Satellite symphony shortlisted for new music award

Issue date: 28 June 2010


Phill Phelps Creating your own symphonic experience using movements is now possible thanks to Phill Phelps from the University of the West of England. He is part of the team developing Satsymph, which uses an iPhone app to turn GPS co-ordinates into a complex overlapping sound world of symphonic textures and spoken word recordings.

Satsymph is one of only five entries to be shortlisted for the £50,000 Performing Rights Society for Music Foundation(PRSF)New Music Award. Phill's collaborators on the project are composer Marc Yeats and poet Ralph Hoyte.

Phill said, “I'm very excited about this because Satsymph is a perfect blend between music, computer programming, recording engineering, performance, interactive audio, and new technology; all topics covered on the courses I'm involved with here at UWE.

“What you hear will be directly triggered by your own time-varying GPS co-ordinates such that each participant will have a unique, but related, audio experience. Triggers can be recorded and shared via a website, to produce a collaboratively generated score, which will then be performed live in 2011.

"Satsymph is one of many projects I'm working on outside the University. Bristol in general (and UWE specifically) are centres for cutting-edge innovation in the arts."

Only one project nominated for this award will receive funding. For the first time, the PRSF are inviting the public to view videos showcasing the work of the five finalists on their website at http://www.prsformusicfoundation.com/newmusicaward.If you like the idea, you can vote for Satsymph!

Phill is a researcher in UWE's Bristol Institute of Technology and lectures part-time on undergraduate BSc awards including Music Systems Engineering and Audio and Music Technology.

The PRSF award opened to public voting on Friday 18 June. The public vote will contribute one vote to the panel of six judges. Charlotte Higgins, Chief Arts Writer for The Guardian and Chair of the judges, said, “We have an intriguing mix of projects to consider – from an original use of new technology with the iPhone project to the use of traditional craftsman's techniques to create new music.

“Interestingly, some of the projects rely on the audience to determine the outcome, challenging traditional notions of authorship or 'composition' and performance.”

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