Prof Paul Whitty

Research Lead
Reader in Composition


Paul Whitty is Professor in Composition; Research Lead for the School of Arts; and a founder of the Sonic Art Research Unit at Oxford Brookes. He completed a Dphil in composition with Michael Finnissy at the University of Sussex. He also studied with Roger Marsh at York University, Magnus Lindberg and Colin Matthews at the Britten-Pears School, and Vinko Globokar at the Dartington International Summer School. His work has been performed by Apartment House, IXION, Ensemble Expose, London Sinfonietta, Tim Brady, Ensemble Cattrall, dB ensemble, Noszferatu, Jane Chapman, Michael Finnissy, Paul Goodey, [rout], Philip Howard, Kate Ryder and Mieko Kanno, and featured at audiograft, State Of The Nation, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Gaudeamus Music Week, ICA, Ultima Festival, Tate Britain, BMIC Cutting Edge Series and Tour, Brighton Festival and the Venice Biennale. His work has found its way into spaces and contexts not usually associated with experimental music including the Mecca State Bingo Hall in Kilburn, Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, the office of Beaconsfield art gallery in Vauxhall, the freezer compartment of a fridge in Romford, clubs in Hackney and Huddersfield and Vauxhall Cross Gyratory. Recently Paul has been engaged in a series of interventions in pre-existing contexts – re-reading, re-organising, re-categorising, re-distributing and re-sounding the materials that are found there. These contexts can be scores, actual physical sites or instruments.

He has received awards from ACE, AHRC, British Academy, Britten-Pears Foundation, British Council, Banff Centre for the Arts, Hinrichsen Foundation, Holst Foundation, RVW Trust and PRSF. Broadcasts of his work have been made by London Sinfonietta, IXION, [rout], Philip Howard, Jane Chapman, Ensemble Cattrall, Mark Knoop. Recordings include thirty-nine pages - a re-organisation of Cesar Franck's Sonata for violin and piano - performed by Darragh Morgan and Mary Dullea (Metier); and seven pages - an exploration of the internal soundworld of Gyorgy Ligeti's Continuum in collaboration with harpsichordist Jane Chapman (NMC).

His collaborative project Vauxhall Pleasure (2004-2009) with Anna Best consisted of a site event at Vauxhall Cross, London; an installation at the Museum of Garden History as part of their Tempered Ground exhibition; and two performances at Tate Britain. The latest phase of the project has been funded by the AHRC. In the introduction to the ACE publication Open Space: Art in the Public realm in London 1995-2005 Jemima Montagu comments:

Both socio-political protest and live art and music performance, this project captures the richly layered, interdisciplinary and ultimately uncategorisable nature of art in the public realm today.

Recent projects include The Swimmer – A True Story a film and installation developed with novelist Roma Teaner and exhibited at the 54th Venive Biennale (2011).

Undergraduate Teaching

  • U66031 Music Theatre Practice

Postgraduate Teaching

The following modules are all part of the postgraduate programmes in interdisciplinary arts practices:

  • P65904 Composition and Sonic Art
  • P65909 Major project in Composition and Sonic Art


Dr Paul Whitty is a practice-based researcher in the areas of acoustic, site-specific, collaborative and cross-disciplinary composition. He directs ensemble [rout] with composers Sam Hayden and Paul Newland and is co-director of the Sonic Art Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University. Forthcoming releases include thirty-nine pages - a re-organisation of Cesar Franck's Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major - performed by Darragh Morgan and Mary Dullea (Metier).

research interests

  • Interventions in pre-existing musical scores: the re-organisation and re-categorisation of found materials.
  • Sonic Archaeology: The examination of the past sonic behaviour and activity of particular sites.
  • Timbral experimentation: The close scrutiny and transformation of instrumental timbre through the application of contact mics and signal processors.


Research Dissemination

Recent performances & broadcasts

seven pages [2008] harpsichord - Jane Chapman

  • 06 Jul 2009 Concertzender; Netherlands
  • 25 May 2009 BBC Radio 3; In Tune
  • 26 Mar 2009 BBC Radio 3; Late Junction

you are sleeping [2008] three hand-cranked music boxes - Crank

  • 25 Nov 2008 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Vauxhall Pleasure [2008] film; performance; sound installation

  • 23 Jun 2009 Corsham Festival
  • 15 Jan 2008 Screening at The Voice and Nothing More; Slade School of Fine Art; UCL; London.
  • 15 Nov 2008 BMIC Cutting Edge; The Warehouse, London

Ricercare [2008] three turntables - Parkinson - Saunders Duo with John Lely

  • 09 May 2009 Westwek, Hamburg
  • 12 Dec 2008 Listen/Space, New York
  • 18 Sept 2008 Cafe Oto, London

Johann Sebastian Bach versus Gyorgy Ligeti [2008] harpsichord - Jane Chapman

  • 14 Apr 2008 Melkin Concert Hall, Kaufmann Centre, New York

i was bored before i even began [2007] amplified ensemble - [rout]

  • 19 Mar 2009 Dana Centre, Science Museum, London
  • 19 Nov 2007 Night of the Unexpected, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

...(six months is a long time)... [2007] electric guitar and live electronics - Tim Brady

  • 20 Oct 2007 OCM 

two hundred and fifty nine words [2007] amplified oboe and live electronics - Paul Goodey

  • 20 Aug 2007  Dartington International Summer School

...i tried living in the real world... [2007] two pianos - Mark Knoop and Roderick Chadwick

  • 06 Feb 2007 Rational Rec, Bethnal Green Working Men's Cub

multi-purpose [2005-2006] alto sax, electric violin, electric guitar, contact mics, signal processors - [rout]

  • 11 May 2007 King's Hall Concerts, Newcastle University
  • 24 Jan 2007 Wired Up Festival, Trinity College of Music
  • 28 Nov 2006 CCA, Glasgow
  • 19 Nov 2006 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
  • 15 Nov 2006 Dartington Arts
  • 06 Oct 2006 Leeds University
  • 08 Dec 2005 the warehouse, BMIC cutting edge series, London
  • 01 Dec 2005 Pavillion Theatre, Brighton

...a push - and it's over [2006] harpsichord & prepared piano - Jane Chapman & Kate Ryder

  • 26 Oct 2006 the warehouse, BMIC cutting edge series, London

thirty-nine pages [2006] violin & piano -

Darragh Morgan & Mary Dullea

  • 15 Nov 2006 RHUL
  • 05 Oct 2006 the warehouse, BMIC cutting edge series, London

Angharad Davies & Tim Parkinson

  • 14 Dec 2008 Listen/Space, New York

um [2005] harpsichord, contact mics, signal processors, film - Jane Chapman

  • 05 Mar 2006 SPNM, Cargo, London
  • 18 Nov 2006 OCM, Holywell Music Room, Oxford

the lure of salvage [2003] piano, Philip Howard

  • 14 May 2006 Tasten; Berliner Klaviertage
  • 13 November 2003  the warehouse, BMIC cutting edge series, London
  • 22 June 2004 Corsham Festival

de-coding skin [1995] piano, Philip Howard

  • 14 May 2006 Tasten; Berliner Klaviertage
  • 6 September 2003 Gaudeamus, Amsterdam
  • 14 October 2003 Ultima Festival, Oslo
‘…Whitty's de-coding skin, a fleeting firework of frenetic cellular permutation, opens the disc with Howard scattering brilliant shards of two-part invention all over the keyboard…’ [James Weeks, Tempo]

erase/rewind [2002-2003] guitar, saxophone, cello duo , Ensemble Cattrall

  • 3 April 2003 Gare du Nord,Basel
  • 4 April 2003 Helferei Grossmunster, Zurich
  • Schweizer Radio DRS 2 June 2003.

take it or leave it [2002] alto saxophone/violin/vibraphone/piano. Noszferatu

  • 19 September BMIC cutting edge series, London.
‘…full of understatement and wit.’ [Tom Service, The Guardian, September 2002]

Love [1999-2001] soprano, e-guitar, c-bass,sampler, m-disc, piano. - [rout]

  • 23 November 2000 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
  • 30 November 2000 BMIC cutting edge series, London
  • 19 May 2001 Brighton Festival
  • 22 May 2001Dartington Arts.
  • Featured on Hear and Now, BBC Radio3, June 2001.

.can’ [version 2001] for clarinet, violin, viola, ’cello, c-bass, crotales. - IXION

  • 26 April 2001 Djanogly Recital Hall, Nottingham.
  • 19 May 2001 Brighton Festival
  • Featured on Hear and Now, BBC Radio3, June 2001.

if/it/is/i/change/can/could/crowd [2001] for thirteen players. - London Sinfonietta

  • 22 April 2001 QEH.
  • Featured on Hear and Now, BBC Radio3, April 2001.

on/off 1[2000] e-guitar,c-bass, SWradio.  - [rout]

  • 23 November 2000 BMIC cutting edge series, London
  • 28 February 2001 Michael Tippett Centre,Bath
  • 8 March 2001 Djanogly Recital Hall,Nottingham
  • 19 May 2001 Brighton Festival
  • 14 November 2002 Axis Theatre,Alsager
  • 18 November 2004 Modern Art, Oxford
  • Featured on Hear and Now, BBC Radio3, June 2001.
Prof Paul Whitty


School of Arts

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP



Paul Whitty - Thirty Nine Pages

Paul Whitty

Published by: Metier


Wired: Works For Harpsichord And Electronics

harpsichord Jane Chapman

Published by: NMC


Rout One

harpsichord Jane Chapman

Published by: Divine Art


Decoding Skin

Philip Howard

Published by: Divine Art