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Arts & Health initiative commissioning a cohort of artists to make bespoke music and sound installations for the multi-faith chapel at the Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa. Funded by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, in collaboration with Studio Response.

Jo Thomas
Sketch of Nature

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Jo Thomas
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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.

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:


  1. water revelations – based on the water sculpture located by the main gate

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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 with no walls .jpg

Garden without any walls - image by Jo Thomas

Rockwall - walled Garden hospital .jpg

Original rocks from the wall of the garden

Rockwall - excerpt .jpg

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...

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