer, Liverpool) and Raphael Levy (Senior Lecturer Biochemistry, Liverpool). Read more about Organoids.

A Picture of Transparency

Rachael Gibson (Composer, Liverpool) and Rachel Williams (Professor of Ophthalmic Bioengineering, Liverpool). Read more about A Picture of Transparency.

Liquid Gold 5D106S1

Isabel Benito Gutiérrez (Composer, Liverpool & RNCM) and Mathias Brust (Professor of Chemistry, Liverpool). Read more about Liquid Gold.

Dynamical Systems: Pendula

Simon Knighton (Composer, RNCM) and Lasse Rempe-Gillen (Professor of Pure Mathematics, Liverpool). Read more about Dynamical Systems: Pendula.

Spin Excitations

Shruthi Rajasekar (Composer, RNCM) and Lucy Clark (Materials Innovation Factory, Liverpool). Read more about Spin Excitations.


Ellen Sargen (Composer, RNCM) and Yvonne Grunder (Royal Society University Research Fellow, Liverpool). Read more about Geiger.