composer/musician/ZTT artist

ANDREW POPPY (1954) is a post-minimal composer, musician, vocalist, writer and record producer with a unique body of work and collaborations. He performs solo (piano/voice/electronics) (London, Dusseldorf, Lisbon, Oporto, Turin) sometimes with his own Sustaining Ensemble and recently as piano soloist in his work Almost The Same Shame with the BBC Concert Orchestra as part of ‘The Rest Is Noise’ Festival at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Current CD and performance project Shiny Floor Shiny Ceiling is a staged Opera Installation recently heard at London Contemporary Music Festival in 2014.

Teenage musical life included playing bass guitar in an improvising rock band, playing Bartok and Debussy on the piano and making music concrete with his father’s tape recorder. He studied music at Kingsway’s College and Goldsmiths College, London University, graduating in 1979.

During the 1970s he developed a strong interest in contemporary American composers Cage, Feldman, Riley, Glass and Reich, attended a summer school with John Cage and Merc Cunningham and played in an ensemble with Christian Wolff. In the early 1980s he was an accompanist at the Laban Centre for Dance and pianist and composer with The Lost Jockey, a large ensemble playing pulse based music that became known as Minimalism.

Particularly interested in the creative part recording plays in the music of today Poppy’s music moves between conventionally notated scores and studio work influenced by pop production. He was signed as a contemporary composer, recording artist and producer to Trevor Horn and Paul Morley’s Zang Tumb Tuum Records (ZTT) in 1984. His first CD The Beating of Wings includes performances of 32 Frames for Orchestra and Cadenza for piano and electric piano and was released in 1985. This was followed in 1987 by Alphabed which featured the Fairlight music computer, the first Akai samplers and vocal performances from Annette Peacock.

During the 90s Poppy continued to record for independent labels: Recordings, includes 14 Poems and Toccatas for violin and piano performed by Elisabeth Perry and Andrew Ball and premiered by them at the Huddersfield Festival. Ophelia/Ophelia, a chamber opera was selected by ISCM for the world music days in Denmark. Rude Bloom contains two contemporary dance scores (for Siobhan Davies and Linda Gaudreau). Time at Rest Devouring its Secret an electro acoustic installation premiered at NRLA and Tramway. In 2005 ZTT Records released a 3 CD box set containing all Poppy’s recordings for the label during the 80’s and including an unreleased album Under The Son.

A type of experimental music theatre, sometimes based on the composer’s own texts or adaptations has been part of his creative initiative. Songs of the Clay People was a collaboration with Impact Theatre in 1983. There are also three chamber operas The Uranium Miners (ROH Garden Venture), Baby Doll (NTS/Cottesloe), Ophelia Ophelia (ISCM nomination). An oratorio Something In The Air (Levitation And Fall) was commissioned by the Estonian National Male Choir and conducted by Kaspars Putnins premiered in Tallinn in January 2006.

Since 1989 he has developed a collaborative partnership with visual and theatre artist Julia Bardsley. Jointly authored projects include Avalanche Thoughts a multimedia work premiered in New York in 2002, Improvements on Nature 2009 was commissioned by the Sacred Festival at Chelsea Theatre London, Clube Redondo 2011 a work for children in Lisbon with Portuguese company Casa Branca.

His unusual body of work constantly explores different musical contexts. There are scores for theatre, film & video, contemporary dance and art installation; writing collaborations and arrangement for industrial rock and synth pop artist including, Black, Psychic TV, Erasure, Nitzer Ebb and duo projects with Claudia Brücken and Bernardo Devlin. There are also a number of remixes for other artists.

Concert works in the 90s include Horn Horn, a double saxophone concerto for John Harle and Simon Haram commissioned by The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Last Light recorded by The Smith Quartet. Concert commissions since 2000s include More Matter Less premiered by Noszferatu at the Cheltenham Festival 2003, Darwin’s Sin Draw a violin concerto for Darragh Morgan and The Crash Ensemble, Hatch for The Smith String Quartet, Playing the Pulse for CoMA ensemble, Periscope for prepared piano for pianist Mary Dullea, Hoarding Flap for harpsichordist Jane Chapman, Definitely Disco commissioned by The London International String Quartet Festival as a competition test piece for 9 student quartets. In 2013 pianist Ivo DeGreef commissioned Liberty for the Left hand for the Leftitude Festival.

BBC Concert Orchestra gave the first professional performance of 32 Frames for Orchestra in 2006 and in 2011 invited Andrew to perform a live dub mix with the orchestra in a new version of Revolution Number 8 Airport for Joseph Beuys at the QEH in London

See News for upcoming performances and projects.