Core Members

Benjamin Hackbarth is the director of the Centre for Music, Technology and Creativity, the artistic director of the Open Circuit Festival and the Head of Composition at the University of Liverpool where he writes music for instruments and electronic sound. Ben has been named composer in residence for musical research and composer in research at IRCAM three times since 2010. He was also a composer affiliated with the Center for Research and Computing in the Arts (CRCA) and a Sonic Arts Researcher at CalIT2. He has had residencies at Cité des Arts, Centre Internationale de Récollets, Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In addition to writing concert music, he has collaborated with other artists to create multimedia installations with realtime graphics, sound and motion tracking. Notable performances include those by the Arditti String Quartet, Ensemble InterContemporain, the New York New Music Ensemble, the L.A. Percussion Quartet, the Collage New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Ensemble SurPlus and the Wet Ink Ensemble. His work has been presented in venues such as Cité de la Musique, Akademie Schloss Solitude, the MATA festival, SIGGRAPH, the Florida Electro-acoustic Music Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Ingenuity Festival, E-Werk, the Pelt Gallery, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Roulette Concert Space and Espace de Projection at IRCAM. Ben's music can be heard on CD releases by the Carrier Records and EMF labels.,

Eduardo Coutinho works in the interdisciplinary fields of Music Psychology and Affective Computing, where his expertise is in the study of emotional expression, perception and induction through music, and the automatic recognition of emotion in music and speech. Before his appointment at Liverpool, he was a Research Fellow in Music Psychology at the University of Sheffield and the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, and a Research Associate in Affective Computing at the Technical University of Munich and Imperial College London. He has contributed significantly to a broader understanding of the emotional impact of music on listeners, namely on the link between music structure and emotion, the types of emotions induced by music, and individual and contextual factors that mediate the relationships between music and listeners. Coutinho pioneered research on the analysis of emotional dynamics in music, and made significant contributions to the field of music emotion recognition, setting the new standard approach for recognition of emotional dynamics in music. Currently his work focuses on the application of music in Healthcare. He has published significantly in peer-reviewed top journals and conferences in both Music Psychology and Affective Computing topics. In 2013, he received the Knowledge Transfer Award from the National Center of Competence in Research in Affective Sciences, and in 2014 the Young Investigator Award from the International Neural Network Society.,

Jonathan Crossley is a composer, performer, and Lecturer in Music Technology at the University of Liverpool where he leads courses in hardware hacking, hyper instruments, and free improvisation. He has a specialised interest poly-genre musical cultures, creative practices, and mediative technologies. Using the guitar, he explores stylistic outings from classical to improvisation, jazz through electronic and developing instrumental and system innovations. Early works include albums such as the acoustic ‘Dreams of Skilia’ (2001) and the chamber jazz album ‘My Friends and I’ (2004) to the rock/funk albums ‘Funk for the Shaolin Monk’ (2007) and ‘Got Funk Will Travel’ (2009). ‘Funk for the Shaolin Monk’ and ‘Got Funk Will Travel’ toured extensively from 2007-2014 with performances in South Africa, Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, and The Czech Republic. The free-improvisatory album ‘What if the Machines Spoke Back to You’ (2011) marked a shift away from lead sheet-based improvisation towards systems enabled free improvisational practices. A range of albums and performances have explored these technologies such as ‘The Settlement’ (2017) with Mpho Molikeng, Blipz (2018) with Reza Khota and Jonno Sweetman, ‘Deep Spacer – 433 Eros’ (2020), 3 Cities (2015) with Lukas Ligeti and Sweetman and the four son0_morph albums released during 2021 with Carlo Mombelli, Sweetman, Kathleen Tagg and Cameron Harris. He has relentlessly pursued innovation in research which led to the development of an extended guitar system or hyper-instrument, the Cyber-Guitar, which extended the capacities of the traditional electric guitar beyond the use of the hands, encompassing the joints of the upper body using a mechanical exoskeleton.,

Paul Turowski is a composer, performer, and Lecturer in Music for Digital Games at the University of Liverpool. His research examines intersections of game design/gameplay and musical composition/performance. This includes the employment of digital games as interactive musical scores as well as the creation of video games that afford musical authorship to the player. (For more details, see his doctoral dissertation, "Digital Game as Musical Notation") His creative work has been performed by ensembles such as Dither, Ekmeles, and Voxare; has been presented at events such as the annual conference of the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, the Kyma International Sound Symposium and the conference on Technologies of Notation and Representation; and has been featured on such websites as and He has also given talks on game music at events like the North American Conference on Video Game Music. Paul has served as programmer and technical consultant on several collaborative projects—most recently, Judith Shatin's Black Moon for orchestra and conductor-controlled electronics, which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the American Composers Orchestra. He enjoys improvising on various instruments and currently performs with the Merseyside Improvisers' Orchestra.,

Lee Tsang, Lecturer in Classical Music Performance, is an academic with a difference. On the one hand he trained as a music analyst and has diverse research interests that embrace the timbral and the filmic; on the other, he is an impresario with an insatiable passion for creating, curating and performing new work. His organisation Sinfonia UK Collective has, since its inception in 2004, championed the work of major living composers from across the world, and enabled him to pursue his research concerns about creative agency in music performance contexts. These concerns have often involved him creating new texts and contexts for new music, e.g. animation/film, multi-composer collected editions, theatricalised concerts/productions, performing translations, lyric writing, or exploring musical spaces where classical, jazz and indigenous folk may meet. His current focus is on ‘authentic flow’ (principles, contexts, discourses) and the post-jazz ecology of Canadian composer-pianist David Braid. His work with Braid has featured on BBC, CBC, and at major festivals, including Ottawa International Chamberfest, Festival International Hautes-Laurentides and the Festival of the Sound; he has performed across Europe, Asia and North America and contributed as researcher/producer/editor/writer/vocal consultant to two albums that have received Juno nominations (K52 and Steinway labels). As well as an active conductor and baritone working with Braid, he collects and curates artefacts for the Sinfonia UK Collective Leginska Archive, which he founded and has featured on BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters, for UK City of Culture and the Women of the World Festival.

Matthew Fairclough is a composer and the Director of Music Technology at Liverpool. He lectures on the creative applications of Music Technologies in both Popular and Classical music. His research is practice-based focusing on composition for acoustic instruments with real-time electronic processing. His most recent work explores the control and generation of electronic sound, video and computer graphics using data taken in real-time from an instrumentalist’s performance. In 2014 Matthew founded Open Circuit Festival, a festival of new music, sonic art and audio-visual media, which runs annually at the University of Liverpool. He regularly works with high profile performers, composers and organisations. These have included performers such as Joanna MacGregor, Andy Sheppard, Joby Burgess, John Kenny and Oliver Coates, and the composers Jonathan Harvey and Luciano Berio. He has also collaborated as a sound designer with many ensembles, orchestras and arts organisations including Britten Sinfonia, Psappha, Ensemble 10/10, Smith Quartet, London Sinfonietta, SoundUK and Sound Intermedia. In 2015, alongside composer and artist Kathy Hinde, he co-taught the Composition for Multimedia course at Dartington International Summer School and again in 2016 with composer Sarah Angliss. Matthew has enjoyed a long collaboration with percussionist Joby Burgess video artist Kathy Hinde through the trio Powerplant. Mathew’s work with Joby was the subject of an Impact Case Study for the REF2014.

Oliver Carman is a composer based in the North West of England. He completed his first degree in Music at the University of Sheffield in 1998 and a Masters in Electroacoustic composition in 2004. He was awarded a PhD in electro-acoustic composition from the University of Manchester in 2011, where he was an active member of MANTIS (Manchester Theatre in Sound). He is now lecturer in Music Technology at the University of Liverpool. His work is regularly performed throughout the UK and internationally, and has also been recognised at several international competitions including; IMEB (Bourges) 2007/2008 (Prix Residence, Selection Triuvium category), International Electroacoustic Competition "pierre schaeffer" 2007 (2nd Prize), Diffusion Composition Competition 2010, Limerick (3rd Prize) and Destellos Competition, Argentina 2012/2013/2014 (selection).

Richard Worth is a Lecturer in Popular Music Composition at Liverpool and a flute player, composer and arranger, who in 1989 left the UK for New York City. There he launched a career in music, founding a jazz/latin/funk outfit called Groove Collective, recording six albums (while he was still with them).They toured around the world, including performances at The North Sea and Montreux jazz festivals, and large rock venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado, as well as making appearances on American and European TV. During this time he also worked as a session player often on hip hop and dance records. He then returned to the UK, and completed a PhD in composition. His Hendrix inspired string quartet, “….but those unheard are sweeter” was performed by the Edinburgh Quartet at Kings Place in October 2009, and at the same concert, he performed Vassilis Kitsos’s ‘Niobi’ for solo flute; both pieces were subsequently broadcast on Radio 3’s ‘Hear and Now’. In 2010 The Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble preformed his Trombone Concerto, and he frequently performs in various musical contexts, from salsa and jazz to contemporary classical music.

Affiliated Researchers

Pierre Alexandre Tremblay (Montréal, 1975) is a composer and performer on bass guitar and electronic devices, in solo and group settings, between electroacoustic music, contemporary jazz, mixed music and improvised music. He also worked in popular music, and practises creative coding. His music is available on empreintes DIGITALes. He studied composition with Michel Tétreault, Marcelle Deschênes, and Jonty Harrison; bass guitar with Jean-Guy Larin, Sylvain Bolduc, and Michel Donato; analysis with Michel Longtin, and Stéphane Roy; studio technique with Francis Dhomont, Robert Normandeau, and Jean Piché. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay is currently Professor of Composition and Improvisation at the University of Huddersfield (England, UK), where he hosted the Fluid Corpus Manipulation project. He likes spending time with his family, reading prose, and going on long walks. As a founding member of the no-tv collective, he does not own a working television set.

Dr Ian Costabile is a UK-based composer, interface designer and researcher who holds a PhD from the University of Liverpool. His works often explore interactivity, lighting and sound spatialisation. Notable works include Intersidereal, a composition for harp and lights, and his Sound Canvas media, which consists of mixed media art that presents sound and light interaction through embedded loudspeakers, LEDs, sensors, microcontrollers and compact multichannel systems. Similarly, his Sound Graffiti project applies this approach to outdoor installations, creating sound webs in public spaces through customised urban loudspeakers.

Jacopo de Berardinis is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Informatics at King's College London, and Honorary Research Assistant at the Applied Music Research Lab (University of Liverpool). Previously, he was a PhD Candidate at the Machine Learning and Robotics research group (University of Manchester) under the supervision of Prof. Angelo Cangelosi and Dr. Eduardo Coutinho. His main research interests revolve around the application of machine learning techniques to the field of music information retrieval (MIR), with the goal of designing computational methods for the automatic analysis of music – serving the interests and needs of artists, musicologists, music psychologists and researchers. In particular, his work focuses on music structure analysis, predictive modelling of music, music emotion recognition, and automatic music composition.

Mark Iain Pilkington is a composer and performer of electroacoustic music. His practice encapsulates both sound and image as a means to extend spatial imaginings between real and virtual space. The coupling of sound and image are applied to electroacoustic composition, installation and screen-based works. Forging immaterial and creative labor through a network of interwoven and augmented territories, his work increasingly queries the way operations carry great critical and creative potential. Seeking new modes of critical engagement that incorporate multiple narratives through non-digital and digital aesthetic informs the direction of his pedagogy. His theoretical research focuses on the relationship between artistic genres and their respective aesthetic theories with reference to: electroacoustic music, sound synthesis, visual music, coding, philosophy, and film. His practice especially focuses on audio-visual composition using real and virtual entities as a means to explore time and space. His work have been performed, exhibited and screened at conferences and festivals throughout the UK and Europe. Collaborative interdisciplinary work is carried out with composers and visual artists.

Simon Hutchinson is a composer, scholar, and teacher of music and music technology. Simon holds a PhD in Composition with supporting coursework in Intermedia Music Technology from the University of Oregon, where he was named the Outstanding Graduate Scholar in Music. Simon’s studies in cross-cultural composition were supported by the Sasakawa Young Leader’s Fellowship Fund (SYLFF), and his works are now performed across North America, Europe, and Asia. His compositions synthesize disparate ideas: European concert traditions and creative electronics; acoustic musical instruments and digital video games; East Asian folk and American jazz, rock and funk. These combinations yield novel musical experiences, engaging with the relationships between humans, technology, and society. He is currently Associate Professor of Music Technology at the University of New Haven, where is a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Matthew Burke is a composer and bass guitarist originally from Belfast, now living and working in Liverpool. Burke has played in numerous ensembles across the UK and Ireland, playing mainly heavy metal, jazz-fusion, experiential music, and more recently Irish folk. It was with his studies at The Queen’s University Belfast, under the tutelage of Professor Piers Hellawell and Dr. Simon Mawhinney, that he found a passion for contemporary classical composition and went on to achieve an MPhil in composition studies. Since then, Burke has worked closely with several professional ensembles to perform his music; some of which include: The Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble, The Fidelio Trio, The Royal Polish String Quartet, Red Note Ensemble, Quatuor Danel, and most recently Liverpool’s own Ensemble 10/10. Additionally, to his work as a contemporary composer, Burke is also an avid songwriter/composer of popular music. In 2015 he released his first solo album Opus de Trinitas. The album consisted of a mixture of original songs alongside a set of compositions and arrangements for solo six-string bass guitar. Burke is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool under the supervision of Dr. Richard Worth and Dr. Ben Hackbarth. Matthew’s research is concerned with the incorporation of collaborative compositional practices as well as the aesthetic fusion of popular music with Western classical composition.

Mickey Bryan is a composer/musician, music educator and outreach practitioner based in Liverpool. Mickey attended Chetham's School of Music (2003-2008), Trinity Conservatoire of Music and Dance (2008-2012, BMus (Hons) in Composition) and SAE institure (2018, BA in Audio Production). As a composer, Mickey has an extensive portfolio of acoustic and electronic works which have been premiered at venues such as the British Film Institute, RCM, RNCM, Liverpool MET Cathedral and Blackheath Halls. He has also performed alongside some of the UK’s finest classical, pop and jazz musicians in a variety of ensembles, including his own, across the country. Mickey has worked as a music practitioner within a variety of community settings for children and adults, including dementia care, SEND settings, early years, hospitals and schools. Through his work for charities such as Live Music Now and Turtle Key Arts, he has led and co-led numerous projects as a composer and musician. Over the past ten years, he has also taught composition, piano and woodwind for numerous music services, hubs and institutions. He is currently the co-director and teacher for Rise Music Education. Research. My Ph.D. project explores the use of collaborative music composition for people living with dementia. It aims to provide strategies for using group composition in music based interventions in dementia care settings. This project is sponsored by a full scholarship from the Duncan Norman Trust.

Affilated Artists/Musicians

Norwegian cellist Jonathan Aasgaard is one of UK's most versatile cellists, as soloist, chamber musician, studio musician, orchestral principal, teacher and explorer of new music. Aasgaard was appointed Principal Cello of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999 and has since performed more than 40 works for cello and orchestra with the RLPO. He is regularly invited as a guest principal with several leading British and European orchestras and is principal cello of the John Wilson Orchestra. A dedicated teacher, Aasgaard is Professor of Cello at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

2018 Composer in Residence Composer, sound artist, perfomer and researcher at IRCAM, Gilbert Nouno lives and works in Paris. He received the Rome Prize Fellowship from the Académie de France à Rome Villa Médicis in 2011 and the Kyoto Villa Kujoyama Fellowship in 2007. His music draws inspiration from visual and digital art and design, spanning notated and improvised forms. Gilbert Nouno is professor of music composition at the Royal College of Music in London, and DAAD invited professor for sonic arts in Detmold-Germany for 2016-17. He teaches live electronics and computer musics design at IRCAM and at Goldsmiths University in London where he is currently Visiting Research Fellow and was invited as a sound and composition lecturer at the 2014 International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt.

2018 Ensemble in Residence Pixels Ensemble is a collective of established chamber music players with a shared passion for performing the finest repertoire, from the classical period to the present day. Vastly experienced and versatile, the group appears in a wide range of combinations and line-ups, lending itself to innovative programming and enabling huge variety within individual concerts. They will be working with postgraduate composers on a concert of works for the 2018 Open Circuit Festival of New Music at the University of Liverpool.