Tom Parkinson

Tom Parkinson is a composer and sound designer working primarily in an interdisciplinary context. He has made the music for over 60 dance and theatre productions in 20 countries. Regular collaborators include Bryony Kimmings, Sharon Smith, Keren Levi and Ivgi&Greben. He has worked with/at The National Theatre, Complicite, The Young Vic, The National Dance Company of Korea, The National Theatre of Tunisia, Prague Chamber Ballet, The Royal Opera House, Szeged Contemporary Ballet, Holland Festival and Forest Fringe amongst others. He is currently writing A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer, a new musical, which runs for seven weeks at the National Theatre in autumn 2016; See Me Now, a verbatim show at the Young Vic and a new work for Scottish Ballet which will both open in spring 2017.

His solo work tends to be generative performance pieces of unfixed duration about music, sound and the voice, including Nothing Ever Said a piece of music that omits the frequencies that the human voice is capable of producing; Duet For Four Chambers, a one-on-one piece for stethoscope and record player; Accident, an eight-hour unison drum solo for identical twins; and an ongoing performative research project into the use of voice and technology in the music of Islamic State.

He occasionally writes about contemporary music for the Guardian and is currently doing a PhD in music composition at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Binary Code by Tom Parkinson

By extracting spectral information from the voice and mapping it onto its approximate analogues in the chromatic scale, it is possible to make a crude simulation of human speech sounds using a player piano. I am proposing to discuss my piece Binary Code for two voices and midi-controlled player piano. In addition to a presentation of the piece, I will talk more broadly about the implications of making a piano talk, in terms of the cultural currency of both the piano and the voice and how that particular combination of human/machine interaction might be generative of further compositional choices such as text and other performance content.

Appearing at:


Old Post Hall, Sheffield Institute of Arts
9:30am-5pm, 13 Nov. 2016 - share on facebook
£25 / £12.50 - get tickets

An arts-research day symposium, with talks and performances on the theme of Algorithmic and Mechanical Movement, chaired by Thor Magnusson and Chris Kiefer from University of Sussex's Experimental Music Technology Lab, and taking place in the Sheffield Institute of Arts.

The £25 / £12.50 ticket prices are inclusive of all fees, and includes refreshments, lunch and free access to evening performances at the Millennium Gallery. 

We are very happy to announce that the symposium will include a keynote speech by Godfried-Willem Raes from the Logos Foundation. For details, including a draft programme, please see the symposium website hosted by the symposium chairs.

Godfried-Willem Raes

Susanne Palzer

Bird & Bee

Panel: Speculative Hardware and Fictive Materialities

Panel: Unraveling Maker Culture

Luba Elliott

Jesus Jara Lopez

Tom Parkinson

Elise and David Plans

Giuseppe Torre

Alejandro Albornoz

Rosamaria E. Kostic Cisneros

Ellen Harlizius-Klück

Alejandra Perez Nunez

Joana Chicau