Music for FilmViva Voce

  • Tate Britain

    12th March 2024
  • Keith Piper’s Viva Voce film is installed in the old members’ dining room, Tate Britain. In Viva Voce, Keith Piper stages an imagined conversation between artist Rex Whistler and a fictional academic, Professor Shepherd, who asks Whistler about his 1927 mural The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats, challenging him on its racist narrative and imagery.

    I was asked by Keith to provide some musical material for the film, Viva Voce. He and I then shared ideas about the music of the 1920s that could have been heard by the frequenters of the Gargoyle Club of which Rex Whistler was a member. The heyday of the US ragtime craze had passed by this time but left influences in the music of a number of touring bands one of which was the Plantation orchestra with American jazz singer and dancer, Florence Mills whose song I’m a Little Blackbird, Looking for a Bluebird was a hit, and has since been seen as a plea for racial equality.

    A ragtime rhythm is suggested in the song which is upbeat in tempo and delivery. The voice seemed to represent for me the spirit of the centrally wronged figure in Rex Whistler’s contentious mural, the black woman forced to flee and depicted ignominiously naked, up a tree. It seemed that the extract chosen from the Little Blackbird song could perhaps carry some respect for this figure and act as a kind of leitmotif for her, this wronged, un-named figure, throughout the film.

    The melody is consequently referenced throughout, played on the five-string electric violin, the tune changed from the major to the minor key, lowered by an octave and slowed right down, the line played alternately between pizzicato and being bowed. The session was recorded by Lukasz Soltysiak at Middlesex University and sound designed by Gary Stewart.

    More Info – Tate Website

Live Performance Avant Garden Duo with Iris Garrelfs

  • Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses

    30th April 2023
  • Duo Performance – Invited to perform with Iris Garrelfs on April 30th 2023 at Brockwell Greenhouses Barn as part of the improvised sound series Avant Garden curated by Adam Brett using site-related material including plant pots, talking birds, talking cactus, sampled voices and violin to combine a playful interest in how materials sound and how timbres on voice and instrument can interact and be explored.

Live PerformanceSouth London Gallery

  • Peckham, Clore Studio

    16th April 2023
  • Tom Phillips event, Fifty Years of 20 sites in ‘n’ years, seminar and commissioned performance event

    Live performance with ensemble devised and led by Tansy Spinks, playing graphic scores – Ornamentik (1966), solo violin and Music for ‘n’ Musicians (1973), with Kate Ryder (prepared and toy pianos, Tom Mills (theremin), Daniel Ross (Tom Phillip’s studio objects), Nick Rampley (bassoon) and Tansy Spinks (electric violin) as the nascent Tom Phillips Graphics Score Band.

    SLG Link Image

Live PerformanceCozy NookMaking With Series

  • Cozy Nook, Thornton Heath

    28th January 2023
  • Curated by Emmanuelle Waeckerlé, inspired by Donna Haraway’s notion of collective creation and organisation: ‘sympoiesis is a simple word; it means “making-with”’ (Haraway, 2016: 58), with Iris Garrelfs and Tansy Spinks.

    Programme: two solos and a duo where Tansy Spinks and Iris Garrelfs improvise and respond to place and location.

    Ornamentik, Tom Phillips graphic score from 1973, Tansy Spinks (violin, voice)

    Revisiting Monica Sjoo’s paintings as scores Lament for my Son and Meeting the Ancestors at Avebury, from her performance at the Sjoo Beaconsfield exhibition, August 2022, Tansy Spinks (violin live with recorded violin on headphones)

    Washing Up, Iris Garrelfs (tin cans, bucket of water, voice)

    Duo with speaking singing toy birds, voice with voice changer, violin and objects referencing local composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) and his arrangement of Longfellow’s epic poem Hiawatha.

    Event website Cosy Nook – Making With Vol.1

Live PerformanceBeaconsfield

  • Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall, London

    20th August 2022
  • Nine short pieces as a live, solo promenade performance, (acoustic violin and nine stones) responding to the paintings of Swedish born artist Monica Sjöö, at the Peace Camp day event at Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall.

    Starting in the replicated peace tower from Greenham Common, playing the Greenham song ‘Stand Up Women, Make Your Choice’, the performer walked into the building, stopping at chosen paintings, responding with the violin. Each painting is marked by a large stone, on the floor. Moving on, an assistant maiden places each stone into a central basket.

    Nine Maidens - Link Picture

    There was so much nuance, variation and subtlety in each encounter. Every Maiden and her stone [a stone placed on the floor, marked the painting being looked at] felt infused with specific and particular powers and the interface with Sjoo’s cosmology was extremely intimate. It was extraordinarily moving and spine tingling at times.M Curran

    …because solo violin – forced me to focus and strangely I began to live the music, to join in, so to speak, the music. I was eager to see what each stone drew forth, to find which painting you were in dialogue with and at the end, as if I had taken a drug, or found clean air, Monika’s paintings seemed to grow, to deepen, to become more beautiful, clearer and numinous. I realised that these late paintings were stunning, rich in colour and meaning, strong and very great. But it was quite definitely the music and you playing it, what you seemed to be feeling/experiencing that opened windows and doors in my mind’s eye and let the light in. Today I looked at the photos of Monika’s work and the magic still held. For that, I thank you very much as you gave me back to the essence of Monika. E Jellinek

Exhibition The Engine Room 2022 Reboot

  • The Engine Room, Morley College, London

    6th-17th June 2022
  • Three hand bound text scores –

    1. From transcribed sound conversations
    2. Distilled, site related-fiction
    3. Rubbings of soles of the walkers’ shoes.

    These objects evolved from a sound walk, led by Tansy around Peckham, and were originally commissioned by M2 gallery, for a solo exhibition In The Mind’s Ear – a Text Score for Peckham in 2016.

    The format of the book echoes the line of the stave and was made in Morley’s bookbinding classes. They were shown again as part of The Engine Room (Cornelius Cardew tribute) exhibition at Morley College Gallery in June 2022, curated by Camilo Salazar.

Live Score The Hurrier Improvisation on acoustic violin

  • APT (Art in Perpetuity Trust) Gallery

    4th December 2021
  • Live score performed on violin forThe Hurrier, Anne Robinson’s expanded film work on 5 screens at APT Gallery, London, December 4th 2021. Original Hurrier song by Anne Robinson.

    Watch The Hurrier on Vimeo

    Visit Hurrier.org for further information on Anne Robinson’s Hurrier project.

    Audio from The Hurrier  live score

Live Performance A Cloudburst of Material Possessions

  • Middlesex University Music Department

    5th November 2021
  • Materiality in Sound: a live improvisation based on the Leonardo da Vinci drawing of 1519 and a collaboration between Tansy Spinks (electric violin and extended technique) and Kate Ryder (prepared piano), jointly known as SPYDER. The piece was created for the New Pathways in Improvisations two day live-streamed event devised by Ben Dwyer at Middlesex University.

Book Sound Art and Music Philosophy, Composition, Performance

  • book launch

    20th November 2020
  • This volume explores the mutually beneficial, but occasionally uneasy, relationship between sound art and music. It reveals how practices and theories associated with these art forms frequently result in corroboration, and contains chapters from both practitioners and theoreticians who work in areas where innovative synergies between sound art and music can be identified.

    Sound Art and Music: Philosophy, Composition, Performance
    Edited by John Dack, Tansy Spinks, and Adam Stanovi´c
    ISBN: 1-5275-5781-2

    These reflections on sound and music constitute a most welcome addition to the Sonic Arts literature. The variety of sound practices represented, as the sonic experiments of both visual artists and composers – including co-editors Tansy Spinks and Adam Stanovi´c   respectively – are explored alongside those of performers, choreographers and a wide range of other practitioners, from bio-acousticians to ASMR YouTubers. The intersection of these perspectives leads to a surprising array of observations on creative processes, inter-disciplinarity and collaboration, often mediated by digital technologies.

    Patricia Alessandrini, Assistant Professor, Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University, USA

    In the last seventy or more years, new arts of sound have emerged, some clearly within more traditional notions of music, others seeming at first quite separate. Recently, this has increasingly been challenged. Conceptions of performance, instrument, embodiment, tool, process, product, space, site and media are all in creative flux. Sound Art and Music: Philosophy, Composition, Performance brings many of these ideas together in a wide-ranging and critical discussion, starting out from reflective practice. This is a vital new contribution to the literature.

    Simon Emmerson, Composer; Professor in Music, Technology and Innovation, De Montfort University, UK

Podcast Claret and Conversation

  • Podcast on Claret Press

    8th January 2020
  • Voices from the Creative Industry sponsored by Claret Press and Clapham Publishing Services – a recent podcast discussing sound, listening, and creativity, where I talk about how to listen and consider what listening is and how it informs my creative practice.

Video Salad Bowls

  • Hundred Years Gallery, Hoxton

    6th December 2018
  • Salad Bowls from the Poundland series. Live performance for Graham Dunning.

    Full Performance

Interview Sound Out

  • Radio interview, Resonance FM

    16th October 2018
  • Radio interview, Resonance FM 104.4 FM, broadcast 16|10|18 – Featured guest on Resonance FM radio on the programme, Sound Out, hosted by Carole Finer (Chant), experimental musician and one time member of the Scratch Orchestra.

    Full Interview

Performance Solo For Violin

  • APT Gallery, Deptford X

    30th September 2018
  • Performance weekend, afternoon performances 12-7pm – performing George Maciunas’ Fluxus piece of 1962, Solo for Violin. Part of Deptford X festival. 22 instructions starting with ‘playing a sentimental’ tune on the violin.

    Full Performance

Performance Black Rice

  • iklectik, Paradise Yard, Waterloo, SE1 7LG

    18th September 2018
  • Improvising Black Rice trio invited to perform at the alternative venue, (the ‘Café Oto’ of the South Bank), featuring Pete Nagle on prepared cello, Tansy Spinks on electric violin using extended techniques, Rahel Kraft (Berlin), voice, electronics and recordings.

    Performance Audio

Whitstable Biennale 2018

  • Whitstable Beach

    June 2nd 2018
  • The Sounding Shore: Coast to Coast, performance as the Lab of Sonic Possibility: Tansy Spinks and Iris Garrelfs. Commissioned by Marcus Leadley, David Rogers, Mandy Rathbone. A day long curated programme of live performances, installations and sonic art interventions on the beach – with a strong site-specific and ecological focus – the sounds heard over wireless headphones. Produced by Goldsmiths, University of London and DIVA studio.

Forest of Plasticity

  • Arts By The Sea Festival, Bournemouth

    October 28th 2017
  • As part of a programme of live improvised sounds on the beach with scavenged waste plastics at the Forest of Plasticity event curated by Adrian Newton, (also broadcast across the beach through headphones).

    Listen to Forest of Plasticity

Moire in Sound

  • Beaconsfield Gallery, London

    October 21st 2017
  • Public Symposium event for Mic Drop, at Beaconsfield Gallery, Newport Street, South East London – live sound work devised by Tansy Spinks with Maya Amrani, (for 2 voices and 2 microphones), as a commissioned response to the film installation exhibition Mic Drop by Keith Piper.

Listening Wall

  • Supernormal festival, Braziers Park, Oxfordshire

    August 5th & 6th 2017
  • A site-specific ‘score for listening’ as a contribution to the Listening Wall curated by Iris Garrelfs. The text score was inspired by the Braziers Park School of Integrative Research and Braziers Adult College Brochure from 1950

Talk | Documenting The Event

  • Goldsmith’s University

    June 9th 2017
  • Talk with PhD students about documenting ‘the event’ .The performance and event documentation was for a research group of staff and PhD students in the Music department. Invited by composer-lecturer, Patricia Alessandrini.

Drawing Sound [Ongoing Project]

  • Almshouse in Fulham Broadway/ Farmhouse at Hendon

    July 5th 2016/ July 5th 2017
  • Sites of ongoing series – site specific/object and live sound/drawing project with writer/artist Peter Thomas.

Text Scores for Peckham and Sefrou

  • Goldsmith's University

    April 24th 2017
  • Text Scores for Peckham [South London] & Sefrou [Morocco] – Talk/ Paper, given at Sound and Memory Symposium (with University of Kent, School of Sound, Whitechapel Art Gallery), at Goldsmith University.

Public Live Performance Assembly

  • Hornsey Town Hall Council Chamber, Crouch End, London N8

    April 3rd 2017
  • Live collaborative talk and sound performance event with Sonia Boyce, set in the 1930s council chamber, as part of Ply gallery Middlesex MA Fine Art show, Traces

How do Composers get their Ideas?

  • Trinity Laban, King Charles Court, Royal Naval College, Greenwich

    Mar 28th 2017
  • Trinity Laban on How do composers get their ideas? A talk for the Music Department, invited by Dominic Murcott and Pete Nagle

Instant Orchestra

  • Regent Cinema, Regent Street, London

    Feb 17th 2017
  • Participant in the Instant orchestra, directed by Max Reinhardt (BBCR3 presenter of Late Junction), improvising to the new cut of Eisenstein’s Battleship Potempkin, as part of the Russian revolution film series devised by Dash Arts/Kino Klassica Foundation.  

Morocco Performances

  • Culture Vultures, Sefrou, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

    Jan/ Feb 2017
  • Performances as part of an invited residency –

    • January 17th 2017 – live improvised duet with Andulusian violinist Salim at ALIF, music club at Fez university
    • January 19 – poetry /story-telling and violin improv with poet, Lynne Shapiro, Café Clock, Fez
    • January 22 – Improvisations with Arabic violinist at Sefrou music academy
    • January 25 – live improv (violin) on top of dune Erg Chebbi, Sahara desert image [image/ vid link]
    • February 10 – Live public improv duet (violin) at the Sefrou story telling promenade performance evening with Casablanca Cabaret Orchestra violinist Lascen



  • 100 Years Gallery, 13 Pearson St, London

    Dec 7th 2016
  • Solo improvisation, Grain, for Graham Dunning’s performance event on behalf of Mary Ward Centre Sound Art group.

Potting Shed

  • King & Queen pub, Fitzrovia, London

    Dec 2nd 2016
  • Live solo on acoustic violin at an improvisation evening for Potting Shed (aka Iris Garrelfs and Jude Cowan Montagu).

Black Rice Improv Trio

  • Iklectik Arts Lab performance space, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, Waterloo, London

    Sept 27th 2016
  • The Horse Improvised Music Club

    Black Rice: Peter Nagle [cello] Tansy Spinks [violin] & Rahel Kraft [voice/electronics]. The event also featured The Jerico Orchestra with Rita Jones Adrian Northover[saxes] & Neil Metcalfe [flute].

APT LIVE | The Echo of Henry’s Ballad

  • Art in Perpetuity Trust, 6 Creekside, Deptford, London

    Sept 24th 2016
  • Live solo performance commissioned by Chris Marshall, Nicola Rae and Liz Harrison for the APT Exhibition, A  Threshold and open studios, as part of Art Licks weekend. 5pm, solo site specific performance, Echoes of Henry’s Ballad ,using objects scavenged from the banks of the Thames and looped violin.

Homage To Bruce Naumann’s Playing One Note

  • The Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Art

    July 29th, 2016
  • Solo performance (electric violin) walking on the structure whilst interpreting Bruce Nauman’s Walking round the studio playing one note on the violin of 1967, exploring the ‘beat’ of ‘one’ note – as part of the exhibition Pentagon Petal by Fran Cottell and Marianne Mueller.

Full of Noises

  • V22 Summer camp festival, Forest Hill

    July 28th, 2016
  • Sound performance with Iris Garrelfs as The Laboratory of Sonic Possibility, (improvisation with bowed, anglepoise lamps), curated by Helen Frosi of SoundFjord.

Improvisation for Microphone and Beach

  • Whitstable Biennale Satellite Event

    June 4th 2016
  • Improvisation for Microphone and Beach as The Lab of Sonic Possibility, with Iris Garrelfs, exploring locations through listening and sound making as part of Sonic Coast: Sounding Shore, curated by Marcus Leadley, David Rogers and Mandy Rathbone, supported by Goldsmiths.

    Experienced on a live radio channel, broadcast through headphones to the audience on the beach. Recording released on Bandcamp.

In The Mind’s Ear

  • Imaginary Text scores for Peckham - M2Gallery

    March 13th - May8th 2016
  • Imaginary Text Scores for Peckham is a small exhibition of sound-related texts that evolved after listening walks were undertaken in the environs of the M2Gallery.

Tansy Spinks