Simon Bookish

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Simon Bookish is the stage name of Leo Chadburn,[1] a British musician and composer, known for his work in experimental, electronic, pop and classical music. Originally from Coalville, Leicestershire,[2] he moved to London and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1997 to 2001.[3]

Work as Simon Bookish[edit]

To date, Chadburn has released three solo albums under the name Simon Bookish. The first two, Unfair/Funfair (2006) and Trainwreck/Raincheck (2007), combined his voice with synthesizers and laptop computers. His use of spoken word on Trainwreck/Raincheck and in live performances drew comparisons with "Bowie and Baudrillard, Burroughs and Byrne".[4] His third album, Everything/Everything (2008) featured an ensemble of brass instruments, saxophones, Farfisa organ, piano and harp. Chadburn describes this album as "a big band song cycle about science and information".[5][6]

Chadburn's most recent release as Simon Bookish was Red and Blue EP (2015), an experimental piece based on correspondence between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.[7]

He has provided remixes of songs for bands and artists such as Grizzly Bear, Franz Ferdinand, The Organ, Owen Pallett, Seb Rochford and Late of the Pier.[8] He has also contributed tracks to the compilation albums Worried Noodles (2007),[9] a compilation of songs with lyrics by artist David Shrigley,[10] and The Wall Re-built! (2010), which celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pink Floyd's The Wall, for Mojo Magazine.[11]

Work as Leo Chadburn[edit]

Classical works[edit]

Under his real name, Chadburn has written several works for classical music groups. These include Unison: Things Are Getting Worse for a large ensemble of pianists, performed at the showroom of Markson Pianos in 2010[12][13] and X Chairman Maos, written for the ensemble Apartment House and performed at the De La Warr Pavilion to coincide with their Andy Warhol exhibition in 2011.[12][14]

Chadburn is currently an associate composer of the London Symphony Orchestra,[15] who performed his piece Brown Leather Sofa in 2013.[16]

His string quartet, The Indistinguishables was performed at the 2014 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival[17] and his piece for chamber ensemble, Freezywater, commissioned by The Wigmore Hall and performed by Apartment House, won a 2016 British Composer Award.[18]


Chadburn has collaborated on a number of projects with visual artists.[12] In 2009, he wrote the score for Richard Grayson's video installation The Golden Space City of God (exhibited at Matt's Gallery, London and Artpace, San Antonio), which featured a choir shot on location in Texas singing cult religious texts.[19][20]

In 2012 he collaborated with the artist Tanya Axford on a piece entitled The Path Made by a Boat in Sound (Three Down) for the Whitstable Biennale,[21] and with video artist Jennet Thomas, on her work School of Change, a "sci-fi musical film", again exhibited at Matt's Gallery.[22]

He went on to work with the conceptual artist Cerith Wyn Evans on a choral work for performance at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2013, based on Samuel Beckett's prose text Imagination Dead Imagine.[23]

Chadburn has also written music for the theatre, working with the Royal National Theatre on a new musical score for their 2007 production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, in which he also played the part of "The Singer".[24]

As a performer, he has contributed to the albums of Leafcutter John, Max de Wardener, Patrick Wolf, Serafina Steer and Saint Etienne, credited with recorders, bass clarinet and vocals.[25] He is also credited as a producer on classical percussionist Joby Burgess' album 24 Lies Per Second (2013).[26]

He has occasionally performed works by other experimental composers, including John Cage[27] and Frederic Rzewski, whose piece Coming Together he presented at the first London Contemporary Music Festival in 2013.[28]


In addition to his work as a musician, Chadburn has written reviews and articles about classical and pop music for The Quietus, Frieze, the New Statesman and The Wire.[29]


Albums as Simon Bookish[edit]

  • Unfair/Funfair (2006, Use Your Teeth)
  • Trainwreck/Raincheck (2007, Use Your Teeth)
  • Everything/Everything (2008, Tomlab)

Albums as Leo Chadburn[edit]

  • Epigram/Microgram (2013, Library of Nothing)


  1. ^ "Simon Bookish Takes on Everything on Third Album". Pitchfork Media. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Scott, Neil. "The Mind's Construction Quarterly > Simon Bookish". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Leo Chadburn (16 February 2010). "Guest Blog: Simon Bookish on His Favorite Album of the Decade". Under the Radar. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Brainlove, John. "Review / Simon Bookish @ Nog Gallery, Durham". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Luke Turner (7 November 2008). "Simon Bookish Goes Big Band To Sing Particle Physics And Linguistics". The Quietus. Retrieved 30 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "tomlab". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Quietus Reviews Simon Bookish". Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  8. ^ "SIMON BOOKISH / LEO CHADBURN – REMIXES". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Simon Bookish Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "BBC – collective". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Various – The Wall Re-Built! Disc Two (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "SIMON BOOKISH / LEO CHADBURN – PROJECTS". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Cunningham, David. "a lot of pianos..." Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Apartment House + Simon Bookish". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Composers – LSO Soundhub". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "Saturday 13 April: 5pm & 7.30pm – London Symphony Orchestra [PDF]". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Leo Chadburn Composer's Kitchen 2014". Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  18. ^ "BRITISH COMPOSER AWARDS". Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  19. ^ "Matt's Gallery – Richard Grayson: The Golden Space City of God". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Januszczak, Waldemar Januszczak (13 August 2013). "Give credit to the crunch; A rewarding trip to East End galleries proves to Waldemar Januszczak that at least our bad times beget better art". Sunday Times. 
  21. ^ "Tanya Axford". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "Matt's Gallery – Jennet Thomas: All Suffering Soon to End". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  23. ^ "An exhibition exploring art and cinema at the Irish Museum of Modern Art". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  24. ^ Sam Marlowe (13 March 2007). "The Caucasian Chalk Circle". The Times. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  25. ^ "Leo Chadburn Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  26. ^ "24 Lies Per Second – Joby Burgess, Powerplant | Credits – AllMusic". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "Kammer Klang: Sebastian Roux + Jennifer Walshe + Lucy Railton/Leo Chadburn: 21 May 2013". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  28. ^ "LondonJazz: Review: Final Two Days at the London Contemporary Music Festival, Peckham". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  29. ^ "LEO CHADBURN – WRITING". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 

External links[edit]