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CoDI Interact event

18:00 Friday 17.02.23

Tŷ Cerdd, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Colin Riley in conversation with Matthew Wood

Natural elements and human imprints 

Using field recording in an orchestral piece


Composer Colin Riley talks with Matthew Wood (Head of Artistic Production BBC NOW) about his new work Hearing Places in advance of its premiere. The 30-minute session will be preceded by networking drinks and conclude with questions from the floor. Participants will each be given a ticket to the BBC NOW concert which follows at 7.30pm.

18:00 networking drinks (Tŷ Cerdd)

18:30 Colin Riley in conversation with Matthew Wood

19:00 Q&A session

19:30 BBC NOW concert (Hoddinott Hall)

Steve Reich - City Life; George Gershwin - Rhapsody No. 2; Colin Riley - Hearing Places

TICKETS are free of charge to Welsh and Wales-based composers and music-creators and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. We have a limit of 35 attendees so advise that you BOOK HERE asap and before 31 January.

Mae'r cyfansoddwr Colin Riley yn siarad â Matthew Wood (Pennaeth Cynhyrchiad Artistig CGG y BBC) am ei waith newydd Hearing Places cyn ei ddangosiad cyntaf.

Bydd derbynfa yn rhagflaenu’r sesiwn 30-munud sy’n cloi gyda chwestiynau o’r llawr. Bydd pob cyfranogwr yn derbyn tocyn ar gyfer cyngerdd CGG y BBC sy'n dilyn am 7.30yh.

Bydd tocynnau am ddim i gyfansoddwyr a chrewyr cerdd Gymreig ac ar gael ar sail y cyntaf i'r felin. Dim ond 35 tocyn sydd ar gael felly rydym yn eich cynghori i ARCHEBU YMA cyn 31 Ionawr.


Colin Riley.jpg

Colin Riley's music draws on a range of elements including new technologies, improvisation, song-writing and large-scale classical form. His recent compositions include a double cello concerto Warp and Weft (Gabriella Swallow/Guy Johnston), In Place (Melanie Pappenheim), Rock Paper Scissors (Ensemble Bash), plus orchestral works Earth Voices (Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra) and Hearing Places (BBC National Orchestra of Wales).


As well as releases on NMC, Metier and Naxos, Colin also runs his own label Squeaky Kate. The most recent releases include Isolated Pieces (featuring 27 musicians including performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah and rock guitarist Steve Hackett) and a video-EP Masts Tunnel and Trees for cellist Louise McMonagle.


Colin creates work for his own two groups, the Homemade Orchestra and MooV, where he is composer and performer/director. Moov’s last album ‘Here’ was described as ‘utterly unclassifiable’ (London Jazz Blog), and ‘criminally underexposed’ (Jazz UK). He has also collaborated with diverse artists such as drummer Bill Bruford and poet Michael Rosen. He is currently creating an album of songs The Turning Year for Melanie Pappenheim, the music for two short films, and several chamber pieces.  


Colin is Reader in Music at Brunel University London, and has been a mentor for the Making Music’s Adopt A Composer Scheme since 2001. He writes a regular blog about composing called Riley Notes and his music is published by Composers Edition.


Hearing Places

In this suite of seven movements I am aiming for a new kind of symphonic experience. It involves immersive listening, and a way of sharing in the noticing of often inconsequential, yet hugely beautiful sounds. The music aims to capture both the delicate fragility and massive power of our world, and to illustrate simply what we stand to lose in the environment crisis we are now in. It is my view that through the act of noticing our surroundings we can begin to value our world more. Natural elements are frequently referenced in the music (weather, times of day, natural phenomena and the seasons), as are the human imprints left in our world (machinery, vehicles, pattern-making, conversation). Hearing Places celebrates the rich audio and visual patterns found all around us, and I’ve spent the last year travelling to all corners of Wales collecting field recordings and video clips of interesting places that have captured my imagination. These small building blocks of pitch, rhythm, and pattern in turn then became the materials for the creation of the music itself. Sometimes I simply made a natural emotional response in terms of mood and feeling, and at other times took a more forensic approach. The audio forms a strand of the orchestral fabric, woven differently in each movement, and is ‘played’ from within the orchestra by the keyboardist. Similarly the video clips form an additional textural layer for the audience, and likewise triggered by the keyboard in different ways.  Sometimes a place may be recognisable, but very often it remains abstract and mysterious. (Composer's note)

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