PRiSM 8 Cubed 2020

8 composers x 8 scientists x 8 performers

10 July 2020

8³ 2020 is 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.

  • 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)

Throughout the year, paired scientists and composers have spent time together reflecting on each other’s practice. The composers have immersed themselves in understanding the scientists’ work, visiting laboratories, taking part in experiments and even dissecting an eye! The scientists have had the opportunity to gain insight into an artistic process, and reflect on their own practice as they discuss their research and methodologies with the musicians and the other scientists – within their pairings and with the wider cohort.

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 works will be realised by RNCM performers conducted by Omer Shteinhart from the RNCM School of Conducting. Many of the performers have been actively involved in the creative process with the scientists and composers.

  • Vivien Griffin (bass guitar) – RNCM School of Popular Music
  • Lili Holland-Fricke (cello) – RNCM School of Strings
  • Cara Houghton (flute) – RNCM School of Wind, Brass and Percussion
  • Eden Longson (drums) – RNCM School of Composition
  • Syakirah Noble (vocals) – RNCM School of Popular Music
  • Tasuku Noguchi (saxophone) – RNCM School of Wind, Brass and Percussion
  • Maria Rocha (guitar) – RNCM School of Popular Music
  • Pablo Torner / Celia Denore-Lopez (piano) – RNCM School of Keyboard Studies

The performances of these exciting new works were planned for 22 April 2020 at RNCM and 13 May 2020 at The University of Liverpool. Whilst they had to be postponed due to COVID-19, the scores are complete and we hope to be able to share world premiere performances as soon as we can. Watch this space…

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


COVID-19 Update: In order to provide the best possible student experience over the coming months and to ensure maximum access for staff and students while social distancing is in place, the RNCM will remain closed to the public until further notice. More information...