Category Archives: News

Democratic Resonance Scottish Parliament

Democratic Resonance is the first piece to emerge from the artist residency in the Scottish Parliament by myself and Zoë Irvine (sound artist). We are in the final stages of mixing it for an 8-channel installation in the Parliament from 3pm Friday 14th to 4pm Sunday 16th August.

The piece is installed in one of the meeting rooms that represents a threshold space between the public area and the MSP area of the building. It is a meeting point and an interface. During the Festival of Politics it is also a thoroughfare. The piece aims to bring to the listener a sonic experience of different spaces and times in the working life of the building. Recordings used in the piece come from the corridors, hallways, basement and courtyards. The sound reflects from Kemnay granite, Caithness flagstone, Scottish Oak, Italian marble, glass, concrete, carpet, it circles in the stairwells and liftshafts and resounds through the kitchens, corridors, hallways, basement, chamber and committee rooms.

St Magnus International Festival

St Magnus International Festival has announced the cast for Duncan McLean’s new play, Telling the Truth Beautifully, commissioned specially by the Festival. The wonderful Marilyn Imrie has brought me on board as Sound Designer and I am delighted to be working alongside the cast of five Scottish actors, Kirstin McLean, John Shedden, Alasdair Macrae, Nicky Elliott and Caroline Deyga and the play will open the Festival on 18 June.

The play tells the tale, through music and theatre, of the infamous 19th century case of gin smuggling in Kirkwall and the trial of a local grocer. Appropriately, it is written by well-known Orkney writer Duncan McLean, current wine merchant in the town. All the events and characters in the play are closely based on real events and people.

Actress Kirstin McLean is best known for her roles on BBC Two Scotland’s Limmy’s Show which features a series of observational, surreal, dark and bizarre sketches. “Limmy’s Show has been great to work on,” she says. “Brian Limond is really inspiring, and just so talented.” She has also appeared in River City, Doors Open, and Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights. Since graduating from the RSAMD 10 years ago she has landed a range of theatre and TV roles.and just so talented.” She has also appeared in River City, Doors Open, and Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights. Since graduating from the RSAMD 10 years ago she has landed a range of theatre and TV roles.

Shetland actor John Shedden has a long and distinguished career in broadcasting and theatre and his television appearances include Annals of the Parish, What Every Woman Knows, Weir of Hermiston, Taggart, Still Game and Rab C. Nesbitt.

Award-winning Alasdair Macrae is an actor, sound designer, musician, musical director and composer. Born in Ayrshire, he was brought up singing and playing with the world famous band the Macrazies, before playing for ceilidhs with The Tattiehowkers and later The Oatcakes. He studied drama at Glasgow’s Langside College and did street theatre with Borderline, but only integrated his music and acting after joining Vanishing Point’s production of Invisible Man when the director spotted him busking on Sauchiehall Street.

Nicky Elliott is an actor and singer who appeared with Eddie Izzard in Kitchen for Ecosse Films, Lip Service for BBC3 as well as I Keano and Life of Riley for the BBC and Fair City and The Big Bow Wow for RTE Television.

Caroline Deyga is from Carnoustie and studied Acting and Performance at The Space, Dundee College. She has recently graduated from the Acting for Stage and Screen course run jointly between Queen Margaret and Edinburgh Napier Universities. She’s been acting as part of Dundee Rep Ensemble including a one woman show, The Shape of a Girl, a one-woman show examining a young girl’s battle with inaction.

All five actors will also be performing as part of Greenvoe in Stromness Town Hall on Sunday 21 June at 2.30pm.

Telling the Truth Beautifully has four shows at MagFest venue Fusion nightclub between the 18th and 20th of June including its world première on Thursday 18th June at 7.30pm.

Telling the Truth Beautifully is directed by Marilyn Imrie, an award-winning producer and director including of Radio 4’s hugely successful Rumpole of the Bailey starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Tickets priced £15 and £11 are available from the Box Office.

Listening Beyond…

A concert of immersive electroacoustic music, spatialised across City’s surround sound concert system.
Venue: Performance Space (ALG10), College Building, City University London, , EC1V 4PB
Dates: 10 March 2015
Price: FREE Website
Uploaded by: cityuniconcerts



PIPPA MURPHY – Kamala Kantha (2004)
NATASHA BARRETT – Three Fictions (Northern Mix) (2000)
PAULA MATTHUSEN – Rosenthaler (2006)
LOUISE ROSSITER – Tout Autour De La Montagne (2014)
DIANA SALAZAR – Rewind [modus operandi] (2014)
ELAINIE LILLIOS – Listening Beyond… (2007)

FREE ADMISSION, all welcome.


Performance Space (ALG10)
College Building
City University London
St John St (between Spencer St and Wyclif St)
London EC1V 4PB


Go Compose – SOUND Festival – Red Note Ensemble

I’ll be working with young composers on this:

go compose!

Go Compose! for young composers and creative musicians aged 14 – 19

Go Compose! is an intensive composition project for young people aged 14-19 who are still in full time education. This is a unique chance to work with professional composers Pippa Murphy and Gareth Williams alongside musicians from Red Note Ensemble to create your own, original pieces of music, which will receive their premiere performances at Woodend Barn in Banchory! You will also receive a recording of your piece.

All workshops and performances take place at Woodend Barn, Burn O’ Bennie, Banchory AB31 5QA.

Timetable for the project
Sun 12 Oct 2pm – 5pm / 6pm – 8pm
Mon 13 Oct 10am – 5pm
Tue 14 Oct 10am – 5pm
Plus performance including your piece at 6pm

Accommodation also available by arrangement.  Please contact for more information.

For more information please download the Go Compose! flyer and application form

ticket price



Woodend Barn
AB31 5QA
Go Compose! is a collaboration between Sound and Music, sound festival and Red Note Ensemble with support from Aberdeen Endowments Trust, David and June Gordon Memorial Trust, Radcliffe Trust and Woodend Barn. The final performance is part of the PRS for Music Centenary year celebrations.

Anamchara – Songs of Friendship

Tickets are now on sale for Anamchara- Songs of Friendship. Words by Alexander McCall Smith. Music by Pippa Murphy. See more here.

Part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme

 Scottish Opera’s new family opera is based on themes of friendship and the ties that bind people together, whatever their age and wherever they make their home. Seven songs symbolising seven different kinds of friendship take you from day to night and through the circle of life – from childhood to teenagers in love and from adulthood to the golden years of life.

Anamchara – Songs of Friendship is written by acclaimed Scottish novelistAlexander McCall Smith and composer Pippa Murphy. A celebration of different cultures, the music features traditional instruments from India and Scotland. The multi-cultural cast of over 100 performers includes young professional singers and musicians from Scotland, India, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Botswana, Scottish Opera’s Connect Chorus and Orchestra, and a community choir made up of children, adults and students from Commonwealth countries, living and working in Glasgow.

«Nachtstrom 67» – Pippa Murphy

I’ll be playing some new pieces and some old at the Gare du Nord in Basel on the 23rd Jan. Looking forward to returning!

Die britische Komponistin Pippa Murphy ist spätestens seit ihrem herausragenden Konzert am dBâle Festival 2010 im Gare du Nord auch hierzulande eine bekannte Grösse der elektroakustischen Musik. Derzeit arbeitet sie als «Artist in Residence» am Schottischen Parlament und schreibt ein neues Stück, das die Raumakustik des Gebäudes sowie auch die Klanglandschaften der politischen Zusammenkünfte thematisiert. Bezugnehmend auf das Jahresthema «Stille» der Hochschule für Musik kuratiert Pippa Murphy für den «Nachtstrom 67» ein Programm mit elektroakustischer Musik und wird ihre neueste Arbeit mit einem mehrkanaligen Lautsprecherorchester uraufführen.

New Opera for the Commonwealth Games 2014 Alexander McCall Smith

Author Alexander McCall Smith to create an opera which will be performed in 2014, as Glasgow gets ready to host the Commonwealth Games.

The Scots writer will pen the words for a work entitled The Friendship Oratorio for Scottish Opera which it is hoped will be performed during festivities surrounding the Games.

Mr McCall Smith will write the words to accompany the music by composer Pippa Murphy. His text will weave in the various stories about friendship from youngsters in the seven countries, who will take part in a series of drama and music workshops.

It will feature 100 young people and emerging artists from seven Commonwealth countries and is based on their stories about what friendship means to them.

The involvement of the author behind the popular No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series was announced by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop during a visit to a school in Delhi, India where she met 50 young people from the city who will be taking part.

Ms Hyslop said: “I am delighted that at the heart of the Scottish team that is looking to deliver The Friendship Oratorio in 2014 is master storyteller Alexander McCall Smith.

“His libretto will provide the framework for a musical exploration of a unique aspect of human nature: the ability to bond with one another across social, economic, geographical, cultural, sexual, religious and generational divides.

The countries involved in the opera are Botswana, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, India, Australia and Scotland.


See here for more details

Bolted – An Opera for Cello, Voices and Soundscape

3 november 2012, 14:30

(world première)

An opera for voices, cello and soundscape

Music: Pippa Murphy
Libretto and Direction: Ben Harrison
Performers: Angela Hardie, Daniel Keating-Roberts, Robin Mason

In the stable block, three beings are locked in a triangle. Amidst the sounds of shifting hay, and heavy breath, a girl grooms her horse, plaiting the mane, brushing the coat, more sensuous and shimmering than any human skin… The boy, adrift, fascinated by the girl, his eyes locked on her hands as they weave the hair and make all perfect in the stall. But where is his place? The doleful, mysterious eye of the horse, liquid and dark, looks upon the boy and upon the girl. Who will run? Can we lock the stable door after the horse has bolted?

Sounds of the Flow


St Magnus International Festival

In late March 2012 Pippa Murphy visited Orkney to undertake a commission from the St Magnus International Festival to create an installation which would be placed in listening posts around the Scapa Flow area. She worked with all age groups gathering sound and music to take back to her home in Edinburgh and has created a new work from her research and recordings, which captures the essence of the Flow. If you are feeling adventurous you can follow the trail round all the listening stations.
‘On listening to Sounds of the Flow you will be taken on an imaginary sonic journey through the Flow, passing by dialect, poetry, seascapes, currents, topography, tales of old, maps, charts, boats, ferries, aeroplanes and the beautiful landscapes and characters that Scapa Flow bestows.’ Pippa Murphy


Listen here

Part 1 5’06”

Mayfield singers singing music by Pippa Murphy

Dive breathing – Ben

Ian Stout talking about his father in the flow

Jude performing bell at Scapa Flow Visitor centre – Lyness

Burray School – vocal seascape


Part 2 6’01”

All primary school children saying place names in Orkney

Radiant Queen Boat Engine and walkie talkie in Stromness

Kirkwall Grammar School – G drone improvisation

Stromness Academy – Glock and marimba riff

Dog and sea at Skaill bay


Part 3 3’16”

West Mainland Day Centre visitors talking about corncrakes and the war


Part 4 5’06”

Stromness Primary – electronic toy, dialect

North Walls Community School – school breakfast club ambient recording, screws, scelotape

Stromness Academy – vocal drops, fiddle

Cameron Stout – Clapshot poem

KGS – mud splashing, giggle

Orphir Primary – Squeaky door

Emily Turton – Voice and drum

Various locations – Rain, hail, wind, sea


Part 5 7’07”

Hamnavoe arriving and debarking

Stromness harbour – crab unloading (evening), birds (morning)

KGS – junior string orchestra, footsteps


Part 6 2’47”

Stromness Academy – class improvisation

Pam Besant – poem

Fire crackle – Inganess Bay


Part 7 3’58”

Kirkwall Airport – aeroplanes, announcements

Beach walk – Skaill bay


Recording the Parliament – Artists in Residence

We have just had our proposal accepted and after 3 years been given the go ahead to create:

PARLIAMENT A PLACE OF WORK by Zoë Irvine (artist) and Pippa Murphy (composer). A sonic exploration of the Parliament and the people who work there.

See the article in yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday

We wish to approach the parliament building as a subject and a collaborator (made up of many collaborators), listening to it and the processes within and working with sound recordings. Artistically we aim to combine ideas of sonic & musical aesthetics on the one hand and documentary and cultural analysis on the other.

The project proposes a short residency in which we will record conversations with people who work in the building from crèche staff, to cleaners, to committee members and security guards. We will also create a series of workshops for people who work in the building or who are visiting, to create material for the project.

St Magnus Festival – Sounds of the Flow

I have been commissioned to produce ‘Sounds of the Flow’ which will commence with a series of workshops when I will visit Orkney for a week and gather musical, sonic and verbal materials from interactions with people in secondary and primary schools, day centres, residential homes and other relevant groups in order to create a series of installations which will appear during the Festival. These will take the form of listening posts with headphones, which may be encountered at various transport hubs and waiting places around Orkney e.g. the airport, ferry waiting rooms around Scapa Flow, perhaps on NorthLink Ferries and Pier Arts Centre too. It’s planned as a commission with community collaboration and means we can involve a large number of participants of all ages. I will be working with those who can offer some musical input as well as gathering reminiscence, thoughts and history from the participants. We’re hoping to create windows into a variety of places, lives and cultures.

Mr McFall’s Chamber Electronics Project

I’ve been working with McFalls Chamber on this year’s Electronics Project. McFalls, Ben Seal and I have set up home for 3 days in Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, where McFalls are a resident ensemble for 2012. We’ve been working with 3 very different composers after a Call for Works, Louise Rossiter, Amble Skuse and Malcolm MacFarlane. We’ve been exploring the following

  • How can instrumental sounds be augmented and elaborated with electronics?
  • What electronic sounds might work well with instrumental timbre?
  • How can an ensemble perform live with electronic sounds or computers and how can composers score their intentions effectively?

It’s a wonderful space to spend a few days, with a beautiful run out through the countryside, a fantastic ensemble, the one and only Ben Seal and a great cafe with cakes, toasted crumpets, and lots of tea (the coffee wasn’t so great!)

Resonate the Labyrinth – 1000’s attend

Here are a few select photos from the performance of my commission ‘Labyrinth for Mixed Choir and Soundscape‘ in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh on New Years Day. St Giles was transformed into a labyrinth with a huge minotaur at its heart. The Cathedral was filled with evolving soundscapes and bursts of choir. The public queued for a chance to take ribbons from the minotaur without being spotted. It was a great success with 1000’s of people attending!

Thanks to Iain Armstrong (laptop), Lis Murphy (soprano), Judy Brown (alto), Dominic Barberi (bass), Oliver Singleton (barritone), Tom Prichard (minotaur), Mike Sherin (minotaur).

Let’s Play! Resonate the Labyrinth

We had our big rehearsal in St Giles Cathedral for the New Years Day event:

Take on the challenge of the Labyrinth: a twisting sonic journey through St Giles’ Cathedral, with a minotaur at its heart. Can you reach the centre without being spotted? A game of sound, movement and monsters – come along and play, or just listen to the evolving musical score from composer Pippa Murphy.

A minotaur, a labyrinth, an evolving soundscape and a choir..

Come and play! 2-5 New Years day

Go Compose! Red Note Ensemble

Go Compose! is an intensive composition project for young composers aged 13 – 18 who are still at school. It’s a unique opportunity to work with professional composers and musicians to create your own, original piece of music which will be performed in the Red Note Ensemble’s Noisy Night on 22 October as part of the sound festival.

The project will be led by composers Pippa Murphy and David Fennessy with professional musicians from the Red Note Ensemble. There will be additional support from students from the University of Aberdeen’s music department.