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Newnham College, University of Cambridge

Els Curry web

Els Curry is a student at the University of Cambridge, interested in the sociological and anthropological ramifications, systems, and meanings of sound and music. She is currently writing a book on the British Antarctic Survey’s commissioning of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Symphony No. 8 ‘Antarctic Symphony’. This book will examine how and why the British Antarctic Survey commissioned a large-scale orchestral work around the turn of the millennium through detailed archival research into the external and internal pressures of the institution as well as the journey of the commission itself - with reference to contemporary commissioning practices - in order to establish the lessons that we can learn from this odd example of Antarctic art.

Outside of specifically-polar interests, she focuses particularly on the mechanics of the production of music (such as scores, sketches or the act of commissioning itself) and correlated sound art/perspectives with an emphasis on archival material, sketches, and oral histories – though remains interested in music and cultural storytelling at large. She primarily works on late 20th century and 21st century composition and sound (especially the unfinished and unpublished works of Oliver Knussen), as well as the literal and metaphorical soundscapes of global surveillance experienced by those on Five Eyes watchlists.

Research interests:

  • Antarctica’s Music and Material Cultures
  • Music & Musicking
  • Artistic Geopolitics
  • The Sociologies and Anthropologies of Music
  • Ecologically-focused Socio-Cultural Analyses
  • Disability and the Antarctic

To get in touch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Keywords: History, Music, Polar Arts and Humanities, Composition, Antarctic Art, Musical Ecologies, The Intersectionality of Science and Art, Disability