I am a composer, multi-instrumentalist and researcher.
Two recent and ongoing projects are Today is Good!, a song-writing project with asylum-seekers, and Beyond Mode, a quartet developing modal music of the Mediterranean. I wrote Sing no Sad Songs for Me for this quartet, a modal composition exploring women’s voices in a post-Ottoman idiom.
I discovered the oud while doing research into music in Palestine, and subsequently transformed my music-making. I studied oud with Necati Celik in Istanbul, and became a regular student at Labyrinth Musical Seminars in Crete, 2010-2015. While there I worked on makam composition with Ross Daly along with singing, improvising and performing with many celebrated teachers (Christos Barbas, Ahmed Erdogdular, Omer Erdogdular, Harris Lambrakis, Yurdal Tokcan, Evgenios Voulgaris). While participating in the Arab Music Retreat, Massachusetts I also worked with Ali Jihad Racy, Simon Shaheen and Charbel Rohana.
As a scholar, I have published numerous articles and books, including Orientalism and Musical Mission: Palestine and the West (2013), and Ligeti, Kurtág, and Hungarian Music during the Cold War (2007). While Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, I taught courses on Intercultural Performance, Music and Orientalism, and Ensemble Performance among others, and supervised doctoral research on topics from the Hungarian folk revival to Kuwaiti song. After 19 years in academia I am now working freelance, while Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London.
In an earlier life I was a concert pianist, following training at he Royal Academy of Music, London and the Liszt Academy, Budapest, where I was a student of Ferenc Rados and Gyorgy Kurtág. I also studied composition and saxophone, and performed widely in Europe as soloist and in ensembles, broadcasting regularly for Hungarian radio. My specialism was new music – repertoire written after 1945, and I had the privilege to work with several major figures including Messiaen, Berio and Kurtág. In 2003 I co-directed a major London Kurtág festival which won the Royal Philharmonic Society Award.