Composer | Sound Artist | Writer | Performer | Educator
Max Gibson is a British-Irish composer, performer, writer, improviser, and educator currently splitting his time between Birmingham, UK, and Northern California.
His output includes works for instruments, voices, electronics, sound art, film, theatre, and multimedia, and his works have been performed and presented internationally in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, the USA, and across the UK. His poems have been presented in Belgium, and the USA.
His work is eclectic, and draws on myriad lines of interest, influence, and confluence, including medievalism, architecture, globalism, industrialism, astronomy and astrology, as well as the natural world. His recent work engages with aspects of expanded time, line and counterpoint, sound massing, the act of listening, and with configuring the space of performance and spectatorship through interdisciplinary approaches to composition.
Concerns surrounding sustainable creative practices, the politics of participation, and demands of labour within various musicking models have also started to inform and influence his philosophy of practice.
He has had the pleasure of working with a number of musicians and groups including the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Elliott Sharp, Splinter Reeds, Mivos Quartet, Késia Decoté, Verena Barie, deCompagnie, Cameron Woodhead, Christine Cornwell & klank.ist, Peter Merckx & Marc Tooten (HERMESensemble), The Assembly Project, Hear My Music, Laura Moody, Mary Wiegold, Alessandro Ruisi & Dina Duisen, Notes Inégeles & Peter Wiegold, CoMA, Decibel, Coull Quartet, Ensemble Paramirabo, Wayward Brass, and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. His work has been featured in a number of festivals, including Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Savassi Festival (Brazil), CrossCurrents, Flatpack Film Festival, Frontiers Festival, Stratford Music Festival, Oxford Festival of the Arts, St Magnus International Festival, and the AlbaNova Festival (Belgium).
Max’s teachers and mentors have included Rolf Hind, Antoine Beuger, Ron Kuivila, Paula Matthusen, Howard Skempton, Michael Zev Gordon, Scott Wilson, Daria Kwiatkowska, and Michael Finnissy, amongst others.
He is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Theory at the University of California, Davis on a Provost Fellowship, where he studies with Pablo Ortiz.
In Summer 2022 he completed a Certificate in Filmmaking at the National School of Film and Television.
Beyond his creative work, he is a passionate educator, and has taught at all educational levels, including privately, as a workshop leader, and as an instructor at the University of Birmingham, Wesleyan University, and the University of New Haven. In 2021-22, Max was also a member of the Learning and Participation team of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
With a penchant for knowledge, enrichment, and development he has dedicated a great deal of time studying music, sound, and culture beyond the realm of composition; at Wesleyan University, he studied improvisation, electronic music, organ, and Javanese gamelan; at the University of Birmingham he developed interests in orality, experimental music, acoustic ecology, and sound studies; at the University of Western Ontario he studied early music, theory, orchestration, and Japanese; and, as a Universitas 21 scholar, he dabbled in anthropology and South East Asian culture at the National University of Singapore.
He is an avid cook, and enjoys experimenting with food as much as he does sound. At some point he wants to explore works that incorporate food into the musical experience. He loves marmite and kombucha, although not together. He also has an unhealthy obsession with Stroopwafels.
Photo credits to Avi Friederich and Anya Shatilova.