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Pioneers of Electronic Music

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Our Friend's Electric

We consider electronica a fairly contemporary style of music. The genre, which uses synthesized sounds produced by an electric current, became popular during the 1990s through bands such as The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and solo artists like Madonna and Dani Minogue. But in fact, electronic music has been around for a lot longer than that. Just think of the cosmic theme from Doctor Who, a series which began in the 1950s. One of the first electronic musical instruments was called the ondes Martenot, invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot.

Nonclassical, is an organisation that promotes (as you can probably guess) non-classical music to the young generation, who are interested in new developments in the music scene. They are holding an event celebrating electronic music, and between the 6th - 17th March Pioneers of Electronic Music will be running at venues throughout London. There will be music (surprise, surprise), films, and talks discussing topics such as the technological developments made to make synthesized music possible.

Perspectives on Daphne Oram
6th March, 8pm, The Macbeth, Hoxton Street, N1 6LP, £5

Daphne Oram invented the Oramic machine, which helps create music using a technique known as drawn sound. At this event you will get to see and hear audiovisual instruments inspired by her work.

Dirty Electronics Synth Lab
9th March, 1pm, St. Margaret's House Settlement, 21 Old Ford Road, E2 9PL, £25

In this workshop you will get to build your own synthesizer and create your own music. To sign up email

Peter Zinovieff and Aisha Orazbayeva
9th March, 6pm, St. Margaret's House Settlement, 21 Old Ford Road, E2 9PL, £5

A joint performance by the electronic musician, Peter Zinovieff, and the violinist, Aisha Orazbayeva.

The Day The Earth Stood Still / Forbidden Planet
10th March, 1pm, Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB £9.50

A double bill cinema screening of two classic 1950s films that used electronic music to great effect.

'Deconstructing Dad'
12th March, 7.30pm, Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street, E8 1HE, £5-£7

This documentary by Raymond Scott's son is a memoir looking back at the man's innovations in the music industry.

14th March, 8pm, Cowper Street, EC2A 4AP, £6-£8

A programme of legendary compositions including Messiaen's Oraison (1937), performed on a ondes martenot and 5 mono synths, Stockhausen's Kontakte (1958) performed by Geroge Barton & Siwan Mair Rhys, and Varese's Poeme Electronique (1958) with the original film by Le Corbusier.

The Same Trade As Mozart
17th March, 7.30pm, Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street, E8 1HE, £5-£7

A series of documentaries exploring the work of great electronic musicians. Screenings will include Practical Electronica, which looks at the innovative tape-based work of FC Judd; The Same Trade as Mozart, which details the contributions from Stockhausen, Daphne Oram, and Tristram Cary; The Delian Mode about the iconic British sound pioneer, Delia Derbyshire.

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Why? Learn about and Enjoy music
When: 6th - 17th March
Where: Around London
Cost: £5-£25
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