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An interdisciplinary collaborative opera

for flautist and live electronics


When I received an email from Dani in response to a call for works which contained the words "data from astrophysics as source material", "opera","solo", and "microtonality" I was instantly interested. 

Trappist-1 takes its name from the star at the centre of a recently discovered solar system 40 light-years from our sun and, through a series of 3 acts explores Discovery, Understanding and Reaction. 

Material for Trappist-1 is drawn from a range of sources including astronomical data, project timelines, and personal accounts from collaborative partner, Amaury Triaud (Birmingham University).The work has a spatial and performative aspect to it and places the audience in the centre of an 8-channel surround, enabling an accurate sonic recreation of a solar system in orbit.

Dani and I are co-composing this work together, at times under pretty strict rules and limitations as we navigate working with numerical data, fixed temporal activities, and creative decisions. Our third composer has been jokingly christened the 'midi god' as we regularly refer to what pitches we can and cannot use at any particular time.


As an Amuse-bouche, here's the opening two minutes of Scene 1, which sees the introduction of the star (a rumbling low D played on the contrabass flute by Carla Rees) and the planets (played by me on C flute, Alto, Bass, and Piccolo). This introduction to the piece is used to tune the audiences ear to the microtonal pitches assigned to each planet as a ratio of their distance from Trappist-1 before the performer walks to the stage and joins in the texture.

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