Helen Ottaway

Helen Ottaway

(United Kingdom)

Helen is a composer, sound artist and curator based in the South West of the UK. She is the lead artist for Artmusic which creates, produces and promotes collaborative, participatory and site-specific art work. Finding inspiration in beauty, statistics, coincidence and a sense of place, her work embraces theatre, choreography, mapping and field recording.

I have always been interested in the physical aspects of music making, particularly the moment when gesture becomes sound. My early compositions with the writing and performing group 3 or 4 Composers were presented in a theatrical format with particular focus on the physicality and gestural qualities of performance. With Artmusic, formed in 1999, I have continued to collaborate with artists from other disciplines creating site specific and interactive work in urban and rural landscapes for festivals and venues across the UK and abroad.

Commissions include Salisbury Cathedral, BBC2, Bath Film Festival, Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture, Oerol Festival in the Netherlands and Inside Out Dorset and my work has been performed in many locations including the ICA, London, a disused quarry in East Mendip and a remote Dorset woodland.

In 2017 I was invited to take part in the Sura Medura International artists residency in Sri Lanka. Coming soon after the death of my mother, the residency provided the opportunity to explore ideas of loss and absence in my work, producing a series of sketches towards a large scale work - a new kind of requiem. I began writing for a hand wound musical box, creating scores of ever increasing length, the most recent being 'Wind and Unwind', for musical box and voice with a 15 metre punched paper score, commissioned by Inside Out Dorset for Dorset Moon in Sherborne Abbey, July 2019.

Also in 2019 I curated LISTEN a season of sound art at Black Swan Arts in Frome, Somerset working with local, national and international artists and culminating with hosting Sound Walk Sunday in the West Country.

In 2020 I was awarded a 'Develop Your Creative Practice' grant by Arts Council England. In 'Walking with Words' I collaborated with writers Amy McCaulay (following in the footsteps of T. S. Elliot beside the Thames in London), Rosie Jackson (with whom I'm developing a walking requiem for performance in 2023) and Ralph Hoyte (developing his poem 'Winscombe to Priddy Nine Barrows' into a geo-located sound walk and other poetic/musical forms)

Recent followers

4
Jonathan Kempster
Tony Horitz
Molly Wagner
Mirah
  • Helen Ottaway
  • walk · listen · café

    Songs of place and time

    Mike Collier
    Geoff Sample
    Andrew Stuck
    · 2021-04-20 18:00
  • Helen Ottaway
  • walk · listen · café SWS20

    On line meet up with Horatio Clare: Slow Radio – a new way of thinking about, making and listening to radio?

    Horatio Clare
    Andrew Stuck
    · 2020-09-01 18:00
  • Helen Ottaway

    The Path is Made by Walking

    Helen Ottaway
    · 25 Sep, 2020
  • Helen Ottaway
  • Walking Event SWS20

    The spaces between the words – Practices of locative literature

    Geert Vermeire
    Andrew Stuck
    Stefaan van Biesen
    Elspeth Penfold
    Lucy Jeffery
    · 2020-09-25 18:00
  • Helen Ottaway
  • walk · listen · café SWS20

    On line meet up with composer Helen Ottaway: The role of movement in the participation in and appreciation of art

    Helen Ottaway
    Geert Vermeire
    · 2020-09-28 18:00
  • walk · listen · café SWS20

    On line meet up with composer Helen Ottaway: The role of movement in the participation in and appreciation of art

    Helen Ottaway
    Geert Vermeire
    · 2020-09-28 18:00
  • Helen Ottaway – 30 Days...

    The Path is Made by Walking

    Helen Ottaway
    · 14 Aug, 2020
  • Helen Ottaway

    White Storks online

    Helen Ottaway
    · 27 Jul, 2020
  • Helen Ottaway

    Birds and music

    Helen Ottaway
    · 17 Jul, 2020
  • Helen Ottaway

    Off to Knepp

    Helen Ottaway
    · 11 Jul, 2020
  • Helen Ottaway

    Pencil and paper

    Helen Ottaway
    · 10 Jul, 2020
  • Helen Ottaway

    White Storks arriving

    Helen Ottaway
    · 29 Jun, 2020
  • Helen Ottaway

    Music for the White Storks

    Helen Ottaway
    · 8 Jun, 2020
  • Walking Event

    Poetry in Motion: The Emma Sheppard Walk

    Helen Ottaway
    · LISTEN, A Se... · 2019-08-31 10:00
  • Helen Ottaway

    LISTEN

    Helen Ottaway
    · 10 May, 2019
  • Helen Ottaway

    New Spring Project

    Helen Ottaway
    · 8 Mar, 2019
  • Walking Piece

    Lachrymae

    Helen Ottaway
    · Artmusic · Since 2016
  • Helen Ottaway

    Sura Medura exhibitions in Edinburgh and Glasgow

    Helen Ottaway
    · 30 Jul, 2018