In one of our most unique music making commissions to date, we appointed Sara Lowes as composer in residence at the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester. Her brief – to create a new piece of music that explores the relationship between science and music.
Nine months on, Sara unveiled her composition, Graphene Suite, to the public for the first time to a delighted audience and standing ovation, at the University’s Martin Harris Centre. Sara was joined by 11 musicians to showcase the 35 minute piece, which was accompanied by a screening of specially created artist visuals.
Mary Griffiths, who works in Manchester was in the audience, she said, “I loved Graphene Suite. Sara’s music was beautiful and evocative, and so well performed. Loved the visuals too. I had to close my eyes at times as there was so much to take in, and was delighted by what I saw each time I looked again.”
Sally Cook added, “Congratulations – that was completely, utterly stunning. I was blown away, I could’ve listened for hours.”
Alexandra Rivers from The Big Issue in the North also joined us for the premiere and said, the “unusual combination worked charmingly, sounding like a marriage of Pink Floyd and Queen’s Flash Gordon soundtrack. The piece was met by rapturous applause and a standing ovation – quite deservingly.”
Following the premiere, Sara performed excerpts of Graphene Suite at the Museum of Science and Industry as part of the Friday Night Experiment and Experimental Weekend also taking place as part of National Graphene Week 2015.
Graphene Suite is a beautiful, wondrous and original piece of music featuring piano, synthesisers, guitars, strings, trumpet and oboe. Listening to the piece, it’s easy to understand why Sara has been cited as one of Manchester’s most exciting emerging musicians. An acclaim supported by the likes of Uncut Magazine, which recently described her music as a ‘gorgeous confection’.
Manchester based Sara has a successful career as a musician including work with The Earlies, Tokolosh, Jim Noir, King Creosote and Jesca Hoop. Her latest solo album The Joy of Waiting, released by From Railings Recordings, was applauded by the Independent on Sunday and praised by the music press for its ‘intricate detail’, ‘precision, craft and charm’.
Researching and writing Graphene Suite has proved a real process of discovery for Sara, with Brighter Sound’s commission, taking her music making somewhere totally new.
“The project has taken me into a completely different world,” explains Sara, “One that I knew very little about. It’s been intriguing to see the creative experimentation in science and to learn about the hunt for this elusive atom of two-dimensional crystal graphene.”
Watch & listen: A short film with Sara about her experience as composer in residence at Graphene will be available to watch here soon. A live recording of Graphene Suite will also be available for listening.
Brighter Sound produced the Graphene Commission at the National Graphene Institute (The University of Manchester) as part of the Wall of Sounds Programme, a partnership with Band on the Wall. The project is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Manchester City Council and the Granada Foundation.