Peter John Stollery

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Rewind is my first foray into working with ambisonics. A composer of fixed media acousmatic composition since the early 1980s, whose compositional output developed during the early years of BEAST (Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre), the vast majority of my output has been in stereo format created to be projected live over large multi-loudspeaker systems. I had been satisfied for many years with this format of presentation, extending it to multichannel formats in recent years (predominantly 5.1 and 8 channel formats) which can be diffused over multiple arrays of appropriate speaker groupings.

Ambisonics allows for, to an extent, the “fixing” of the spatial elements of the piece, which can then be decoded to any appropriate combination of loudspeaker groupings in a performance space. As a dyed-in-the-wool creator of stereo works for diffusion, this required me to approach the composition of the piece in new ways and to create new workflows to allow for this studio-based “fixing”.

A commission from BEAST FEaST 2019, whose theme of how past methodologies and technologies inform(ed) future creation (“rewinding in order to fast-forward”), allowed me to approach this new way of working, using innovation and memories of my own compositional methodologies as an aesthetic rooting of the work. I spent fifteen days working in the space (The Dome Room at the University of Birmingham) where the piece was to be premièred, which also allowed me to re-assess the notion of “studio”. Sound materials used reflected the past, using sounds taken from pieces created in the studios at Birmingham over many years, creating new recordings of environments that had remained essentially unchanged for 40 years and other tropes such as starting the piece with a 1kHz test tone (ubiquitous in the 1980s) which is granulated and distributed into three-dimensional space (practically impossible in the 1980s).
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputCD
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019


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