Half the Sky: Music of Lindsay Cooper

Conference item

Cawkwell, Y. 2017. Half the Sky: Music of Lindsay Cooper. The First International Conference on Women's Work in Music. Bangor University 04 - 07 Sep 2017
AuthorsCawkwell, Y.

'Half the Sky: Music of Lindsay Cooper'

Lindsay Cooper (1951-2013) brought bassoon and the compositional techniques of 20th century art music into the world of ‘70s experimental rock. She was a musical polyglot, equally fluent in classical, rock, jazz, and free improvisation and the author of many film and theatre soundtracks. She was a member of the groups Comus, Henry Cow, National Health, David Thomas and the Pedestrians and the Mike Westbrook Orchestra. She co-founded News from Babel and the Feminist Improvising Group and led her own projects Music for Films and Oh Moscow. She lived for many years with multiple sclerosis, which eventually forced her to retire from performing in the 1990s.

In this presentation, I will discuss how we approach, present and deliver her compositions with Half the Sky, an Anglo-Japanese band formed to perform her pieces originally in Japan, including original members of Henry Cow and News from Babel, which takes a careful and conscious approach to keep her music alive while raising awareness and gaining recognition of women’s contribution in the field of experimental rock under a female musical director, following her general practice and the example of the original bands - Henry Cow (50% female) and News from Babel (75% female).

KeywordsLindsay Cooper; avant rock; feminism; female composer; Henry Cow; Half the Sky; Lindsay Cooper Songbook
ConferenceThe First International Conference on Women's Work in Music
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Apr 2022
FunderUniversity of East London
Additional information

Conference presentation on the performance of Lindsay Cooper compositions as part of a session grouped as presenting performance footage and sharing experience.

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