David Ibbett is a British composer based in Boston, USA. He has found musical inspiration in many places – songs, symphonies, pop, classical and the electronic – and bringing these strands together is his ultimate aim. The son of a scientist, he co-directs the Music of Reality performance series with pianist Sophia Vastek.
David composes works for instruments and ensemble, often featuring live electronics. He is an active electronics performer, working with Original Gravity, Aeolian Progression, and the Equilibrium Ensemble.
In 2004, David won a scholarship to attend Clare College Cambridge, studying composition with Giles Swayne and Robin Holloway. He then went on to undertake a Masters and Artist Fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Julian Anderson, living in London for several years. In 2015, he completed a doctorate at the University of Birmingham (UK) with Jonty Harrison and Scott Wilson. He frequently travels between the US and the UK. Over the course of these journeys, David has written works spanning many forms: from traditional ensembles to inter-arts collaborations, installations, digital releases and works with live electronics.
For chamber groups, compositions include Without Words for the Living Room in London Ensemble [2010, LSO St Luke’s, toured around Europe, recorded for their debut album]:
“[Without Words], really appealed to us and we have taken it into our repertoire. It is the only commission on our CD and we love it. It has really pushed us technically, and opened doors to new ideas and compositions.” – Living Room in London Ensemble
Albion Trails for the BBC Symphony Octet [2009, for Barbican Total Immersion, broadcast on BBC Radio 3]:
“Conductor Richard Baker provided confident and precise direction from the podium. I enjoyed listening to all three works, but particularly appreciated David Ibbett’s Albion Trails.”
– Rosalind Porter for BBC Radio 3 Blog
His work Lodestar for sinfonietta has won the Horsbrugh Memorial Prize and was premiered at the City of London Festival in 2009.
Collaborations frequently take David’s music outside of traditional forms of the concert hall. He has composed scores for many plays including Finding the Sun, The Iliad, The Wasteland and Macbeth at the Cambridge ADC. David has several long running partnerships with contemporary dance choreographers, notably Jacob Hobbs and Letizia Mazzeo. This has led to his works being performed at The Place Resolutions! [Dahlia – 2011, Project 51 – 2012, 27 Dragonflies - 2013], the Laban Dance Theatre [Miksang – 2011], and the Circuit Soup Screen Dance Festival [Highwalking – 2010]. He has worked with filmmakers [In the Garden – 2009, Insomnia – 2010], architects [The King and the Minotaur installation – 2011], and live-game designers [Baba Yaga installation – 2011].
David’s music increasingly reflects a passion for working with electronics, both as a voice and a tool in composition. This fascination began in 2008, when he undertook a residency at the Aldeburgh Music Festival, studying with Jonathan Harvey, composing Cellosamper for Olly Coates. The work was later selected for performance at the Faster Than Sound Festival at Bentwaters Airbase. From this moment, electronics have been the key to unifying the diverse influences that permeate David’s work – allowing sounds to be shaped, juxtaposed and transformed with seamless precision. His Ph.D. research focuses on sampling as a tool for bridging the difficult gap between live, breathing musicians and the oscillating speaker cone of the loudspeaker. He addresses these challenges through unique Max and Max for Live patches, often contributing to other composers’ works – including the Ph.Ds of Enrico Bertelli and Zezo Olympio at York University.
David’s electroacoustic compositions aim to combine the depth and expression of a live performer with the power, control and rhythmic energy of electronic music. Projects are often collaborative as, to truly explore the sound of an instrument, who better a guide than the instrumentalist? A frequent collaborator is cellist Gregor Riddell, the pair working together on Impulse Imagined [2010, premiered at Kings Place alongside Todd Machover]:
“The textures and timbres provided by the DSP contributed meaningfully to the compositions’ narrative arc and lent extra emotional tension and complexity to the pieces.” – Chamber Music Today
and Islands, concerto for amplified ‘cello and electronics [2014, premiered at Birmingham’s Elgar Concert Hall with BEAST - the Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre - US premiere at the Electronic Music Midwest Festival with Craig Hultgren]. In 2012, David released For Now, an album of electroacoustic songs-without-words through iTunes and www.davidibbett.com, collaborating with many London based instrumentalists.
Since arriving in Boston, David has composed works for local ensembles Transient Canvas - Branches , pianist Sophia Vastek - Beauty From Nothing , and the Boston Percussion Group Here and Nowhere Else .
David’s music has been performed at the Aldeburgh Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Barbican Total Immersion, Noisegate Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, UK National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Coventry University recital series, Nonclassical, Banff Centre Encounters series, Voiceworks at Wigmore Hall, BEASTiary concert series, iFimPaC (Leeds College of Music), Bristol Victoria Rooms, London Institute of Contemporary Art concert series, Spitalfields Festival, Hendon Festival, Logos Foundation, Boston’s The Record Company, NYCEMF Festival, EMM Festival, International Horn Society Conference, Klangspuren Festival Austria, Red Sonic Festival, Vortex Jazz Club recital series, The Village Underground concert series, Original Gravity Concert series, Music of Reality, Seven Bridges Project, Leeds University Music Festival, City of London Festival, Bath Festival, Mapmaking at LSO St Luke's, Faster Than Sound concert series