Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Davies, Hugh (Seymour)
Davies, Hugh (Seymour), composer, instrument inventor, performer (primarily on his own invented instruments); b. Exmouth, Devon, GB, 23 April 1943. Grew up in West Byfleet, Surrey.. His father was Harold Davies, b. 1915, Eltham, Kent; d. 1992. His mother was Joan Davies (nee Seymour), b. 1915, Littleham, Devon; d. 1995. He had one sister, Susan Davies. b. 1945, Exmouth, Devon. His wife, Pamela Davies (nee Bailey), b. 1956, is a music teacher (primary school). Their daughter, Rebecca Davies, b. 1986, plays several musical instruments.
Davies studied music (BA) at Oxford University, 1961-64; incl. music theory (Edmund Rubbra), music history (Frank Ll. Harrison). Instrumental lessons (piano and clarinet) from early teens.
Hugh Davies (Exmouth, Devon, 1943) is a freelance composer, instrument inventor, performer (primarily on his own invented instruments) and musicologist specializing in the new sound sources of the 20th and 21st centuries. He studied music at Oxford University, 1961-64 (BA), and was the assistant to the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne, 1964-66. As a Researcher at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales of the French Radio in 1966-67 he compiled a catalogue of electronic music compositions. From 1967 to 1986 he was the founder-director, and 1986-91 the research consultant, of the Electronic Music Studio, Goldsmiths1 College, University of London. In 1986-93 he was the external consultant for electronic musical instruments at the Gemeentemuseum, the Hague. He has been a co-founder of several British and international contemporary music organizations, including Secretary of the newly-founded International Confederation for Electroacoustic Music (1982-86). Since 1999 he has been a part-time lecturer in Sonic Art at the Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University, London.
Davies divides his concert appearances between composition and performance, and his performances between composed and improvised music. As a composer, apart from more or less traditionally notated music for conventional instruments, he has primarily concentrated on electronic music (live and on tape) and music theatre, since 1967 especially on works for his invented amplified instruments (generically known as Ishozygs1). Among his commissions have been several works for modern dance groups. Since 1967 he has invented some 130 concert instruments, sound installations and sound sculptures, and given around 200 solo concerts and lecture-recitals on his instruments, which are featured on over 50 published recordings. 30 of his compositions have been recorded commercially (some in more than one version), and they have been performed and/or broadcast in 25 countries; his instruments, sound sculptures and other work have been exhibited in 13 countries.
Apart from specializing in solo performances, Hugh Davies also plays in duos with Hans-Karsten Raecke and Max Eastley, and is currently a member of Strings With and Without Evan Parker; previous groups have included Music Improvisation Company, Gentle Fire, Naked Software, the Ferals, the Electroacoustic Cabaret and Voices from Somewhere. In the autumn of 2001 he appeared as a guest soloist with the London Improvisers Orchestra. Although he is not a multi-instrumentalist in any traditional sense, on a variety of commercial recordings he not only plays a wide range of his own and other invented instruments as well as live electronics, but also clarinet (Stockhausen1s Sternklang), Hammond organ (on the Music Improvisation Company1s second album), toy piano (Gentle Fire album) and various non-Western wind instruments (Circadian Rhythm), as well as appearing as a singer (baritone, in Phil Minton and Veryan Weston1s Songs from a Prison Diary). His many concert appearances have included the BBC Promenade Concerts on two occasions, playing live electronics in Stockhausen1s Mikrophonie II and sampling keyboard in the world premiere of Jonathan Harvey1s Madonna of Winter and Spring.
Davies' most recent activities include a greater concentration on sound installations. Following Tintinnabularia Coloniensis, a specially-commissioned "bell forest" for the underground ruins of the Roman 'raetorium in Cologne (4500 visitors during its eight-hour opening), Soft Winds Do Blow was exhibited throughout May 2002 at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh (County Cork). Two earlier sound installations have been exhibited several times in the last few years, in Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and Canada.
Hugh Davies' writings on music have been published in 17 countries and translated into 11 languages.
Sounds Heard (1967, 1977, 1981, 2001, 2002); Paul Burwell/Hugh Davies/Evan Parker (1976); Paul Burwell/Hugh Davies/David Toop (1976); Shozyg - Music for Invented Instruments (1979); Hugh Davies/Hans-Karsten Raecke: Klangbilder (1985, 1988, 1994); Visiting Hugh Davies (Other Sounds Vol. 1) (1991); Interplay (1996, 1997); Warming Up With the Iceman (2000)
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Mikrophonie I & II (1965); VA: Revue OU 36-37 (1969); Music Improvisation Company 1968-71 (1969, 1970; released 1976); The Music Improvisation Company (1970); VA: Approach to Music, vol. 3 (1970); Derek Bailey: Solo Guitar Volume 1 (1971); VA: Madame Sin (1971); Gentle Fire: Gentle Fire (1973); VA: New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments (1975); Karlheinz Stockhausen: Sternklang (1975); VA: Musicworks 57 (1977); VA: Not Necessarily English Music (1977; released 2001); VA: Strings and Springs (1977); Henri Chopin: Poesie sonore internationale (1977); VA: Improvised Music & Sound Works (1978); VA: Circadian Rhythm (1978); VA: London Musicians1 Collective... the first 25 years (1979; released 2000); Pipe: Duos/ Collaborations (1979); Borbetomagus: Work On What Has Been Spoiled (1980); Company: Trios by Company (1983); Phil Minton: The Berlin Station (1985); Hans-Karsten Raecke: Neue Musik und Free Jazz in Duo (1985); VA: FMR Sampler 3 (1985, 1987; released 1997); The Ferals: Ruff (1986); Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (1987); VA: Zeitkreis (1) (1988); Phil Minton & Veryan Weston: Songs from a Prison Diary (1991); VA: Saitenwege Teil 2 (1994); VA: Transparent Messenger / Prusvitny Posel: Symposium Hermit - Plasy Monastery (1994); VA: A New Guide to Sound Sculpture and Invented Instruments, Vol. 1 (1996, 1997); VA: Variations 2 - a London Compilation (1997); Strings with Evan Parker (1998); VA: Resonancias (2000); Strings With and Without Evan Parker: Freedom of the City 2001 - Large Groups (2001)
Music Improvisation Company, BBC, (1969); quartet improvisations with Paul Lovens, Paul Lytton and David Toop, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne), (1979);
Company, BBC, 1983; duo improvisation with Andres Bosshard, Radio Nacional de Espa-a, Oct. (1999); trio improvisation with Nicolas Collins, and Kato Hideki, VPRO (Hilversum)(2000); Strings With and Without Evan Parker, BBC webcast, (May 2001)
As performer of composed music:
Hugh Davies: Quintet (1969); Hugh Davies lecture-recital (1971); Karlheinz Stockhausen: Mikrophonie I (studio recording), Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne), (1965), Mikrophonie I, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne), (1965), Mixtur, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Hamburg), (1965), Mixtur, Sveriges Radio, (1966), Mikrophonie II, BBC, (1969); Setz die Segel zur Sonne, BBC, (1970), Mixtur, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne), (1971), Sternklang, Sender Freies Berlin, (1971), Mixtur, BBC, (1972), Alphabet for Liege, RTB (Belgium), (1972); Gentle Fire concert, BBC Radio Blackburn, (1971); Gentle Fire (studio recording), Westdeutscher Rundfunk, (1972); Erhard Grosskopf: Sun, Sender Freies Berlin, (1972); Gentle Fire (studio recording): Sender Freies Berlin, (1973), BBC, (1973), Radio Bremen, (1973); Gentle Fire concert: Hessischer Rundfunk, (1974), Radio France (Metz), (1974), BBC, (1975); Option Band concert, Radio Suisse Romande (Geneva), (1977); Christian Wolff (profile), BBC, (1978); Karlheinz Stockhausen: Mixtur (2 performances), BBC, (Jan. 1985); Jonathan Harvey: Madonna of Winter and Spring, BBC (radio), (Aug. 1986)
Radio and TV broadcasts:
Three Carols, BBC, (1964); Shozyg I, Polskie Radio (Warsaw), (1969); Contact, Radio Suisse Romande (Geneva) (1973); Raisonnements, Radio France (1975); William Fitzwater and Hugh Davies: Metropolis (film music), BBC 2 (TV) (1975); Raisonnements, Radio Suisse Romande (Geneva), (1975); Madame Sin (film music), London Weekend Television (1977)
Interviews and profiles:
interview, Deutschlandfunk (radio) (1977); profile, Sveriges Radio (Stockholm), (1982); interview, Radio Telef's fireann (Dublin), (Sept. 1987); profile, Radio Telef's fireann (Dublin), (June 1989); interview, VPRO (Hilversum), (Oct. 1989); profile, German radio (1991); interview, Radio France (June 1991);profile, Radio Nacional de Espa-a (Jan. 1992);interview, Slovensky Rozhlas (Bratislava), (1994);interview, Deutschland Radio (Berlin), (1998); interview, Deutschlandfunk (Cologne), (1998); interview, Radio Nacional de Espa-a, (Jan. 2000);interview, SWR, Germany, (2002); interview, Radio Telef's fireann (Limerick), (April 2002); profile, De Concertzender (Holland), (June 2002)
TV and film appearances (most interviews incl. demonstration of own instruments):
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Mikrophonie I, ORTF (TV/film), (1965); interview, BBC (TV), (1968); studio recordings, BBC (TV), (1970); group improvisation (studio recording), London Weekend (TV; UK), (1971); Gentle Fire: Group Composition IV, SFB Berlin (TV), (1972); Karlheinz Stockhausen: Alphabet for Liege, RTB (Belgium), (1972); Karlheinz Stockhausen (three works), Iran TV, (1972); interview, London Weekend Television (TV; UK), (1975); Howard Rees: Time/Wipe (studio recording), BBC Wales (TV), (1976); group improvisation (studio recording), BBC Open University (TV), (1976); Hugh Davies: Jigamaree, Deutschlandfunk (TV) (1977); studio performance/interviewer (film on John Cage), Channel 4 (TV; UK), later released on video (March 1984); interview, BBC (TV), (April 1986); interview, TV South (TV; UK), (April 1986); nathan Harvey: Madonna of Winter and Spring, BBC (TV), (Aug. 1986);Simon Desorgher: The Lone Ranger Rides Again! (studio recording), TV South (TV; UK), (April 1992) and BRT (Belgium; TV), (1989); Hugh Davies: Strata (studio recording), Telewizja Polska (TV; Poland) (1992); interview, CBC (TV; Canada), (1992); interview, BBC (TV), (March 1996)
Films and TV Soundtracks:
Metropolis (1975) co-composer of new electronic soundtrack for BBC TV showing of 1927 silent film (broadcast twice);
Madame Sin (1971) electronic sounds for film [main score by Michael Gibbs]
Personal tape archive from 1967 of selected improvisations and compositions; two CD releases planned for 2003.
Tape archive of recordings as member of Gentle Fire (1968-75); two CD releases planned for 2003-04.
Works by Davies
Sounds Heard: Environmental Projects and Documentation, Projects with Children, Simple Musical Instruments, Sound Installations, Verbal Scores and
Historical Perspectives (anthology, plus new texts, with CD; Soundworld, 2002); incl. previously unpublished text Improvisation, Indeterminacy and
Repertoire international des musiques electroacoustiques/International Electronic Music Catalog. MIT Press, 1968 = Electronic Music Review 2-3
(1967) [special double issue].
"I concerti futuristi a Londra e il loro impatto con la musica inglese" [The Futurist Concerts in London and Their Impact on British Music], in Domenico
Tampieri (ed.), Francesco Balilla Pratella: edizioni, scritti, manoscritti musicali e futuristi (Longo, 1995).
[analysis of Songs from a Prison Diary], in Phil Minton & Veryan Weston: Songs from a Prison Diary (CD booklet; Leo Records, 1993).
"Gesture in Live Electronic Music"/"Gesto v Zivej Elektronickej Hudbe," in IFEM 192: International Forum of Electroacoustic Music / Medzin'rodne F-rum
Elektroakustickej Hudby (Bratislava - Doln' Krup' November 1992) (CECM, 1993); on the internet at www.slovakradio.sk/radioart/proj/ifem92/pages/davies_en.html
"New Musical Instruments in the Computer Age: Amplified Performance Systems and Related Examples of Low-Level Technology," in John Paynter, Tim Howell, Richard Orton, Peter Seymour (eds.), Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought (Routledge, 1992).
"Electronic Music in Sweden," in Sten Hanson (ed.), Nordiska Musikfester/Nordic Music Days/100 Years (Kungl. Musikaliska Akademien, Stockholm, 1988).
"History of the Piano, 10: Developments and Modifications," in Piano (The New Grove Musical Instruments Series; Macmillan / Norton, 1988).
"Elektronische instrumenten: Classificatie en mechanismen," in Onno Mensink (ed.), Elektrische Muziek; drie jaar acquisitie van elektrische
muziekinstrumenten [exhibition catalogue] (Haags Gemeentemuseum, the Hague, 1988); revised French translation "Instruments electroniques: classification et mecanismes," in Contrechamps 11 (IMusiques Electroniques1), 1990; revised English text "Electronic Instruments: Classifications and Mechanisms," in Hans-Joachim Braun (ed.), II Sing the Body Electric1: Music and Technology in the 20th Century (Wolke, 2000; reprinted as Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century, Johns Hopkins U Press, 2002).
"L'univers sonore, les instruments et la musique de Luigi Russolo," in Sandro Briosi & Henk Hillenaar (eds.), Vitalite et contradictions de l'avant-garde: Italie-France 1909-1924 (Jose Corti, 1988); revised English text "The Sound World, Instruments and Music of Luigi Russolo," in Resonance 2/2 (Summer 1994); on the internet at http://www.l-m-c.org.uk/texts/russolo.html
"A Survey of New Instruments and Sound Sculpture," in Paul Panhuysen (ed.), Echo: the Images of Sound (Apollohuis, Eindhoven, 1987); German translation"Neue Instrumente und Klangskulpturen: Ein berblick," in Ars Electronica: Festival for Kunst, Technologie und Gesellschaft [festival programme book]
(Linz, 1987); also Czech translation (1995), Slovakian translation (1995); German version on the internet at: www.aec.at/20jahre/archiv/19871/1987_066.rtf
"Storia ed evoluzione degli strumenti musicali elettronici" [The History and Development of Electronic Musical Instruments], in Nuova Atlantide - il
continente della musica elettronica 1900-1986 [exhibition catalogue] (Biennale di Venezia, 1986).
"Musical Notation - Old and New," in Eye Music - the Graphic Art of New Musical Notation [touring exhibition catalogue] (Arts Council, London,
"The 20th Century Sound World: New Instruments and Sound Sculpture," in A Noise in Your Eye [touring exhibition catalogue] (Arnolfini, Bristol, 1985).
"Making and Performing Simple Electroacoustic Instruments," in Richard Orton (ed.), Electronic Music for Schools (Cambridge U Press, 1981).
"A History of Recorded Sound," in Henri Chopin, Poesie sonore internationale (Jean-Michel Place, 1979).
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition (includes 82 articles by Davies; Macmillan / Grove1s Dictionaries, 2001); on the internet (by subscription) at http://www.grovemusic.com
The Encyclopaedia of Fantasy (includes "Music" [co-author], "Opera" by Davies; Orbit, 1997).
The Dictionary of Art (includes 4 articles by Davies; Macmillan, 1996); on the internet (by subscription) at http://www.groveart.com
The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction, second edition (includes "Music" [co-author] by Davies; Orbit, 1993); reissued on CD-ROM as Grolier Science
Fiction: The Multimedia Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction (Grolier, 1995).
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (includes "Synthesizer" by Davies; Macmillan / Grove1s Dictionaries of Music, 1988); revised [co-author] in
second edition (2002).
The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (includes 11 articles by Davies; Macmillan, 1986).
The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (includes 305 articles by Davies; Macmillan, 1984).
Dictionary of Contemporary Music (includes "Electronic Music: History and Development" by Davies; Dutton, 1974 / Dictionary of 20th Century Music, Thames & Hudson, 1974).
"The Preservation of Electronic Musical Instruments," in Journal of New Music Research 30/4 (December 2001) [available on the internet only for
institutional subscribers to the journal].
"Gentle Fire: an Early Approach to Live Electronic Music," in Not Necessarily IEnglish Music1, Leonardo Music Journal 11 (2001) [special
issue]; on the internet (by subscription, libraries only): http://muse.jhu.edu//journals/leonardo_music_journal/v011/11.1davies.pdf
"My Invented Instruments and Improvisation," in Rubberneck 22 (1996); revised in Avant 1 (Spring 1997).
"A History of Sampling," in Experimental Musical Instruments 5/2 (August 1989); revised in ReR/Recommended Sourcebook 0401 (IMusic under New Technology1, 1994); revised in Feedback Papers 40 (July 1994); revised in Organised Sound 1/1 (1996); also Slovakian translation (1995).
"A Simple Ring-Modulator," in Musics 6 (February-March 1976).
"Stockhausen's Intuitive Music," in Musics 1 (April-May 1975); partially reprinted (with text on The Music Improvisation Company) in Derek Bailey:
Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music (Moorland, 1980 / Prentice-Hall, 1983; second edition: British Library, 1992 / Da Capo, 1993).
"Future Developments in Electronic Music," in Microphone 1 (February 1972); Swedish translation "Om den elektroniska musikens framtida utveckling," in Nutida Musik 15/2 (1971-72).
"A Discography of Electronic Music and Musique Concrete," in Recorded Sound 14 (April 1964); "Supplement," in Recorded Sound 22-23 (April-July 1966).
Works about Davies (omitting reviews of his work):
"Hugh Davies: Sounds Heard," Avant 22 (Summer 2002) [interview].
Christoph Wagner, "Der Mann mit dem Koffer: Christoph Wagner sprach mit Hugh Davies, dem englischen Instrumentenerfinder, Komponisten und Experten elektroakustischer Musik," Zeitschrift for Neue Musik 1999/2 (March/April).
Jean Martin, "Musique concrete live: Der Instrumenterfinder und Performer Hugh Davies," MusikTexte 75 (August 1998).
Rob Young, "Hugh Davies," The Wire 168 (February 1998).
Joel Chadabe: Electric Sound: the Past and Promise of Electronic Music (Prentice Hall, 1997).
Stephen Jarvis, "Hugh Davies," The Daily Telegraph (14 October 1995), Weekend section.
Milan Adamciak, "Magicky svet Hugha Daviesa," Dotyky [Slovakia] 4/1 (1992).
"Hugh Davies," Notes [France] 37 (March 1991) [interview].
"Intervista di Roberto Gatti e Ricardo Bertoncelli a Hugh Davies,"
Trasgressioni sonore [festival programme book]. Lugano, 1979 [interview].
David Roberts, "Hugh Davies - Instrument Maker," Contact 17 (Summer 1977);
revised as "The A-Z of Hugh Davies," Crafts 37 (March-April 1979).
"Hugh Davies," in Baker1s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, eighth edition (1992 / 9th edition, 2001).
"Hugh Davies," in Debrett's Distinguished People of Today, third edition (1990); subsequent editions retitled as People of Today; from ninth edition
(1996) also on CD-ROM.
"Hugh Davies," in International Who's Who in Music and Musicians' Dictionary, tenth edition (1984); eighteenth edition (2002) retitled as International Who's Who in Classical Music.
"Hugh Davies," in The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1984).
"Hugh Davies," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, first edition (1980); revised in second edition (2001).
"Hugh Davies," in Dictionary of Contemporary Music (Dutton, 1974 / Dictionary of 20th Century Music, Thames & Hudson, 1974).
Interviews and profiles on the Internet: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=B48n20r1ac48b~C (profile)
Honorary Logos Award (Belgium), 1972.
Honorary Citizenship of Baltimore, 1988.
medal of the City of Bourges, 1990.
Arts Council composer bursary, 1982.
RVW Trust composer bursary, 1987.
Arts Council composer bursary, 1991.