Larkhall

Award: Do it Differently Fund

Year: 2021

Genre: Classical

Instrument/voice type: Composer

Location: South West

Website: larkhall.org

Larkhall is a composer and new media artist who pairs original music with technology and visual art. As a creative coder, he designs algorithms that react in real-time to live music, creating vivid imagery unique to every performance. 

Put another way, the art listens, and then paints itself. 

Combined with Larkhall's iconic post-classical style, the resulting experience compares more closely to cinema than a recital. His 2014 album and tour debut was met with acclaim, with critics deeming his work "wildly successful," "exceptional", and "very powerful".  His album The Sea Was Never Blue (2019) debuted at #2 on the iTunes Classical chart, with grant support from Arts Council England. 

Also known by his given name Charlie Williams, Larkhall connected technology and music at an early age, composing with both a synth and a piano for his high school theatre productions. 

With music tastes that didn’t align with what he saw then as the gritty, over-serious aesthetic of contemporary music, he would leave music school to develop his craft in groups like synth-pop group Le Concorde, chamber-pop octet Canasta, garage-pop trio Please Please Wait, and indie band Mira Mira.

Seeking greater expressive control over the technical side of his work, Williams taught himself how to code, enabling a concurrent career as a software developer in the meteoric tech industry. His work there includes developing music-recognition app Shazam; Williams’ own app, Cuddlr, enjoyed international press coverage and over a quarter-million downloads.

As his technological innovation progressed, so too did the caliber of his musical opportunities. He collaborated with artists like the Grammy-winning new music ensemble eighth blackbird, and amassed honours that include a prize for new music at the Shostakovich International Piano Competition.

Eventually, his experiments with technology and music led him to his now signature style: entwining reactive digital art with acoustic piano. As a result, the UK-based composer has enjoyed recognition across artistic disciplines. 

In the orchestral and contemporary fields, he was selected for the Britten-Pears New Music/New Media Programme. He created his solo multimedia work "e to one million places" during the residency, which has since been performed at King’s Place Hall One (London) and TEDxAldeburgh.

Outside music, Larkhall’s innovations in live generative visual art have drawn similar attention from other cultural institutions. Recent residencies include at both the Cardiff School of Art & Design and The Studio at Palace Yard Mews, Bath Spa University. Previously, his algorithmic video installations have screened at The Shanghai Expo, Museum of Rome, and the Arteles Centre (Finland); for the latter, he was awarded the Ritari Hyvämielksi, a Finnish ‘cultural knighthood.' 

Williams lives with his partner and family in the bucolic Georgian city of Bath (UK). Beyond performing, he has enjoyed sharing his experiences through creative coding workshops, talks, and lectures.
 
Help Musicians' support will be put towards recording new compositions at Real World Studios, plus a release campaign including radio, social media and press outreach.
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