Composers Festival spotlight: Aaron Parker

Aaron Parker is another of the resident composers helping to put the “international” in this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival, coming to Columbia all the way from England.

Parker currently is working toward a masters in experimental music at Brunel University in London, and, reflecting his continuing interest in teaching as well as composition, also serves as assistant director of music at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire.

A native of Manchester, Parker (pictured) previously completed a BMus in Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, studying with Gary Carpenter and Larry Goves.

He writes what he calls “loosely-defined instrumental and electronic music informed by a love of landscape, film (Jonas Mekas, Rose Lowder, Peter Bo Rappmund, Joshua Bonnetta), visual art (Anselm Keifer, Gerhard Richter, Ai Weiwei), and sound (Eliane Radigue, Rashad Becker, John Cage, Giuseppe Ielasi, Chris Watson, György Kurtág, Radiohead, and many others).”

In addition to “atholhu,” the new piece he composed for Alarm Will Sound to perform at the 2017 MICF, Parker’s recent projects include a workshop and performance of “biakoulem” by Kokoro, the new music ensemble of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; a new piece for toy piano and live electronics for Xenia Pestova; a performance of large-scale ensemble and electronics work “Warehouse” as part of the 21C Music Festival at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto; and collaborations with Manchester-based multi-instrumentalist David Bainbridge and with vocalist Kathryn West.

Other recent commissions have come from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the new music ensemble Psappha, and the ddmmyy series.

Parker released a solo album, Storage, in 2016 on the SLIP imprint, which was featured on, and also has had works recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra (through their Panufnik Composers program) and on Architectures, a 2016 compilation of new music on the RMN Classical label. Performances of his compositions have taken place across the UK and Europe, and have been broadcast on BBC TV and radio.

You can listen to Parker talk about his music in the interview he did earlier a few weeks ago for KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and hear samples of his work on his SoundCloud page and via the embedded players below.

“Now (no more)” (2013), performed by Jenny Dyson (alto flute), Graham Proctor (percussion), Elinor Nicholson (harp), Oliver Farrant (cello), and Aaron Parker (electronics) .

“51° 12’ N / 0° 55’ W – 080115,” a world premiere performance recorded on February 24, 2015 at Hallé St. Peter’s in Manchester, England, featuring Conrad Marshall (flute), Dov Goldberg (clarinet),
Benjamin Powell (piano), Tim Williams (percussion), Benedict Holland (violin) and Jennifer Langridge (cello).

“serisu” (2016), performed by BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Gourlay