© David Mar Photography
© Frederico Pellanchin
Henry McPherson is an artist, improvising performer, researcher and composer from the United Kingdom. His creative practice draws widely across the visual, sonic, kinetic and somatic, as a a shifting exploration of overlapping forms of communication, rooted in a desire to express the interconnectedness of things.
His work holds improvisation as an expressive practice, and as a mode of being-awareness. Frequently, it explores abstract ritual, momentary symbolisms, and free-associative storytelling. He is fascinated by communication beyond the verbal, by the pluralistic knowledges and quiet wisdom held by humans and non-humans, by changing patterns and interrelationships, by collectivity, by art as personal, as document, as protest, and as an active conduit for change.
His recent projects have involved: collaborative, spontaneous, absurd theatrics, fantasy video-conferencing, and magical surrealism; the queering of classical and contemporary classical music – the systems, architecture, and restrictions of canonical spaces; the creation and destruction of imaginary worlds; and the production of scores, prompts, and stimulus material for interpretation through diverse performance media.
Henry is a founding member of Improvising trio Noisebringers (with Brice Catherin, FR; Maria Sappho, USA), and is one third of the queer chamber trio Savage Parade (with Adam Hall, USA, and Inkeri Kallio, FI). He has recently undertaken residency collaborations with Ngallery (GR), and held the position of artist in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Alberta, CA), and at Despina gallery (Rio de Janeiro, BR) with the Fruitmarket gallery (Edinburgh, UK). He is co-editor and curator of the MASS collection, a monthly online publication of discursive art, articles, and opinion pieces addressing global issues.
Recent sharings of his work include: Parchments (2020) at the Bauhaus Dessau (Ronan Whittern, Nathan Watts), Ecosystem I (2019) at the Zuiderstrandtheater in Den Haag (NL), The Abusers of Power United Will Never Be Defeated (2020) with Weston Olencki at Electric Spring (UK), For Sylvia (2017) at FLUID Festival (Birmingham, UK), improvisations with Sky Su and Skye Reynolds at the Glasgow Experimental Music Series (2020), and Ear-Eye (video-installation) as a compliment to Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit during the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2019. Other recent collaborators including: the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Martyn Brabbins, Scottish Opera, Ensemble Modern, RedNote, Garth Knox, DECIBEL, Psappha, Michael Schumacher, Colin Frank, David Velez, Tim Tsang, Rodolfe and Latifa le Forestier, and Dejena Sekulic.
Henry is a current doctoral student at the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Research in New Music, and Research Centre for Performance Practice, supported by a PhD Studentship in Music and Dance in association with Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. His ongoing PhD research investigates Transdisciplinary Free Improvisation in Sound and Movement.
He holds a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Music (Hons, 1st) in 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.
He is an award holder of the Help Musicians Transmission Fund (2018); the Harriet Cohen Memorial Music award (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). Henry lives in Huddersfield with his dog and many houseplants.