Marc Yeats

Profile

Composer

I am a self employed composer of abstract contemporary classical music and visual artist with a catalogue of 180+ works, many published through Alexander Street Press and 29 years experience with commissions, performances and broadcasts internationally including the BBC Philharmonic, Tokyo City Philharmonic, Gerwaudhaus Radio Orchestra, Halle? Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC Radio. I also work as a GPS-triggered, user-mediated mobile app designer, installation producer, workshop leader and project manager with SATSYMPH LLP, have been an artistic assessor for Arts Council England, and have an interest in maintaining and promoting mental health and wellbeing, especially through active participation in the arts. 
 
I am an internationally respected composer and visual artist whose compositions have been performed by the most noted of orchestras and ensembles across the globe. These include UK companies such as The London Sinfonietta and The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic and the Halle Orchestra and Chorus. Further afield, my work has also been performed by the Tokyo City Philharmonic, the Atlanta-based, Chamber Cartel, and many others. My compositions have gained great acclaim through many radio broadcasts for the BBC and also been broadcast in many other countries including the US, Germany and New Zealand. My relationship with the BBC is both strong and enduring, starting with a BBC Scotland performance by the Edinburgh String Quartet more than 20 years ago. My first orchestral work – I See Blue – conducted by Martin Brabbins, received much acclaim when first performed around the same time. This led to specific BBC commissions, including a piano concerto to open Piano 2000 in Manchester, with Kathryn Stott as soloist, and a solo harpsichord piece Rhema, performed by Mahan Esfahani and broadcast in 2010 by BBC Radio 3 from the Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall in Leeds.
 
Selection as one of just 10 to attend the legendary Hoy Summer School in 1994 brought me into contact with the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. At the completion of the course, Max was keen to support and promote my work, and conducted his first commission with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the St. Magnus Festival in 1997. He and I continued to share ideas, and Max took a great interest in my visual art and compositional work with mobile technologies and a range of asynchronous structural approaches to composition. I am excited to have recently been appointed composer-in-residence to Yeovil District and Dorchester County Hospitals, a position I have held with other UK and US organisations. Work such as My Blood Is As Red As Yours (an orchestral and choral piece commissioned by the Halle to celebrate World Aids Day in 2008 and performed at the Bridgewater Hall) and recent work, such as shapeshifter and the observation quartets continues to enhance his reputation as a leading contemporary composer. 

A comprehensive list of commissions, grants and awards can be found here: http://marc-yeats.co.uk/blog/awards-prizes-commissions-and-memberships/

 A full list of compositional works can be accessed here:http://www.marc-yeats.com/works/ Examples of recent compositions [publications/research]:

Publications: Sheet Music: Recordings:
  • Yeats, Marc, CD: stillness in movement, An Tuireann Art Centre, Portree, (2004) Yeats, Marc CD recording track on compilation album, Mad canary Solo Piccolo, Mosaic Chrisina Ledford, DC Baby, US (2008) https://www.amazon.com/Mosaic-Cristina-Ledford/dp/B001F5I8EO
  • Yeats, marc CD Recording track on compilation album: Child to the Black Faced Night (2014)– Bass clarinet and piano – SCAW – Timeless Shades https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?ie=UTF8&field-artist=Marc+Yeats&search-alias=music
  • Yeats, Marc, Dedicated CD: The Shape Distance, (2015) Chamber Cartel , Atlanta US  https://chambercartel.bandcamp.com/album/the-shape-distance
  • Yeats, Marc CD Recording track on compilation album: Dark Gravity (2016) for Reed Trio and Percussion – Gelachter Trio with Caleb Herron – Tailwind Oboe Classics: CC2032 Presto Classics http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Oboe+Classics/CC2032 http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Oboe+Classics/CC2032
  • Yeats, Marc, CD: The Anatomy of Melancholy (2017) Marc Yeats/Prima Facie Records UK, (2017)
A comprehensive list of commissions and awards can be found here: http://marc-yeats.co.uk/blog/awards-prizes-commissions-and-memberships/
 

Research interests

Control, Flexibility, Flux and Complexity: A Timecode-Supported Approach to Polytemporal Orchestral Composition

My current interests in composition involve creating fluid music that simultaneously brings together multiple, fully notated lines of material that operate in different, unrelated tempi, where notated material is fixed against part-embedded timecode read in conjunction with ensemble/orchestra-wide loosely synchronised mobile phone stopwatches that enable performers to reference their relative notational positions to their timeline positions in the music during performance. This timecode-support provides a temporal framework that helps players maintain high degrees of structural and architectural cohesion despite the polytemporal, unsynchronised nature of the music. This polytemporal compositional approach explores the relationships between composer control (through notational signification – the instructions, signs and symbols on the page) and performer flexibility through mediation (how that notational signification is interpreted and especially how tempo indicators are mediated by players attempting to render specific speeds as indicated through precise tempo instructions). It is the flexible nature of the tension between composer control and player flexibility that produces flux, that is, a range of unpredictable (indeterminate) sonic outcomes brought about through the ever-changing contextual relationships of the material simultaneously mediated by multiple musicians. Resulting performances are never identical due to the shifts in these material contextual relationships – the flux produced – but do yield similar and recognisable versions of the original compositional model through the effective management of flux when using the temporal framework provided by timecode. This flexibility produces performances that are always sympathetic and acceptable renditions of my compositional model – my blueprint – to deliver dense, complex, polytemporal musical structures. With no unifying pulse or beat and with each player following their own temporal trajectory, there is no need for a conductor. Each player, by reading the timecode in their parts in conjunction with their stopwatches, is responsible for their own pulse. They are their own conductor. As there is no universal pulse-synchronisation there is no synchronised score produced for timecode-supported pieces. The flexible relationships between all instrumental parts cannot be usefully represented in a fixed and synchronised score format. Consequently, music is performed through parts alone. Therefore, timecode-supported polytemporal music for orchestra is conductor-less and scoreless with each musician performing in simultaneously independent tempi from parts alone. This compositional and performance method offers new possibilities in writing and performing multi-tempi music by balancing composer control and player mediation to support structural coherence and flexible performance outcomes in through-composed orchestral music using managed flux to create complex sonic relationships. Working with the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, my research builds and tests new methodologies and repertoire in this undeveloped area of composition, producing a ‘how to’ tool-kit for other composers’ use.

Timecode-supported Polytemporal Orchestral Music: My current interests in composition involve creating fluid music that simultaneously brings together multiple, fully notated musical lines of material that operate in different, unrelated tempi, where notated material is fixed against part-embedded timecode read in conjunction with ensemble/orchestra-wide loosely synchronised mobile phone stopwatches that enable performers to reference their relative notational positions to their timeline positions in the music during performance, enabling high degrees of structural and architectural cohesion to be maintained despite the polytemporal, unsynchronised nature of the music. This polytemporal compositional approach explores the relationships between composer control and performer flexibility through mediation as well as virtuosity and structural cohesion, resulting in performances that, though never identical due to shifts in material contextual relationships, yield similar and recognisable versions of the original compositional model through the effective management of flux, producing performances that are always sympathetic and acceptable renditions to deliver dense, complex, polytemporal musical structures without a conductor and performed through parts alone.

Potential research overlaps and collaborations include:

  • western classical performance practice,
  • orchestral hierarchies and orchestral culture,
  • the orchestral player as soloist, the role of the score and conductor in orchestral performance,
  • performance and perpetual iteration,
  • asynchronous music notation software development,
  • asynchronous modelling,
  • managing flux,
  • structure and control,
  • the observation and modelling of animal behaviours such as swarming, shoaling and flocking, as compositional elements in an asynchronous performance environment.