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  • Simon Cummings


This edited transcript of a conversation with composer Monty Adkins explores a wide range of topics: the fundamental aspects of Adkins’ compositional aesthetic, the history and development of his practice, musical influences, considerations of beauty, narrative vs. abstract approaches to composition, types of listening, perceptions of time, notions of the sacred, the imposition (and benefits) of compositional restrictions, the organisation/structuring of non-teleological music, combining electronics with live instruments, and Adkins’ relationship with the listener. The conversation took place on 24 February 2017 at the University of Huddersfield, during the annual Electric Spring festival. Audio of the complete, three-hour conversation can be downloaded and streamed at



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1 Adkins’ intention was largely unsuccessful; during his undergraduate years at Cambridge, composer-teachers Hugh Wood, Robin Holloway and Alexander Goehr ‘were all on sabbatical at the same time’. As a consequence, Adkins focused on French mediaeval and Italian renaissance music ‘because the people who were doing that were absolutely fascinating’.

2 Adkins, Mathew, Fragmented Visions (MPS Music & Video, 2002).

3 Adkins, Mathew, Mondes Inconnus (empreintes DIGITALes, 2006).

4 Smith, Geoff and Smith, Nicola Walker, American Originals: Interviews with 25 Contemporary Composers (London: Faber and Faber, 1995).

5 Adkins, Mathew, [60]Project (empreintes DIGITALes, 2008).

6 Adkins, Monty, Borderlands (Audiobulb Records, 2015).

7 Adkins, Monty, Five Panels (Signature, 2009).

8 Adkins, Monty, Residual Forms (Crónica, 2014).

9 Adkins, Monty, Rift Patterns (Audiobulb Records, 2014).

10 Frahm, Nils, Spaces (Erased Tapes Records, 2013).

11 Adkins, Monty and Hron, Terri, Lépidoptères (empreintes DIGITALes, 2016).

12 Adkins, Monty, Four Shibusa (Audiobulb Records, 2012).

13 Adkins, Monty, Shadows and Reflections (Crónica, 2017).

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  • Simon Cummings


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