Copper House Music (2019)
Copper House Music is a new composition commissioned by Modern Art Oxford in response to the architectural plans of the John Piper Gallery. It received its first performance on the 31 October 2019 as part of EMPRES’ Art of Noises IV event, and was performed again on 21 November 2019 during the Modern Art Social evening at the gallery.


I was approached by Sara Lowes (Curator of Creative Learning) to compose a new sound work in response to the Piper Gallery space at Modern Art Oxford. She provided me with the architectural plans for the gallery, as well as a history of the building compiled by 6a Architects (2015). Before Modern Art Oxford (then MOMA) was founded in 1965 by Trevor Green, the site was home to the City Brewery, operated by the Hanley family since the early 1800s. The Piper Gallery itself was at one point the Copper House of the brewery, home to the large metal vessels (“coppers”) in which wort and hops were boiled (see Figure 1). Thus, the title is a nod to the history of the room, acknowledging the many ways that the Piper space has been purposed and repurposed even prior to its artistic function. Indeed, the notion of adaptability and (re-)use was my starting point. The Piper has been home to work by a wide variety of artists since the gallery’s opening, each of whom brings their own energy to the space. The notion that the blank canvas of this gallery space can be transformed by this kind of artistic presence is central to my approach with Copper House Music.