Jo Thomas is a composer and sound-artist, born and raised in Wales and now living and working from London.
She writes for the concert platform, galleries, sound-walks and commercial release, and has her work has been recognised with international awards. Jo identifies as being disabled and is an advocate for fair access in the arts. She is Vice-chair of Sound and Music, and is a Director of the Ivors Academy. http://www.jothomas.me/
Listen to 'Sketch of Nature'...
Sketch of Nature – composer's note
The work is based on the four sections of the walled garden at the original Grange house (which is within the hospital grounds), along with poetry from Elizabeth Mitchell who lived in the old house, and memories of those who volunteer in the garden. I engaged with the volunteers through workshops to reflect on spaces around them, then recorded aspects of the sound and sketched images of our environment.
The piece is in four parts:
water revelations – based on the water sculpture located by the main gate
rockwall – a dense sounding fabric of sound. The stones in the wall are from all over Wales and the wall seemed to hold a deep magical resonant quality, which was very elemental and I wanted to capture that
poly plastic – inspired by a description given by Jan, the head of the volunteers, of the sound of the poly plastic greenhouse when the rain was falling
blossom – depicting a memory of sitting in the garden near where the cherry tree is planted – a reflective, tranquil space
The violinist Simmy Singh plays solo violin in this work. I hear the sound of the violin like a type of narrator, telling a story without words, based on sound and uniqueness of place. We worked with each remotely from our studios, Simmy recording in Cardiff, and me working in London.
Garden without any walls - image by Jo Thomas
Original rocks from the wall of the garden
Excerpt from the score of Rock Wall
We asked Jo about the genesis of her piece, the experience of connecting over Zoom and combining different genres of music...