Research Colloquium: Matthew Sergeant (composer)

Made by Matter: Reflections on agency in my recent compositional practice

Lecture Theatre 1, School of Music

The speaker is Matthew Sergeant (Bath Spa University)

When we compose, we make. But of late, I’ve become increasingly interested in the “who” or” what” is actually doing this making within my practice. Ideas of distributed creativities are of course, widely available – Liza Lim’s hylaemorphic model (Lim 2013) is a particular favourite of mine. And Tim Ingold’s notion of ‘intransitive making’ (Ingold 2013), where final form unfolds in a state of dialogue with material substances, expands such distributed agencies into a non-human domain.

My recent creative work is particularly interested in this latter perspective – I’m increasingly moving to foreground the role and function of non-human agencies in my musical work. Drawing on additional theoretical frameworks from the so-called “new materialisms” to contextualise such ideas of “agential matter” in sound ( e.g. by Karen Barad, Jane Bennett and Rosi Braidotti, amongst others), this talk reflects on my recent compositional practice through the lens of non-human agentiality – exploring such a notion with regard to the making and realisation of my work

After studying Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Matthew Sergeant read for his PhD at the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) at the University of Huddersfield. Having previously lectured at the RNCM and the University of Huddersfield, a Matthew is currently Lecturer in Composition at Bath Spa University. He is a composer whose music currently explores ideas surrounding identity and materiality, space and place. His work is frequently performed internationally, throughout Europe, North, Central and South America, Asia, and Australasia.

Matthew’s music has been commissioned and/or performed by internationally acclaimed ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra (UK), the BBC Concert Orchestra (UK), the BBC Singers (UK), CEPROMusic (Mexico), The House of Bedlam (UK), BCMG (UK), Divertimento Ensemble (Italy), ELISION Ensemble (Australia), ensemble 10/10 (UK), ensemble plus-minus (UK), EXAUDI (UK) and the Nieuw Ensemble (Netherlands).

His work has also featured at major international festivals, including the BMIC Cutting Edge Series (London, UK), Festival Musica (France), hcmf// (UK), Sirga Festival (Spain), and Sydney International Festival (Australia).