Simon Rackham

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Simon Rackham (born 1964) is an English composer and artist. From 1983-1988, studied composition and French horn at the Royal Academy of Music (London). Probably best known for his work; ‘Which ever way your nose bends’ the first commission by the six piano ensemble Piano Circus, composed as a companion piece to Steve Reich’s ‘Six Pianos’ & released on their eponymous album by Argo Records (UK) in 1992. In the late eighties he co-founded the group ‘3 or 4 composers’ (with Laurence Crane, Helen Ottaway, Melanie Pappenheim & Jocelyn Pook). He has released over fifty albums (mainly music for piano) through CD Baby. In 2012 his authorized arrangement for solo piano of Steve Reich’s ‘Clapping Music’ was released on the album ‘Which way is up?’.

Musical work[edit]

His music is broadly described as postminimalist or minimalist being influenced by Terry Riley, Philip Glass et al., but another important influence was the work of the so-called English experimental composers such as Howard Skempton, Michael Parsons & Christopher Hobbs, and his association with Laurence Crane and Graham Fitkin. Many works have a conceptual basis, or work through various processes as in Systems music. Rackham's works are mainly composed within a rigidly defined Diatonic scale. Tempo and dynamics (music) generally remain constant throughout the entirety of a piece. Various albums containing longer pieces ('Harmonium Music', 'Man Made Music', 'Slow Motion Music', 'Audiophilia', 'Triadic Variations' etc.) could be described as being Ambient music. The series of works dealing with fundamental aspects of music; 'Tune', 'Harmony', 'Rhythm' & 'Sixty Minutes' (which is primarily concerned with time) have recently been released. His music has been used by various dance companies, and he has composed incidental music for various plays including the first British production of The Man Outside by Wolfgang Borchert. He performed in the original production of Tony Harrison's The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus both in Greece and at the Royal National Theatre London.

Visual art[edit]

Rackham's work has been exhibited in the UK, Holland and Italy. He has produced a large and diverse body of work, switching between more conventional painting and sculpture (including ceramics) and more conceptual art including Artist's books. Some of his text based work was exhibited and made available through Tanya Peixoto’s ‘bookartbookshop’ (London) in 2002, in an exhibition called ‘In Black and White’. He has also produced photographic and video works.

External links[edit]


1. The Independent, Thursday 11 June 1998, Phil Johnson

2. The Independent, Monday 5 May 1997, Phil Johnson



5. University of the West of England, Artist’s Book Yearbook 2003-2005