SCORE: Trace That Sound

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Elliot Sharp, Foliage

SCORE: Trace That Sound

Co-curated by Joe Scarffe and Beth Derbyshire

Saturday 22nd March – Saturday 5th April

8am-8pm (Mon – Fri) 9am-5pm (Sat) 11am-4pm (Sun)

Spotlight Exhibition Area: Library of Birmingham

Free admission – no booking necessary


Sock puppets, playing cards, telephone doodles…. These are just some of the 30 composers’ works on display in SCORE: Trace That Sound, which presents a snapshot of the incredible variety of musical scores that have emerged since the 1950s.


The invention and joy shown by the diversity of scores reflect the desire of composers and performers to find new sounds and collaborative relationships. These new approaches also blur the lines between composer and artist, and require different skills and discipline of musicians. So we follow the diversity of approaches, from scores that also work as visual art towards those that use more conventional forms of music notation.


With an emphasis on pioneering work from New York and Birmingham, and remarkable precedents from Ancient Egypt and Medieval England, the exhibition features pieces by composers ranging from Robert Ashley, Pauline Oliveros and Howard Skempton, to Elliott Sharp, Claudia Molitor, Janet Boulton and Michael Wolters.


The exhibition is also brought to life by Ringing Out, a specially-made three-dimensional score intervention by artist Beth Derbyshire and composer / artist Andy Ingamells. Balloons are displayed during moments of happiness and celebration, much like the ringing of church bells. The ringing of church bells doesn’t offer the same visual spectacle, though bell ringers use a visual system known as ‘rope sight’ to keep them in sequence. Bellringing takes place away from the gaze of those who hear it, leaving just the sound resonating outwards from the bell tower.


Beth Derbyshire and Andy Ingamells bring ringing out of the towers and into the Library of Birmingham, suspending a giant multi-coloured cluster of helium balloons that can be moved and changed by pulling on long ropes. The changes in the cluster will be read as musical notation by a live choir, filling the library with celebratory sounds. If you would like to ring the cluster, then gather a team of friends and visit the library during the SCORE exhibition.

Ringing Out Performance Times

Saturday March 22nd – 11:20am and 3:20pm
Saturday March 29th – 4:30pm

Monday 31st March – 11.00 am

Saturday April 5th – 3:20 pm

The exhibition also includes postcard scores created by local people, under the guidance of composer Kirsty Devaney. Go to: for details of workshops and the opportunities for you to make and submit your own score, a selection of which will be performed at the exhibition at part of the Frontiers Finale on 5 April at 3.30pm.


Performances of works in the exhibition will be given each day, 22 March – 5 April, in the Library at 3:30pm every day.

Frontiers SCORE: Trace that Sound – Concert Schedule 

22nd March: Lyell Cresswell – Drones IV; Halim El Dabh – Canine Wisdom

Dan Serjeant, Maya Verlaak, Mark Pringle, Ben Lee, James Alexandropoulos-McEwan, Ashley Bonfante

23rd March: Wadada Leo Smith – Luminous Axis

Ashley, James Banner, Ben Lee, Mark Pringle, Wilson Leywantono, Paul Zaba

24th March: Gavin Bryars – Made in Hong Kong; Christopher Hobbs – Composition No. 2 (May 1968)

Ben Lee, Andrew Woodhead

25th March: Fred Frith – Zürich; Skylight

Ben Lee, Mark Pringle, Amy Hall, Dan Serjeant

26th March: Theresa Sauer – Circle Series

Dan Serjeant, Maya Verlaak, Andrew Woodhead, Mark Pringle, James Banner, Ben Lee, Ashley

27th March: Erik Christensen – Telephone Pieces

Ben Lee, Mark Pringle, James Alexandropoulos-McEwan, Maya Verlaak, Amy Hall, Dan Serjeant, Wilson Leywantono, Zach Dawson, Paul Zaba

28th March: Henrik Rasmussen – Threads

James Alexandropoulos-McEwan, Maya Verlaak, Zach Dawson, Rob Jones

29th March: Carl Bergstrøm Nielsen – Towards an unbearable lightness

Andrew Woodhead, Mark Pringle, James Alexandropoulos-McEwan, Maya Verlaak, Amy Hall, Dan Serjeant

30th March: Anton Lukoszevieze – Skraidyti Series; Antanas Kalanavičius; Symphony

Paul Zaba, Maya Verlaak, James Alexandropoulos-McEwan, Mark Pringle, Ben Lee

31st March: Janet Boulton: Eye Music Series

Joe Scarffe, Samuel Rodgers

1st April: Cornelius Cardew – Treatise (Pages 33 and 35)

Dan Serjeant, Amy Hall, Ben Lee

2nd April: Pauline Oliveros – Text Pieces

Ben Lee, Mark Pringle, Maya Verlaak, Dan Serjeant, Zach Dawson

3rd April: Herbert Brün: Mutatis Mutandis

Mark Pringle, James Alexandropoulos-McEwan, Maya Verlaak, Amy Hall, Dan Serjeant, Zach Dawson, Paul Zaba

4th April: William Hellermann – Performance Drawings

Ben Lee, Andrew Woodhead, Maya Verlaak, Rob Jones, James Alexandropoulos-McEwan

5th April: René Mogensen – Expression No. 2

Ashley Bonfante, James, Ben Lee, Andrew Woodhead, Mark Pringle, James Alexandropoulos-McEwan, Wilson Leywantono


SCORE: Trace That Sound – Featured Artists

Robert Ashley
Cathy Berberian
Janet Boulton
Gavin Bryars
Earle Brown
John Cage
Cornelius Cardew
Erik Christensen
Adam de la Cour
Lyell Cresswell
Brent Michael Davids
Luke Deane
Fred Frith
William Hellermann
Christopher Hobbs
Anton Lukoszevieze
Christian Marclay
René Mogensen
Claudia Molitor
Pauline Oliveiros
R. Murray Schafer
Carl Bergstrøm Nielsen
Henrik Rasmussen
Theresa Sauer
Elliott Sharp
Howard Skempton
Ismail Wadada Leo Smith
Maya Verlaak
Michael Wolters

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