Cellist Neil Heyde, with sculpture by Antony Gormley,
at the performance event of Memory Field in 2008
at Antony Gormley’s Studio. Photograph by Filipa Cardoso,
courtesy Antony Gormley Studio.


Jim Aitchison works in the field of exploring intersections and rifts between art and music. As a composer, he specializes in engaging musically with art by leading visual artists, including Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo, Sir Antony Gormley, Peter Randall-Page, Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon, John Hoyland, Sir Terry Frost and Jeremy Annear. This was recognized in 2007 when he became the first and only composer to be given a fellowship by the Henry Moore Foundation, which occurred as the first of two fellowships at the Royal Academy of Music.

Past projects include a large scale response to the art of Gerhard Richter in 2014, supported by Arts Council England, the PRS for Music Foundation, Falmouth University, the Royal Academy of Music, Goldsmiths and Yamaha UK; a commission from Tate Modern to create music for their 2008/2009 Mark Rothko exhibition; a substantial performance event for his work with Antony Gormley, Memory Field, at Kings Place and the Royal Academy of Music; responses performed at the Royal Academy of Arts to Anish Kapoor’s remarkable 2009 exhibition; a project with Retorica inspired by Kazakh textiles for SOAS and the Brunei Gallery; responses to the Shibboleth installation by Doris Salcedo performed by violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern; and to sculpture by Antony Gormley performed at the artist’s studio. He has also created work in response to Jeremy Annear and Sir Terry Frost, and for performances at the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth in Dallas, the British Museum, Tate St Ives, the 2D2N Festival in Odessa and The Henry Moore Institute.

In visual work, he creates graphic scores in which aspects of musical notation are presented in an uncertain intersection between the optical and the sounded. However, these are not intended as generative blueprints for performance in the manner of traditional graphic scores, but rather the reverse: as the product of a process in which it is the original music that acts as a ‘score’ for a new visual object.

Forthcoming in 2017 is the culmination of a commission from The New Art Centre at Roche Court, Salisbury, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to respond to Sir Anthony Caro’s ‘Sea Music’ sculpture in Poole Harbour in Dorset, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; and a performance and film installation of newly commissioned material at Kestle Barton Gallery after Richard Serra’s verb list, with the new music ensemble Kevos.

He is an Associate Lecturer at Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts and has recently completed an Honorary Research Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music.