Sennheiser sponsors University of Oxford to find new electronica talent

Sennheiser UK recently honoured its long-term relationship with the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford by holding the final of a new competition for original composition,

The company supported the project with the winning prizes and provided their K-array audio system to drive the live performances.

Sennheiser’s previous work with the University has included support for the Oxford Surround Composition and Research studio (OSCaR) – a bespoke, state-of-the-art electronic music studio, which opened last year.

This most recent collaboration, the Oxford/Sennheiser Electronic Music Prize (OSEMP), was held in early November, with 10 finalists chosen from over 100 entrants to perform their compositions in front of a live audience and a distinguished panel of judges, comprising of noted Electroacoustic composers Natasha Barrett and Trevor Wishart and the Music Faculty’s own professor of composition, Martyn Harry.

“Ever since the introduction of widely-available recording devices, composers have been manipulating sound to push the boundaries of music,” said Daniel Hulme, electronic music studio manager at the Faculty of Music. “As computers became the main workhorse in the studio, a whole new world of possibilities has opened up for sonic exploration and invention. The idea of OSEMP is to encourage composers to be as innovative and communicative as possible and to give a platform to those who may not otherwise be heard.”

The finalists performed a range of pieces which ranged from stereo to eight-channel surround sound. To ensure the audience experienced the compositions with the full surround experience, an eight-position K-array loudspeaker system was used. Featuring KR202s on the corners and KR102s on the cross position, the lightweight, self-powered K-array units meant that the performers could be situated in the centre of the room, with the audience around them but fully within the sound field.

"It was a fantastic opportunity for us to team up with a company with the international reputation of Sennheiser to support our activities in sound recording and studio composition,” explained Eric Clarke, heather professor of music at the Faculty of Music. “We’ve already benefitted hugely from both the expertise of the people who work for this renowned company and from their outstanding audio equipment. We hope to continue to develop the relationship long into the future.”