Open… and perhaps not yet fully formed


A rare London visit from Laura Steenberge (composer, performer and researcher based in LA) and Michael Winter (composer, musicologist and founder of LA’s seminal experimental music venue the wulf.). Steenberge will be performing selections from her recent work entitled The Chant Etudes, which are studies of the deep past when the idea of a musical instrument was not yet fully formed. Then the ensemble will be realising works by Winter, alongside other music that embraces simple processes and open forms.

Mira Benjamin (violin)
Angharad Davies (violin)
Dominic Lash (double bass)
John Lely (objects and electronics)
Anton Lukoszevieze (cello and objects)
Tim Parkinson (objects)
Laura Steenberge (objects and voice)
Michael Winter (guitalele, objects, and electronics)

Part I
7.30pm Friday 7 October 2016 @ IKLECTIK

Laura Steenberge – The Chant Etudes
Michael Winter – for Sol LeWitt
John Lely – All About the Piano
Tim Parkinson – No. 3, No. 4, No. 5
Michael Winter – room and seams
Jürg Frey – Circular Music No. 6

Tickets £7/£5

Old Paradise Yard
20 Carlisle Lane (Royal Street corner) next to Archbishop’s Park
London SE1 7LG

Part II
Sunday 9 October 2016 @ Hundred Years Gallery

door 3.30pm, music 4pm

Laura Steenberge – The Chant Etudes
Michael Winter – tergiversate
John Lely – The Harmonics of Real Strings
Michael Winter – for Sol LeWitt
Michael Winter – necklaces
Christian Wolff – Another

Tickets £5

13 Pearson Street
London E2 8JD


curated by John Lely and Michael Winter

Canada in June

Mira Benjamin, photo © Anton Lukoszevieze 2016

Tuesday 21 June 2016
7.30pm Concert
to include Second Symphony (2006), performed by John Lely, Mira Benjamin, Scott Mc Laughlin and Blue Moss Ensemble
ArtSpring Centre, Salt Spring Island, Canada

Wednesday 22 June 2016
8.00pm Concert
to include Part Music for Violin (2016), performed by Mira Benjamin
A Place to Listen, James Bay Church, Victoria, Canada

Friday 24 June 2016
7.30pm Concert
to include Part Music for Violin (2016), performed by Mira Benjamin
David Pay’s studio, 3804 West 30th Avenue, Vancouver, Canada

Saturday 25 June 2016
6.00pm John Lely Pre-concert talk
7.30pm Concert
to include The Harmonics of Real Strings (2006) and Second Symphony (2006), performed by Mira Benjamin, John Lely & friends
Open Space Gallery, Victoria, Canada

Music We’d Like to Hear 2016


Three concerts on three fridays curated by three composers


7.30pm Friday 1 July


The Music We’d Like To Play Band

Mark Knoop (conductor & piano), Aisha Orazbayeva (violin), Anton Lukoszevieze (cello), Ilze Ikse (flute), Kerry Yong (piano), Elsa Bradley & Adam Morris (percussion) and Newton Armstrong (electronics)

Music by: Newton Armstrong**, Carola Bauckholt*, Bunita Marcus and Linda Catlin Smith*

Shape, Colour, Memory, Architecture. Mark Knoop returns with a large ensemble to present a MWLTH commission by UK-based Australian composer Newton Armstrong, amongst rarely performed works by Bunita Marcus, Linda Catlin Smith and Carola Bauckholt.

£10 advance, £12 on the door
advance tickets available here



7.30pm Friday 8 July


John McAlpine (piano)

Music by: Tom Johnson* and Chris Newman**

A rare visit from Cologne by the phenomenal New Zealand pianist John McApline, a leading exponent of the music of two other exports – an American in Paris and an Englishman in Berlin.

£10 advance, £12 on the door
advance tickets available here


7.30pm Friday 15 July


Dafne Vicente-Sandoval (bassoon), Angharad Davies (violin) and Dominic Lash (double bass)

Music by: Jakob Ullmann* and Eliane Radigue*

Independent thinkers from France and East Germany, Radigue and Ullmann have pursued the interior of sound with focus and intensity. These intimate solo works will be realised by musicians who have formed close working relationships with both composers.

£10 advance, £12 on the door
advance tickets available here

** World Premiere, * UK Premiere

The 2016 edition of Music We’d Like to Hear is supported by Jeff Cloke, the RVW Trust, the Hinrichsen Foundation and an anonymous donor.

All concerts at St Mary at Hill, Lovat Lane (off Eastcheap), London EC3R 8EE (2-minute walk from Monument tube).
twitter: @mwlth



An extended improvisation and works by Sarah Hughes, John Lely and Jürg Frey

Angharad Davies – violin
Rhodri Davies – electric harp, melodica
Michael Duch – double bass
Lina Lapelyte – violin, voice
John Lely – objects, electronics, melodica
John Tilbury – piano

1 – Sarah Hughes ‘A Reward is given for the Best Inframammary Fold No.4’ (2015) 13:09 youtube extract
2 – John Lely ‘First Page for Five’ (2015) 17:59
3 – Goldsmiths Improvisation, 31.08.15 19:43 youtube extract
4 – Jürg Frey ‘Circular Music No.6’ (2015) 7:00

Recorded at Goldsmiths College, 31st August 2015

available from another timbre



First full day working with Tom Richards’ Mini-Oramics machine, a device for drawing sound, based on the work of Daphne Oram. Here is a link to Tom’s videos of construction and early trials.

mini-Oramics with oscilloscope

mini-Oramics waveshape

mini-Oramics transport

mini-Oramics roll

Launch of the Red Bird is 10

In the summer of 2005 I made an electronic album called Launch of the Red Bird.

I made 75 CDs and gave them to friends.

To celebrate its 10-year anniversary I’m making the whole album available online.

You can listen to it here, or buy it here.

Part Music for Violin


Mira Benjamin will be performing my new piece, ‘Part Music for Violin’, at a concert on 17 October in London.

Exposure 2015

7:30 pm Saturday 17 October 2015

Exaudi Vocal Ensemble (dir. James Weeks)

New works for voices by Jeffrey Gavett, Luke Nickel, Pia Palme, Michael Perrett, Alastair Putt & Charlie Usher

Mira Benjamin, violin

New violin solos by John Lely, Cassandra Miller & Amber Priestley

The Warehouse, 13 Theed Street, Waterloo, London


facebook event

‘Part Music for Violin’ was commissioned by Mira Benjamin with the support of the Britten-Pears Foundation.

840 New Music for String Quartet


7.30pm Saturday 6 June 2015

840 New Music for String Quartet, The Pound in Corsham, Wilstshire

The concert features The Manon Quartet presenting new pieces by Louis d’Heudieres, Matthew Lee Knowles, Neil Luck, Alex Nikiporenko, Nicholas Peters and Tristan Rhys Williams, as well as Doubles (2012) by John Lely.

Music We’d Like to Hear 2015

Music We'd Like to Hear 2015

Our 11th season is coming up in July.

CONCERT I: NEW ROMANTICS – Heavyweight piano trios from 1980s Cologne
7.30pm Friday 3 July 2015

Clarence Barlow – 1981
Walter Zimmermann – Ephemer
Mauricio Kagel – Piano Trio No.1 in Three Movements

Aisha Orazbayeva, violin
Alice Purton, cello
Mark Knoop, piano

7.30pm Friday 10 July 2015

New works from British composers Sarah Hughes, Dominic Lash, Amber Priestley, and Paul Whitty,
alongside contributions from Stephen Chase and Joanna Bailie, featuring the composers performing each others’ work.

7.30pm Friday 17 July 2015

Points and Waltzes (2012)
Slip Minuet (2014)
The Spit Veleta (2015)

A pair of recent solos and a brand new duo from this fascinating Canadian composer, realised by two of his finest interpreters.

Mira Benjamin, violin
Philip Thomas, piano

each concert £8 advance, £10 on the door

LCO Soloists @ Union Chapel


3pm Sunday 31 MAY 2015

Union Chapel, London

Laurence Crane – Holt Quartet
Iannis Xenakis – Tetora
Mica Levi – Saw
Alfred Schnittke – A Paganini
John Lely – The Harmonics of Real Strings
David Stephen Grant – Bånsull

Galya Bisengalieva (violin)
Mira Benjamin (violin)
Robert Ames (viola)
Gregor Riddell (cello)

John Tilbury and John Lely play bau bau, Céline Condorelli’s exhibition


John Tilbury & John Lely @ Hangar Bicocca

piano duet

Curated by Céline Condorelli and Pedro Rocha

To accompany Céline Condorelli’s current exhibition at Hangar Bicocca in Milan, Italy

Concert with objects, subjects, and other instruments.

“Drawing on the idea of functional art objects, Céline Condorelli has invited John Tilbury and John Lely to perform inside her exhibition and use the sculptures and installations as instruments with further, musical purposes. “bau bau” is transformed as both site and instrument for the performance, putting to use the polymorphic character of the works in the exhibition and several musical instruments and dialoguing with the architectural elements of HangarBicocca. This concert resonates with Condorelli’s transversal approach to art. Both the sculptures and the piano are played by the performers while, at the same time, the exhibition plays the performers and the audience, which will be guided in a sonic promenade through the space. John Tilbury has previously collaborated with Condorelli, and played Structure for Preparing the Piano, or while sitting on Spatial Composition 11 (to John Tilbury), which is dedicated to him in the first place. Central to both Condorelli’s and Tilbury’s practices is a commitment to forms of collective invention, and how shared responsibility and the politics of friendship are found to structure the very processes of working together. Condorelli’s series of sculptures “Additionals” and “Intentionals” arises under this investigation. Two of them were made for and dedicated to Tilbury who, in turn, uses the furniture-like pieces for musical performances. John Lely brings forward a research tied to the relation between sound and silence, around proportion, process, perception and listening.”

Free admission on a first-come, first-served basis
The exhibition space will be open from 7pm

Drawing Towards Sound

drawing towards sound

4 March – 4 April 2015

Private View: 3 March, 6pm

The Stephen Lawrence Gallery & Project Space,
University of Greenwich,
10 Stockwell Street,
London SE10 8EY

“Drawing towards Sound:Visualising the Sonic is an exhibition curated by David Ryan. It examines the interface between the visual and the aural through notation, documentation, performance and video/moving image. Each of these aspects are currently being explored from many different perspectives by contemporary composers, musicians, visual artists, and film/videographers. Its basic starting point is the historical graphic score/”new” notational practices of the modernist avant-garde and how sound is captured and communicated. It will position these “classic” experimental notations – such as Cage and Boulez – with the output of contemporary composers and visual artists. Highlights will include a complete performance of Cornelius Cardew’s 1960s graphic score Treatise, a visit and workshop performance by American experimentalist composer Alvin Curran (b.1938), and a rare chance to see UK performer Anton Lukoszevieze’s drawings and films, as well as Icelandic sound artist Hallveig Agústsdóttir’s drawing performances. “

Concert: A Few Silence

in a continuous sequence lasting one hour

G. Douglas Barrett
A Few Silence (Holy Trinity, 25 February 2015, 19:15) (2008)

Jürg Frey
Wen 3 (1999/2000)

Stefan Thut
two (strings) and boxes (2012/13)

Antoine Beuger
Kiarostami Quintets (2004)

Mira Benjamin, Aleks Kolkowski, John Lely, Tim Parkinson, James Saunders

free / donations welcome

19:15 Wednesday 25 February 2015

venue: Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London

curated by John Lely

To complement the RCM Silence and Music colloquium, we present the work of four composers who share an appreciation of silence, duration and listening. These works will be placed on a ground of silence, in one continuous performance lasting one hour.

The Harmonics of Real Strings CD


John Lely: The Harmonics of Real Strings (2006/13)

played by Anton Lukoszevieze

four realisations, one on each string of the cello

1      IV   16:34
2      III   15:53
3      II    11:59   listen
4      I     10:57

Recorded by Simon Reynell, Norwich, 23 February 2014

available November 2014

You can read an interview about the piece here:

nu:nord in August

Community building project nu:nord 2014 begins today in Oslo, with concerts, workshops, talks, and a final exposé in London on 16 August.

Here is an article by Stine Sörlie about the collaborative process of my piece ‘During’:



Thursday 7 August 20:00, nyMusikk, Oslo, Norway

includes Tre Voci Cello Ensemble playing ‘During’ @ nu:nord


Thursday 14 August 20:00, Sagene Kulterverksted, Oslo, Norway

includes nu:nord contributors playing ‘Second Symphony’ @ nu:nord


Saturday 16 August 17:00, LimeWharf, London E2 9DJ

includes Tre Voci Cello Ensemble playing ‘During’ @ nu:nord


for more details see calendar

Music We’d Like to Hear 2014


In July 2014, Music We’d Like to Hear returns to celebrate its 10th season with three rich and diverse programmes of rarities, revivals and nine UK premieres. This season is co-produced by Sound and Music.

update: here is my recent post about Music We’d Like to Hear on Sound and Music’s Sampler blog

7.30pm Friday 4 July

Adam Morris, percussion
Tim Parkinson, piano

Composer Matteo Fargion, best known for his collaborative work in the world of contemporary dance with choreographer Jonathan Burrows, features in two of the programmes this year. His 1996 Float Weave, a muted yet insistent and energetic battle of instruments, is revived in this first concert. The interdisciplinary thread continues with UK premieres of music by Canadian composer and visual artist Chiyoko Szlavnics, and Korean born composer and performance artist Kunsu Shim, as well as Berlin-based Japanese composer Makiko Nishikaze. Also in the programme a world premiere of a rigorous and propulsive work by New York composer and software engineer Jonathan Marmor. Finally a classic work by veteran experimental composer Christian Wolff who turned 80 this year, his work For Morty, composed in 1989 as a tribute to his friend Morton Feldman.

curated by Tim Parkinson

more info

7.30pm Friday 11 July

Ligeti String Quartet

In the second programme, The Ligeti Quartet present an eclectic array of pieces, including the UK premiere of Lichtung by Carola Bauckholt, a composer much under-performed in this country. Building on the enthusiastic reponse last year to the fascinating music of Luiz Henrique Yudo, a Brazilian-Japanese composer now living in Amsterdam, the Ligeti Quartet will present a realisation of his Chinese Wall Paper. The thread of revivals continues with a now classic work from the last decade, Five Famous Adagios by Joanna Bailie; and two works dating from early on in their careers, by Matteo Fargion and the refined non-conformist Jo Kondo.

curated by Markus Trunk

more info

7.30pm Friday 18 July

Phantasm Viol Consort
MWLTH Ensemble

In this last programme the acclaimed viol consort Phantasm plays a selection of consort music by the British 17th century composer William Lawes – exquisite tapestries of sound, contrasted with recent music sharing a contemporary immersion in sound by Alvin Lucier, Antoine Beuger, Taylan Susam and Christian Wolff.

curated by John Lely

more info

All concerts at St Mary at Hill, Lovat Lane (off Eastcheap), London EC3R 8EE (2-minute walk from Monument tube).

Music We’d Like to Hear in Camden

A special autumn edition:

The Dedalus Ensemble (Montpellier, France):

Amélie Berson (flute)
Pierre-Stéphane Meugé (saxophone)
Deborah Walker (cello)
Thierry Madiot (trombone)
Stéphane Garin (percussion)
Didier Aschour (guitar)

Music We’d Like to Hear invites The Dedalus Ensemble from France, performing New British Experimental Music curated by John Lely, Tim Parkinson and Markus Trunk. In collaboration with British ensemble Apartment House who will perform the same programme with different instrumentation at the Sonorités Festival in Montpellier.

To include music by John Lely, Tim Parkinson, Michael Parsons, James Saunders and John White.

19:30 Tuesday 23 October 2012, The Forge, Camden, London

Tickets  £9 (£6) online, £10 (£7) door

Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation

Now Available:

Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (Continuum 2012) 488 pages, paperback

by John Lely and James Saunders

Verbal notation has emerged since the 1950s as a prominent medium in the field of experimental music, as well as in related areas of arts practice involving performance and object making. Works created with this type of notation are often referred to by their authors as event scores, prose scores, text scores or instruction scores.

Word Events features over 170 scores, many printed here for the first time, representing the works of more than 50 practitioners including George Brecht, John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Michael Pisaro, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Jennifer Walshe and La Monte Young.

The commentaries in the book explore the compositional strategies and performance practice of particular works, contextualised by key essays, including previously hard-to-find texts by Lawrence Halprin and Kenneth Maue, together with many new statements and interviews from composers, artists and performers. This unique and wide-ranging collection of scores and writings will be indispensable to musicians, artists, those involved with community arts, and anyone with an interest in exploring the rich potential of the written word.

Music We’d Like to Hear 2012

A new season of revelatory listening is just around the corner – join us if you can!

Here are the programme details:

4th July

Michael Parsons, Hilary Robinson, Mark Knoop, Philip Thomas, Catherine
Kontz, Kerry Yong, Claudia Molitor – piano

TOM JOHNSON Symmetries (1990)
KUNSU SHIM Zu•sammen (2011)
LAURENCE CRANE Piano Duets (1990-91)
and new arrangements for piano four hands by:

11th July

Edges Ensemble

PAT ALLISON Cha-Cha (anoga) (2011)
KUNSU SHIM Happy for no reason (2000)
JÜRG FREY Un champ de tendresse parsemé d’adieux (4) (2011)
TIM PARKINSON song for many (2011)
TAYLAN SUSAM for maaike schoorel (2009)
MICHAEL PISARO Fields have ears 4 (2009)

18th July

Michael Duch – double bass

HANNE DARBOVEN Opus 17a (1984)

Wednesdays at 19:30 at the Church of St Anne and St Agnes, Gresham
Street, London EC1V 7BX
Nearest tube: St Paul’s (take exit 1, stairs to the left)

Tickets on the door – £9 (concessions £6)