Music students from Loreto College in Hulme staged an evening’s entertainment based upon the sounds of Delia Derbyshire, an influential musician who created some of the earliest electronic music as part of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
For “Electronic Storm” students scored their own pieces inspired by Delia’s work, which were performed by a large band including a string section, guitar and electronic instruments. The band took particular influence from the album “An Electric Storm” on its 50th Anniversary, which was recorded by Delia as a member of the group White Noise.
Students opened the event within the college’s onsite E & K Theatre with a version of the Doctor Who theme, which was originally realised by Delia Derbyshire in 1963 on behalf of composer Ron Grainer. Other compositions included piece written for strings, where students sat amongst the audience to emulate “surround sound” in a live setting.
Performers received coaching and guidance in advance of the event from Delia Derbyshire Day (DD Day), a Manchester based charity that promotes Delia’s legacy by running educational electronic music workshops for young people and live music events. The charity is based within the city due to an archive of Delia’s work being stored at the John Rylands Library.
Delia is renowned for being ahead of her time, using an innovative form of tape recording manipulation that is comparable to how modern musicians use sampling to create tracks.
Adam Rowe, one of the students who helped compose music for the event said, “The way [Delia] had to overcome technological limitations has given us ideas of ways we can replicate that with this project today, with the string players in the audience being influenced by Delia Derbyshire.”
“I’ve learned how far the roots of electronic music go. I had no idea how old these concepts are and how difficult it would have been or how limited, which would have inspired a lot of creativity.”
Later this month, DD Day will host events in Manchester (23rd Nov) at Spirit Studios and London (30th Nov) at the British Library featuring family friendly workshops, guest panellists and specially commissioned live music based upon An Electric Storm. For more information visit www.deliaderbyshireday.com