James originally comes from Yorkshire and established himself as a leading jazz musician in London in the 1970ís. In 1980 he won the Arts Council GLAA Young Jazz Musician of the Year.
He recorded his first Album for EMI Records at Abbey Road Studios. James is founder and leader of the WCMO (Working Classical Music Orchestra) the PGO (Pocket Guerrilla Orchestra) and Cellorhythmics. Jamesí has composed for contemporary classical music ensembles, Theatre, Film and TV.
Recent work includes: World premiere Citerna & Sham Shui Po Circles for 12 pianos at the Royal Festival Hall, Channel 4, pick of the week documentary Sex, Lies and Parkinsonís, National Lottery Theme BBC, Michael Parkinson - Talkshow Story, David Almondís Heaven Eyes, Kaliís (Asian Womenís Theatre) Gandhi and Coconuts, Kensington Palace documentary commission Victoria
JAMES HESFORD, our composer in residency, is back to Papay to work on a new place-specific sound poem and instrumental composition commissioned by LAPW and PAPAY GYRO NIGHTS.
New works will add to the existing collection of ORKNEY SERIES written by James Hesford:
The Entire Population of Papa Westray - composition based on papay dance tunes performed by Working Classical Music Orchestra and released as a single by L.A.P.W. and as a part of WCMO album "Objectivity Maintenance"
FESTIVAL COMMISSION and EP LAUNCH
PAPA WESTRAY - HONG KONG
PAPA WESTRAY CIRCLE FOR 8 FLUTES
PAPA WESTRAY SOUND POEM
SHAM SHUI PO CIRCLE FOR 12 GRAND PIANOS
SHAM SHUI PO SOUND POEM
This summer James Hesford visited Papay to work on a new PGN / LAPW commission:
Papa Westray Sound Poem
Circle - Papa Westray . composition for 8 flutes.
We are releasing EP album JAMES HESFORD: PAPA WESTRAY - HONG KONG, which includes also two pevious works created during our project in Hong Kong
MUSIC FOR A FILM BY DAVID KEW - SURVEY
Music: James Hesford
This collaboration is a result of a one-week LAND ART residency on Papa Westray.
We make no claims for objectivity for the film, instead this is a subjective and impressionistic response to the island’s remote position on the edge of Europe.
An island where nature is patiently reclaiming and obliterating the relics of past human endeavour, subsuming them back into a profound and beguiling natural order where wind, ocean and sun reign supreme.
James Hesford's work “Papay Holm” was performed by the
baroque choir Fiori Musicali in a reconstructed ancient language
of Orkney Nynorn during Felcino Bianco Festival in Citerna Italy
in July 2010.
Text is a chart for wind and sea - used to describe what happens
when the wind blows.... One is related to land the other the sea...
We'd like to bring this work home, in Orkney, performed at Papay
Holm, Ring of Brodgar and St. Magnus Cathedral
Då vinden ferder en mil on timen - lygn.
Sjuen ir ens og glerlek.
ferden en til tru mil on timen - fliro.
veð fyribyrþ av raitler myntast
fyre til seks - grå.
Smubårer enn stuttar, min mere tøtligar.
glereter og kraga ikke.
åtta til tolv - litið lot - sturar smubårer,
byrra at kraga, skum gleret,
dunkande vit ross.
tretten til sjøtjen - anduvsgrå.
vaksa, tiþ vit ross.
åtjen til tuttu fyre – køl –
Størri bårer ið gerast tøtligare
Marg vit ross myntast. Kast fyri spri.
When the wind is traveling at one mile per hour – calm
The Sea is like a mirror
speeds of one to three miles per hour – light air
Ripples with the appearance of scales (fish scales) are formed
But without foam crests
four to six – a light breeze
Small wavelets, still short, but more pronounced.
Crests have a glassy appearance and do not break.
eight to twelve – a gentle breeze – large wavelets,
Crests begin to break, foam of glassy appearance,
Perhaps scattered white horses.
thirteen to seventeen – a moderate breeze.
Small waves, becoming larger; fairly frequent white horses
At eighteen to twenty-four – a fresh breeze –
Moderate waves, taking a more pronounced long form
many white horses are formed. Chance of some spray
"The Entire Population of Papa Westray" was commissioned by Land Art - Papa Westray. For PAPAY GYRO NIGHTS 2011 the composition will be released as a single and will be used to create a sound installation in PAPAY
James Hesford - composer,
Mikey Kirkpatrick - Flute,
Julian Saxl- violin,
Marc Layton Bennett - snare drum/hide skin drum ,
James Hesford - accordion
I noticed that many of the Scottish tunes are named after
people. I decided that I would write a very long tune giving
4 bars of music to each person on the island of Papay. There
are 70 people living there, which makes 280 bars of music
As well as writing music I also write words - forming ideas
through flow of consciousness. I wanted to approach the composition
in the same way - writing a single line melody from left to
right which would
flow from my pen as easily as words do. My starting point
was the fond memories I have of playing with Margaret Rendall
(accordionist) in the Papay pub on Saturday nights so the
beginning melodic curves and rhythms are reminiscent of the
Scottish and Island tunes we played together for the Papay
I soon found the melody took a life of its own and steered
me into darker tonal areas. I suppose I could not escape the
changing moods of the weather in the Islands which was unknowingly
influencing me. The melody became as unpredictable as the
wind, weaving into the brightness of the diatonic folk tunes
and out into territories more akin to Ornette Coleman's free
jazz improvisation or early twentieth
century attempts at atonalism.
I decided that the tune should be played by a fiddle and flute
player, two percussionists playing military snare and hide
skin drum, and a non musician improvising on accordion to
add a layer of familiar texture, and to be as disruptive as
the ever blowing wind.
James Hesford. 2009
WCM Orchestra's new CD,
OBJECTIVITY MAINTENANCE, is released!
ALONG WITH GREAT NEW COMPOSITIONS BY
JAMES HESFORD IT INCLUDES LAND ART - PAPA WESTRAY COMISSION
: THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF PAPA WESTRAY.
CD is available from www.wcmorchestra.com
Dance Tunes performed by our accordionist Margaret Rendall
and recorded by James Hesford in December 2008
2007: CELLORHYTHMICS ACOUSTIC PROJECT
Hesford and Alfia Nakipbekova, founder members of the cutting edge,
London based cello ensemble Cellorhythmics, played a concert in
the studio of artists Ivanov and Tsz Man Chan. They performed original
music by James, influenced by Jazz, Blues and World Music.