Some of you may have heard - some of you may not have heard - some of you may now be bored to tears by the “news” - that I was awarded my PhD in composition from the University of Huddersfield at the end of last calendar year. The award was officially conferred on 22.11.13 after the successful completion of my viva voce, examined by Dr Aaron Cassidy (University of Huddersfield) and Prof. James Saunders (Bath Spa University).
The recent arrival of my PhD certificate (pictured above!) has prompted me to say something briefly about the whole experience on here (which I haven’t done before), including the (possibly temporary) posting of my thesis online for download by anybody who might be interested.
My project - entitled the churches of lalibela: erosion and encrustation as transformative musical processes - was financed by a scholarship/grant awarded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and was supervised by Dr. Bryn Harrison and Prof. Liza Lim. The project outlines/demonstrates new technical/aesthetical approaches adopted in my recent compositional practice, concerning re-considering acts of musical transformation in terms of erosion and encrustation. Here, erosion and encrustation are understood as classes of compositional processes defined by operations of erasure/removal and addition/accrual respectively.
I can say with absolute sincerity that undertaking this project has been one of most rewarding and thought-provoking steps my compositional work has taken thus far, largely due to the amazing help and support offered both by my supervisors and the awesome music department at Huddersfield as a whole: a very very exciting place to be. It’s going to take a long time to unpick and chew over all the ideas and issues that has thrown up in the aftermath of this project - and in that respect there is a hell of a lot of new work to be done - but that is a new process that I’m already really excited about and is already well underway!
If anybody is interested in reading more about the work I undertook for this project, my PhD thesis can be downloaded here.
And - on a more personal note - if anybody is thinking about embarking a PhD in composition in the near future, then I strongly advise considering the University of Huddersfield: it certainly was a life-changing experience for me.