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The New Radiophonic Workshop debuts on The Space

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The Space has appointed experimental composer Matthew Herbert as creative director of The New Radiophonic Workshop.

The digital arts service - developed by the Arts Council and the BBC - is featuring the revamped virtual version of the famous workshop. Delia Derbyshire of the initial incarnation created the original Doctor Who theme, which had been composed by Ron Grainer.

Radiophonic workshop - Matthew Herbert


Herbert said: "It is the perfect time for the rebirth of the workshop - the rapid pace of change in technologies has meant our imaginations are struggling to keep up.

"By bringing together the people making the technology with people making the music, we are hoping to find engaging answers to some of the modern problems associated with the role of sound and music on the internet, in certain creative forms and within broadcasting."

Herbert will lead seven collaborators on "an exploratory journey to discover new ways of making and presenting sound and music".

Radiophonic workshop - Delia Derbyshire


These seven collaborators are James Mather, Lyndsey Turner, Max de Wardener, Mica Levi, Patrick Bergel, Tony Churnside and Yann Seznec.

Its first commission is The Sound of The Space, which will filter the sounds of music, theatre and dance through to prose, poetry and discussions from the 25 projects already published on the service.

The BBC's sound laboratory originally ran from 1958 to 1998.

Radiophonic workshop


"These [sounds] are then filtered to create a curious murmur of activity, rather than a cacophony of noise, designed to hum and change as more material appears," The Space explained. The new commission can be heard by pressing 'Listen to The Space' on all pages on the service.

A new work was also played today (September 12) on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The piece, created to mark the move from Bush House, was made of and about the old broadcast equipment at the site.

Radiophonic workshop


"The closure of Bush House draws a line under what one aspect of the BBC used to be about: warrens of small rooms and big lumps of equipment hidden from the public," Herbert said.

"New Broadcasting House is the opposite - open and visible, with technology taking up a much smaller footprint.

"In its original incarnation, the Radiophonic Workshop was certainly highly representative of this first description."

Radiophonic workshop


Herbert added: "In its new location, as part of the virtual resource of thespace.org, the current iteration of the Radiophonic Workshop is seeking to acknowledge and document this shift in broadcasting from an impervious, imperious presence to a more democratic, fluid and open system.

"In this context, this piece of music for Bush House is a small footnote, an audio reminder of how far we have come in the last 100 years of listening."

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