Awards for Artists
Image of Nathaniel Mann
Photo: Emile Holba.

Nathaniel Mann

Nathaniel Mann (born 1982) is an experimental composer, performer and sound designer. Oscillating between music and sound, Mann has a compositional practice that is expansive in scope and varied in form. He takes on many roles in his work, including researcher, instrument-maker, archive-digger, surround-sound designer, filmmaker, broadcaster, storyteller, producer, curator, entrepreneur, sonic-artist and folksinger. He is also one third of the experimental folk ensemble, Dead Rat Orchestra.

Mann’s compositions probe history, politics and audio culture, resisting established formats and frameworks for creating music. Each work is crafted, adapted and nuanced towards its setting, fuelled by continued dialogue and collaboration with professionals and enthusiasts from varied fields. These have included filmmakers, musicians, visual artists, academics, curators, a pigeon fancier and a swordsmith.

Mann has explored many subjects including the colonial residue of recorded music in South Africa, in dialogue with Andile Vellum, a deaf dancer/choreographer based in Cape Town (Cape Sound Stories, 2016); the psycho-geographic horror of England’s public execution sites (Tyburnia, 2014-17); and the deeply rooted traditions interlinking noise and social control, creating bronze musical meat cleavers with swordsmith Neil Burridge (Rough Music, 2014). His work Pigeon Whistles (2013), a flying orchestra of flute-carrying Birmingham Roller pigeons, won the George Butterworth Prize for Composition in 2015.

I'm deeply indebted to all those who have collaborated, participated and supported me over the years. On a personal level, it's humbling to have my often risky and precarious work recognised in this way. The Paul Hamlyn Award grants time and freedom to reflect upon, develop and refine a creative practice. It offers great opportunity and invokes a fresh sense of responsibility. The current mood of profound global change demands a complete reevaluation from each of us, this is a chance to reflect upon how, what, why, where, and for whom, I create. I hope to use the award to respond to these urgent questions.
Nathaniel Mann

Examples of work

SF Cody: A Rushmoor Epic, 2017-19

Approximately 60 minutes duration (extract 2m 31s).
Performed by the Nepali and English Joint Traditional Musical Band. Featuring Leah Sinead, Tye McGivern and members of  Naumati Baja Gulmi UK. Commissioned by New Dimensions (Hampshire County Council). Performed 2 April 2017 at the Anvil in Basingstoke, in the presence of the Ambassador of Nepal.

Hope: Borg Al Amal - The Donkey Symphony (Movement 2), 2008

Donkey, viola de gamba, violin, cello, flute, five mezzo sopranos.
6 minutes 40 seconds duration (extract 1m 10s).
Commissioned by Lara Baladi to accompany her ephemeral sculptural tower. Conductor: Valery Mathuhin Ensemble: Ukraine’s State Camera Orchestra “Kievskaya Kamerata”.

Rough Music: Canto de Hilar, 2016

Extract 1m 6s. Traditional Spanish folksong, arranged for voice and tuned bronze meat cleavers percussion by Nathaniel Mann. Performed by Dead Rat Orchestra.

Pigeon Whistles, 2012-16

Pigeon whistles made from recycled materials: 35mm film pots, lolly sticks and sections of 12″ vinyl.

Duration variable (extract 1m).

Performed by Pigeon Pete’s flying orchestra of flute-carrying Birmingham Roller pigeons.