Heather Stephenson

Solo and Duo

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Anthem for Two

2019
21 minutes

two percussionists:
1: stopwatch, shakers, wood, friction sounds
2: stopwatch, wind sounds, friction sounds, wood, cyclone shaker

Written for the arx duo (Garrett Arney and Mari Yoshinaga).

Premiered in April and May 2019, as part of Dominic Murcott’s Harmonic Canon UK tour:
Royal Albert Hall Gallery (8 May)
MK Gallery (27 April)
Stoller Hall (3 May)
National Centre for Early Music (30 April)
Tinners Moon Festival (6 May)
Great Bedwyn Church (5 May)

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Fragments of a Flame

2017
5 minutes

two marimbas (5 octave)

Written for the arx duo (Garrett Arney and Mari Yoshinaga).
In 7 short movements.

Fragments of Flame was inspired by the movement of a candle flickering in the wind. A film was taken of the candle and the flame’s movements were plotted on a motion graph, using the software Logger Pro. The data points from this motion graph were then transcribed into musical material.


Performance and sound Art

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Balloon

2018

performer and balloon

 

Premiered at The Albany on 13 June 2018.

Sculpture created in collaboration with David Stephenson.

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Head Piece

2018

For group, duo or solo performer

Premiered at The Albany on 13 June 2018.

This piece should only be performed in the head of the listener. The piece should begin with the listener standing. When the listener has completed the piece, they should clap once and sit down. The piece finishes when all participants have sat down.

The listener may perform this: 1) in a group, 2) with a loved one, 3) alone

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K1, P1

2017

Installation

Written in memory of Margaret Low and Reene Stephenson.

Premiered in December 2017 at King Charles Court, as part of Rude Health Festival.


Loop

2016-17
20+ minutes

Installation

Premiered at Blackheath Halls as part of the Parallax festival in December 2017.

This is an installation work and should take place in a public setting, like a café or a pub, and be performed over an extended period of time (minimum 20 minutes). No one should be notified about the piece beforehand.

The aim of this piece is to highlight the patterns we all follow – but are unaware of – when we go about our daily lives. Each performer has a designated ‘action,’ which is triggered by how the public behave.

Instructions

Before the piece takes place, performers must decide on a duration for the work. Performers must also come up with a list of ‘triggers’ and ‘actions',’ ahead of the performance. For example:

  • When someone enters or leaves the room, a performer sneezes

  • When someone looks at their phone, a performer snaps their finger

Triggers and actions can – and should – be changed for each performance.

All actions vary in dynamics and subtlety. Performers can vary the dynamics of their action throughout the performance.

Performers must not – under any circumstances – talk about the performance, even if they are asked.

Once the designated time for the performance has been reached, the performers must – one by one – calmly leave the room, acting as if nothing has happened.

Copyright © 2016 Heather Stephenson


[…]

2017

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Distraction

2016

For performer and audience

Before the piece, the performer must give out their mobile number to the audience.

Audience members are free to phone or text the performer throughout the piece.

The piece begins when the performer starts to read the passage below. Every time they receive a phone call or a text, they must stop what they are doing and answer their phone with the response, ‘Sorry, I can’t talk right now.’

The performer must then continue reading, starting from the beginning each time.

The performance finishes when audience members stop contacting the performer and the full text has been read out.

Text

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the last minute before the deadline. 

Procrastination can take hold on any aspect of life – for example, putting off cleaning the stove, repairing a leaky roof, seeing a doctor or a dentist, submitting a job report or academic assignment or broaching a stressful issue with a partner.

Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt.

Copyright © 2016 Heather Stephenson


For Morton Feldman

2016

For speaker and audience

This piece explores how our ears slowly adapt to our surroundings. 

The performance should take place in a quiet room, where audience members are free to move as close or as far away from the speaker as much as they please. The speaker should be placed in the middle of the room.

Instructions

Pick an audio recording – any audio recording – of long duration.

Play the recording at a low volume, so that it is difficult to hear.

Gradually, over time, audience members should begin to hear the content of the recording.

Once audience members can hear the recording easily, the volume should be lowered fractionally.

Repeat until silent.

Copyright © 2016 Heather Stephenson


Orchestral

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High-Low-High

2018
unspecified duration

large ensemble

Premiered by the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra on 13 June 2018.

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After me comes the flood

2017
5 minutes

Symphony Orchestra:
3 flutes, 3 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 6 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, 4 percussionists, 2 harps, piano, strings

Premiered by the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra on 26 October 2017. Conducted by Douglas Boyd.

Read the Loitering in the Theatre review>>


Arrangement and Orchestration

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Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing
(Stevie Wonder)

2019
5 minutes

voice, flute, tenor saxophone (+sop), trumpet, piano, drums, 2 percussionists, strings

Premiered at Blackheath Halls on 1 July 2019, as part of Trinity Laban’s Chris Cane Farewell Celebrations. Conducted by Nic Pendlebury and sung by Kate Mullins (Puppini Sisters).


Mambo from West Side Story
(Leonard Bernstein)

2019
3 minutes

flute, tenor saxophone (+sop), trumpet, piano, drum kit, 2 percussionists, strings

Premiered at Blackheath Halls on 1 July 2019, as part of Trinity Laban’s Chris Cane Farewell Celebrations. Conducted by Nic Pendlebury.


By the Sleepy Lagoon
(Eric Coats)

2019
1.30 minutes

flute, tenor saxophone (+sop), trumpet, piano, drum kit, percussion, strings

Premiered at Blackheath Halls on 1 July 2019, as part of Trinity Laban’s Chris Cane Farewell Celebrations. Conducted by Nic Pendlebury.


Trinity Laban’s A Day in the Life music quiz

2018

tenor saxophone, 2 trumpets, trombone, electric guitar, piano, electric bass, drum kit, operatic soprano, 4 musical theatre voices (SSAB), string quartet

Premiered at Laban Theatre on 21 September 2018. As part of Trinity Laban’s music quiz, A Day in the Life. Conducted by Nic Pendlebury.

Arrangements included:

Theme tune and hold music (composed)
Love Train
Rite of Spring
Argentinian National Anthem
Watermelon Man
Seven Nation Army
All That Jazz (Chicago)
Barcelona (Queen)
Britten’s Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Defying Gravity (Wicked)
Quien Sera
Che Gelida manina (La Boheme)
Gigue (Pachelbel's Canon and Gigue in D)
Danny Boy
X Gon' Give It To Ya
Swan Lake
Spanish National Anthem
New World Symphony
Age of Aquarius (Hair)
La Cumparsita


Round Midnight Revisited
(Theloneous Monk)

2017
7 minutes

voice, 2 trumpets, alto saxophone, 2 tenor saxophones, piano, guitar, bass, 2 drum kits

Premiered at the Laban Theatre on 23 June 2017. Directed by Mark Lockheart.


Electronic

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Tree

2016
2 minutes

8 synthesisers

Tree was inspired by the movement of a tree in the wind. A film was taken of the tree and its movements were plotted on a motion graph, using the software Logger Pro. The data points from this motion graph were then transcribed into musical material.



Educational

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Pirate’s Treasure

2017
2 minutes

solo violin (grade 2), string orchestra or piano

Performed by Ofer Falk and the Trinity Laban String Ensemble.


Punch

2016
2 minutes

saxophone choir (sopranino, 2 sopranos, 3 altos, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, bass)

Premiered by the Trinity Laban Saxophone Choir at Blackheath Halls on 4 November 2016.

This was was written in collaboration with GCSE students from Deptford Green secondary school. After teaching them about minimalism – specifically the music of Steve Reich and Terry Reily – I worked with students to help them compose their own melodies. I then used these melodies as the basis for Punch, showing the students how their melodies could be structured in the minimalist style.