componist

Knighton, Simon

Simon Knighton was born on November 10th, 1984 in Sheffield, UK. He is a composer and producer who creates live and recorded music for concert performance and various multimedia projects.
Education: Simon began playing guitar aged 9. He spent his teenage years writing songs, playing in bands and learning to record music with an old 4 track cassette recorder. After completing an undergraduate degree in 'Creative Music and Sound Technology' (at Leeds Beckett University), he set up a recording studio in Liverpool, from which he worked for 6 years. The studio functioned primarily as a space for bands to rehearse and record, but during this time he received requests to write for various local theatre and dance companies: this is how his love of 'composition' was born. After seeing 'The Rite of Spring' for the first time in 2013, he chose to focus on developing his composition skills and undertook three years of self-directed study into classical composition before going to Amsterdam Conservatoire (2016-2018) to study for a Masters degree under Willem Jeths and Joël Bons. In September 2019 he will begin a PhD at the Royal Northern College of Music. His research (entitled 'The Aesthetics of Juxtaposition and Fusion: Maximising Coherence between Acoustic and Electronic Sound Sources in Contemporary Concert Music') aims to combine his previous experiences in music technology and composition into a single, unified discipline.
Career: In 2007, Simon moved to Liverpool where (as part of a team) he renovated a derelict building, transforming it into a community friendly café, music venue and artistic hub. Art and dance studio spaces were housed within the building. Simon built, managed and worked from a music studio as part of this project which led to many composition and production collaborations with a large range of multidisciplinary artists from the local arts and theatre scene. He also worked as the in-house live sound engineer whenever gigs and concerts were held. The venture became a central part of the local community for a number of years.
Notable works during this time include 'Sound Battle (2014)' and 'Hex Division' (2015) for Marching Band and Electronics. In 2014, as part of a collective of artists and musicians, Simon was commissioned by Liverpool City Council to create an audio/visual street performance to commemorate the centenary of WWI. Following the success of this, they were re-commissioned for 2015's 'Light Night' festival. for which they created an experimental marching band playing out a confrontation between nature and technology, incorporating live choreographed musicians, electronics and sound to light technology. The piece went on to tour around multiple UK festivals and venues.
In 2015, Simon was commissioned by 'Tilt' dance company to produce an electronic soundtrack for the contemporary dance troupe 'EnCompass Collective'. This was premiered at 'Manifold' (an annual dance event) at the Kazimier Liverpool on 1st December 2015 with a repeat performance at Much Wenlock Festival, 13th June 2016.
His most recent work of this nature is a soundtrack commissioned by artist and regular collaborator Frances Heap. This short film was exhibited at the Tate Liverpool, 20–24 March 2019 and Artlink Hull, 29 March – Friday 21st June 2019 as part of the 'Conversations Series 2' art exhibition
Compositions: Capable across multiple disciplines, Simon has composed concert music for (amongst others) 'Nieuw Ensemble', 'Ricciotti Ensemble', the CvA Symphony Orchestra and 'Score Collective'. Through his varied experiences of electronic music, collaboration and concert writing he has developed a versatile, broad-minded and flexible composing method. Proper planning and the ability to adapt, to invent idiosyncratic methods for each new and challenging project are the key to this. A vital element of his aesthetic is found in merging methods and sounds particular to traditional music composition with elements particular to electronic music production. His style aims to blend and twist the relationship of acoustic and electronic characteristics to create music with unique personality; to take elements from various styles, genres and disciplines and present them in new and fresh ways.
In 2017, Simon composed his first piece for professional contemporary music ensemble in the form of 'Barcodes'. Written for Amsterdam's 'Nieuw Ensemble', the piece also utilized electronics and an animated graphic score by old friend and regular collaborator Laura Spark. This was performed at Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam on the 30th March, 2017 and again at Korzo, Den Haag on the 13th April, 2017. In response to the composition brief ('finding ways to connect with an audience in different ways than the usual; searching for a new way to package ideas and deliver them'), the purpose of this score (projected behind the ensemble) was to heighten the experience of the music for the audience rather than to be something that the musicians could play from. Based on the belief that reading a score whilst listening to a piece of music can greatly improve the enjoyability and comprehension of the work (thus rendering people who don't read music at something of a disadvantage), this piece aimed to creatively address this idea.
In 2018, Simon produced a concert entitled 'Quartets', which presented three intertwined quartets: Saxophone, Percussion and Electronic (4 surround sound speakers). This took place on the 12th May 2018 in the Blue Note (in the Conservatorium van Amsterdam). The percussion quartet from this concert has since received a second performance at the 'Tromp' percussion festival at the Musikgebouw, Eindhoven (November 2018). The electronic quartet has been used as a film soundtrack by the Russian artist Anna Levin for her video piece 'Binding Ties' and was presented as part of Liverpool's 'Light Night' 2018 in the music venue 'Constellations'.
2018 also saw the premiere of 'The Acrobat and the Tightrope', a concert piece for the 20 piece contemporary music ensemble 'Score Collective'. This piece was presented as part of the Amsterdam Composers Festival.
Simon is currently working on a commission for the Dutch National Youth Fanfare Orchestra.
Awards: In 2015 he was part of the creative team to win the Gi20 jury prize for an experimental street theatre commission for marching band and electronics.
In 2018 he was selected as a finalist in the 2018 Kaleidoscope Orchestra Composers Competition, chosen from over 2200 entries from 76 countries.