composer & Performer
A classically trained singer, cabaret artist and composer, Anna Braithwaite's work is distinctly theatrical in nature, thought- provoking, humourous and unexpected.
NEWS: Anna is delighted to have been selected for inclusion in the British Music Collection. This is a great resource for people interested in discovering the work of the UK's finest composers, past and present. Rebecca Collins has written a 'Spotlight' piece about Anna's work which you can view in full HERE.
"For me, one of the many strengths of Anna’s work is the method she uses to generate original compositions. In listening to each piece, her presence at each site and the time spent with members of the local community become clear."
If you are interested in hearing more about how Anna makes her work, please listen to the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of 'Look Up Doncaster' (below) which includes interviews with Anna and other key players in the project.
WORK IN PROGRESS
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Anna has been selected to be part of the Sound and Music Composer/Curator scheme 2015/16 which sees her and collaborator Michael Betteridge write and produce an evening of verbatim music. The project, entitled 'In Their Own Words' (ITOW), will visit Manchester on Aug. 24th, London on Oct. 1st and Folkestone on Sept. 16th. For more details please go to the ITOW website.
Anna is currently in rehearsals to prepare her contribution to the ITOW project, her latest verbatim music-theatre work entitled 'Addenbrooke's Attention & Orientation'. She has used text taken from interviews she conducted with a young woman living with early onset dementia and combined them with questions and tasks which form the Addenbrooke's cognitive examination.
"I liked the idea of juxtaposing my subject's exuberant, coversational style with the bald and simple language used in the Addenbrooke's tests. The questions seem almost comically simple when held up against the complex real life experiences of the sort of person it tries to assess."
The piece is written for vocalist Rebecca Askew, percussionist Molly Lopresti and clarinettist Kat Browning and will be staged by director Nick Blackburn.
In November 2015, Anna began her residency at Quarterhouse, Folkestone, with a 'Musicians’ Meet-up' for local instrumentalists, singers and composers. They workshopped some new material Anna had written, which she went on to develop during the rest of her residency. During spring 2016 Anna worked with director Emma Bernard and performers David Insua-Cao, Katy Rowe, Aidan Shepherd, Gemma Storr, Nicola Burnett Smith and Zoe Aldrich to create new material about addiction and the brain through a process of improvisation and collaboration.
The project culminated in a 'scratch' performance of the work they had created entitled 'Brainsong' at the Quarterhouse 'Normal? Festival of the Brain' 2016 on Saturday 28th May.
This project has been supported using public funding by Arts Council England and the Bliss Trust, Quarterhouse Folkestone and UCA.
Images by Andrew Aitchison
In October 2015, Anna started a commission for Music 4 Wellbeing to write a piece for three choirs of people living with dementia and their carers, as part of their project ‘Carers Create’. She ran sessions in Margate, Herne Bay and Canterbury at which she collected research and workshopped ideas with the singers. Choir members also enjoyed a song-writing workshop in which they helped Anna to create musical content for the commission. The choral piece with flute, guitar and accordion accompaniment entitled 'Tea and Symphony' received it's first performance by the carers create choirs and singers from Sandgate Primary School at:
Quarterhouse Normal? Festival of the Brain at 2pm on Friday 27th May 2016.
The performance was part of a practical presentation about work that is taking place in creativity and dementia with presentations by Bright Shadow, Edith Tankus (The Archivists), Living Words, Sidney de Haan Research Centre and local support group the Sunshiners.
MONTROSE COMPOSERS’ CLUB - DEBUT CONCERT 'MCCI'
Anna founded the Montrose Composers' Club in September 2015 with local composers Aidan Shepherd, Ian Fleming, Matthew Brown and Phil Self. The collective's debut concert 'MCCI' took place on the 12th February 2016 at The Brewery Tap gallery space, Folkestone, Kent. It contained premieres of seven new pieces and was part of the 'Profound Sound' festival, a weekend of new music and sound art (co-curated by Folkestone Quarterhouse and Folkestone Fringe). To find out more about what the MCC are up to please visit their website.
For this debut concert Anna created a new work for piano, cello and alto sax called 'Fait Accompli'. The music accompanies a single performer operating a hand wound conveyor belt along which a collection of glass ornaments travels slowly until they fall off the end of the belt and inevitably smash in the bucket below. This piece looks at mortality and the absurdity of human existence.
LOOK UP DONCASTER
Anna was selected to take part in the 2014/15 Adopt A Composer scheme which pairs amateur choirs, orchestras, and ensembles with a composer for one year. It is funded by the PRS for Music Foundation and run by Making Music and Sound and Music. She was paired with the Quirky Choir of Doncaster and wrote a fourteen minute piece which they premiered on 20th June 2015 in Doncaster's market and Mansion House. It was recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio 3 (listen below).
"Anna has been a joy to work with. She has been sensitive to the unique nature of the choir and has written a piece that stretches them but also celebrates who they are. She has involved them in the writing from the start and has incorporated their ideas into the final piece. We are very excited about the performance and the prospect of hearing ourselves on national radio." Janet Wood, Leader of the Quirky Choir
To find out more about the project please read Anna's blog.
PENT HOUSE MUSIC
Anna was commissioned by Diane Dever and Jonathan Wright to 'animate' one of their 'Pent House' sculptures for their entrance into the Folkestone Artworks permanent collection on 21st June 2015. What she created was a ten minute performance, inside the water tower structure, of original music and words inspired by the sculpture and the Pent Stream from which the piece takes its name. Here is a video made by Dominic Pillai which combines footage of the live performance and a studio shoot.
Anna wrote the words and music for 'Dr. Snowdrop', a mini operetta based upon a story told by Alphonse Allais at the Chat Noir Cabaret in 1880s Paris. It takes inspiration from the music of the 'Belle Epoque' and the performers at the Chat Noir such as Eric Satie. It was created for a show called The Entire History of Cabaret, which premiered at the Assembly Rooms as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and toured theatres across the UK including the Riverside Studios, London.
“The show works wonderfully well. Whether we're in Twenties Berlin, Belle Époque Paris or, God help us, on Britain's Got Talent, the girls shine, showing they can handle a Cotton Club hipshaker as easily as a French chamber piece involving the tragic, lovelorn Dr Snowdrop. There is striking new music by Anna and Tanya themselves.... join them for a show that's unique. Because on the Fringe, that's gold.”
“The deliciously dark 'The Tragic Marriage of Dr Snowdrop' is a treat.”
“A slight essence of Rocky Horror and a whole lot of cheek thrown in for good measure. Verbal warnings of sights so shocking that they may cause us to “grab our Karen Miller handbags in fear” are met with pearls of raucous laughter.”
Cabin Cafe Cantata
A commission for the Folkestone Fringe, this site specific piece premiered at the Cabin Cafe, Folkestone in October 2014. This is a live recording of that performance. Baritone and Violin - Alistair Bamford, Mezzo Soprano - Anna Braithwaite, Viola - Matthew Brown, Clarinet - Daniela Gajdosova, Violin - Karen Jolliffe, Accordion / Keyboard / Percussion - Aidan Shepherd, conducted by Tom Kilworth.
Written for Alto solo, Soprano, Mezzo-soprano and Countertenor trio, Electric Bass, Trombone, Violin I and II, Cello, Drum Kit and Dustpans & Brushes. It was premiered at the Plural Muses concerts at St Michael's Church, Camden in August 2012.
Quintet for Biscuit
Written for the Bergersen Quartet and Nicola Burnett Smith (Bb Clarinet & Vocals), plus Kazoos. The lyrics were created from material provided by Jess Thom, A.K.A. Touretteshero. This piece was performed for the first time in October 2012 at St Bartholomew the Great Church, Smithfield, London as part of the SQ+ project (funded by PRSF).
My Love is Like a Black, Black Hole
Written for Mezzo-soprano, keyboard and tape. Music and lyrics by Anna Braithwaite (after Burns). A piece which explores the possibility of The Large Hadron Collider creating black holes. Performed in theatres across the UK by Anna Braithwaite, Michael Roulston and Jake Pilikian.
Falling In Love Again
Arrangement for Mezzo Soprano, Soprano and Tape of the Friedrich Hollaender classic in collaboration with Pete Mauder of Phonotheque. Vocals - Anna Braithwaite & Tanya Holt from the EP entitled ShooShooBaby
We’re Walking In The Air / Last Christmas / White Christmas
Arrangement for Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Baritone and Piano for ShooShooBabys’ Christmas Party.