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Artists Natasha Barrett

Natasha Barrett works fore-mostly with composition and creative uses of sound. Her output spans concert composition through to sound-art, large sound-architectural installations, collaboration with experimental designers and scientists, acousmatic performance interpretation and more recently live electroacoustic improvisation. Whether writing for live performers or electroacoustic forces, the focus of this work stems from an acousmatic approach to sound, the aural images it can evoke and an interest in techniques that reveal detail the ear will normally miss. The spatio-musical potential of acousmatic sound features strongly in her work.

Barrett studied with Jonty Harrison (University of Birmingham, England, UK) and Denis Smalley (City University, London, England, UK) for masters and doctoral degrees in composition. Both degrees were funded by the humanities section of the British Academy.

Since 1999 Norway has been her compositional and research base for an international platform.

Natasha Barrett works are performed and commissioned throughout the world. Her installations have been set-up in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Australia. As a performer of acousmatic works she travels over the world to collaborate with loudspeaker orchestras, smaller diverse solutions, and sound-art projects.

Her composition has received numerous recognitions, most notably the Giga-Hertz-Preis (Karlsruhe, Germany, 2008), Nordic Council Music Prize (Scandinavia, 2006), Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Awards (France, 1995, ’98, 2001, ’06), Edvard Prize (Norway, 2004), Noroit-Léonce Petitot (Arras, France, 1998, 2002), 9th IREM (2002), Musica Nova (Prague, Czech Republic, 2001), Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo (CIMESP ’01, Brazil), Concours SCRIME (France, 2000), Ciber@RT(Spain, 1999), Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria, 1998), and Luigi Russolo Competition (Italy, 1995, ’98).

Her work is available on numerous recording labels, including Albedo, Aurora, Centaur, Elektron, empreintes DIGITALes, Euridice, Mnémosyne Musique Média, and +3dB.

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Natasha Barrett

Norwich (England, UK), 1972

Residence: Hvalstad (Norway)

  • Composer

On the web

Natasha Barrett [Photo: Jan Erik Breimo, Hvalstad (Norway), September 4, 2016]
Natasha Barrett [Photo: Jan Erik Breimo, Hvalstad (Norway), September 4, 2016]
  • Natasha Barrett [Photo: Jan Erik Breimo, Hvalstad (Norway), September 4, 2016]
  • Natasha Barrett [Photo: Svein Berge, Oslo (Norway), November 23, 2009]
  • Natasha Barrett [Photo: Svein Berge, Oslo (Norway), November 23, 2009]
  • Natasha Barrett [Photo: Svein Berge, Oslo (Norway), November 23, 2009]
  • Natasha Barrett [November 2003]
  • Natasha Barrett
  • Natasha Barrett
  • Natasha Barrett

In the press

Sounds Around: Field Recordings in Electroacoustics

David Turgeon, electrocd.com, June 1, 2003

Field recordings have always fascinated electroacoustic composers, ever since Pierre Schaeffer’s Cinq études de bruits (1948), featuring processed train sounds. With R Murray Schafer’s Vancouver Soundscape 1973 (1972-73), these everyday sounds are articulated around a discourse which will be termed “sound ecology,” whereby sounds keep their original meaning, and no longer serve as anecdotic content to be used and abused at the composer’s whim. Jonty Harrison synthesises these two approaches in his short text {cnotice:imed_0052-0001/About Évidence matérielle/cnotice}.

Actually, every composer seems to have their own unique approach towards field recordings. If sound ecology has seen the burgeoning of microphone artists such as Claude Schryer and of course Hildegard Westerkamp and her famous {cpiste:imed_9631-1.3/Kits Beach Soundwalk/cpiste} (1989), sound travels such as French duo Kristoff K Roll’s CD (1993) are, in this respect, closer to the art of documentary film. Meanwhile, Brooklyn-based composer Jon Hudak starts off with an extremely minimalist palette so as to seek out the “essence” of sounds, which, to the listener, translate into soft, dreamy soundscapes. A student of the aforementioned Jonty Harrison, Natasha Barrett conceives beautiful landscapes of sounds with very discreet field recordings, that retain an aesthetic likeness to the acousmatic tradition.

Many young composers settle into this landscape (of sound…) and their work is of such interest to us, it would be a shame not to let them be heard. We shall first mention the California-based V. V. (real name Ven Voisey), who organises his found sounds into an architecture reminescent of “old school” musique concrète—doing so, he uncovers a previously unheard aesthetic affinity between Schaeffer and Merzbow… With , Austrian composer Bernhard Gal guides us through his carefully selected episodes of “found musics” (that is, musical structures that preexist within the environment.) Finally, because of its numerous ideas and its incredible pacing, the surprising (2001) from Montréal composer Cal Crawford will undoubtedly seduce listeners looking for unheard acousmatic grounds.

Two small treats to end with. First, the pretty mini-CDR is a simple thread of five pure field recordings (with no processing!). After all, if there is such a thing as cinema for the ear, why shouldn’t there be a photo album for the ear! And to close the loop, may we also suggest to make a stop at Lionel Marchetti’s recent mini-CD with the evocative title, (1998-99). This work for one loudspeaker, dedicated (couldn’t you guess?) to Pierre Schaeffer, remind us again of the ever renewed importance of environmental sources in feeding the electroacoustic ocean.

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