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Photo credit: Kirstie Simson

Henry McPherson is an artist, composer, improviser, performer, and researcher from the United Kingdom. His creative practice draws widely across the visual, sonic, and kinetic, and his work has been shown internationally across diverse settings – from concert halls to galleries, from bathrooms to dance studios, from parks and warehouses to cafes, virtual halls and radio. Creating across a variety of media and disciplinary settings, Henry holds improvisation as the centre of his artistic work; as a richly expressive performance practice, and as a generative mode of being-awareness, and a source of creativity and presence. His recent works explore aspects of free association, spontaneous collage, and transmedia interactivity across paint, instruments, body, text, notation, voice, video and sound. He is fascinated by communication across the non-verbal, by the juxtaposition of expressive forms,  and the capacity of artistic practices to transform individuals and communities.

Awards & Nominations:

Henry is an award holder of; Creative Scotland Four Nations International Fund (2022); the Collaborative PhD Studentship in Music and Dance in association with Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2019 – 2022); Help Musicians Transmission Fund (2018); the Harriet Cohen Memorial Music award (2018); Psappha Ensemble Composing For Guzheng Bursary (2018); the Patron’s Prize for Composition (2017); The Opera Sparks Commission prize (2017 – Scottish Opera); the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Composition Club Prize (2017); the Dinah Wolfe Memorial Prize for Composition (2013); and is a two-time nominee for the Scottish Awards for New Music (2017 – Ūhte – cat: best recorded new work; 2019, with Savage Parade – Anthems for Queer Youth, 2018, Robert Reid Allen – cat: Collaboration in New Music).

He has recently been artist-in-residence at Manasamitra (2021, UK), NGallery (2021, GR, with the Noisebringers) The Fruitmarket Gallery (2019, UK) with Despina Gallery (2018, BR), the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2018, CA), FLUID Festival (2017, UK, with Savage Parade).

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Photo credit: Frederico Pellanchin

Photo credit: Frederico Pellanchin

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Research

Henry's research interests lie in intersections of artistic performance and practice-as research, improvisation studies and improvisational ecology, critical race theory, critical whiteness studies, and queer theory.

 

As an academic, his recent presentations include: Emergence/y, A Sound Difference (Orpheus Institute, 2021); Rethinking Borders through Music Symposium (University of Huddersfield/Osaka University, 2021); The Improvisers Experience: Knowledge, Methodology, Communication (University of Huddersfield/Royal Musicological Association, 2021); Vision 2020 Conference (University of Huddersfield, 2020 – winner of the Tina Froggett award for best Oral Presentation); Capitalist Realism: 10 Years On Symposium (University of Huddersfield, 2020); and in-house presentations at the Research Centre for Performance Practice Lines of Flight seminar series. He was a panelist at the METRIC IP Conference (Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, 2020), and his article Considering the Fixed Naming of Entities: Towards a Transdisciplinary Approach to Free Improvisation was published in the 7th issue of the CeReNeM Journal (2020).

Henry is a visiting lecturer in improvisation at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and teaches undergraduate Free Improvisation at the University of Huddersfield (both since 2020)

Education

Henry is a doctoral researcher at the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Research in New Music, and Research Centre for Performance Practice. His PhD thesis (forcoming, 2022) is titled - More Than One Thing: A Practice Led Investigation into Transdisciplinary Free Improvisation in Sound and Movement - and has been supervised by Hilary Elliott, Philip Thomas, Claudia Molitor, and Ben Spatz.

 

He holds a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Music (Hons, 1st) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2013 - 2018), where he studied composition with Colin Broom and Rory Boyle, and piano with Sinae Lee, Silviya Mihaylova, and Saša Gerželj-Donaldson.

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Henry McPherson and Maggie Nicols,GIOFest 2021

Image courtesy of GIO. Footage dir/edited by Rachel McBrinn