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Premiere of music composed by UWL academic plays to sold-out crowd

Composer and UWL academic Antonio Castells-Delgado

Music composed by UWL music technology lecturer and neo-classical composer Antonio Castells-Delgado had its UK premiere over the weekend, in front of a sold-out crowd. Inspired by research Jo Cox MP was doing when she was tragically killed, the composition had already caught the attention of national media ahead of the performance.

Titled Hhumann X, the work is a blend of classical and electronic sounds, which explores the apparent paradox of loneliness in today's hyper-connected society. Antonio began the project after reading research Labour MP Jo Cox commissioned for a report eventually published after her death in 2016, entitled ‘Combatting Loneliness one conversation at a time.’

Explaining his creative inspiration, Antonio said: ‘Jo Cox's report prompted me to reflect on the paradox that, at a time when technology - and social media in particular - enable a state of hyper-connection between us, loneliness and social isolation grow to epidemic levels. Her contribution to raising awareness of this issue was fundamental.’

The premiere took place on Saturday, 20 October, receiving a standing ovation from the packed audience at LSO St Luke’s, one of the foremost centres of art and culture in London. The day before, it was showcased in a pre-premiere show at Weston Hall, on UWL’s Ealing campus site. Performances involved a number of London College of Music students and graduates whom Antonio taught. 

‘As an academic and composer, it’s important for me to be active and push the limits of my ability and I strive to bring that into the classroom,’ Antonio said. ‘It’s not simple to mix classical and electronics in a seamless way, and Hhumann X is a particularly complex project, both artistically and technologically. For the students, it’s an opportunity for them to understand how real productions work and to interact with world class musicians and artists at a world class venue.'

Sara Raybould, Director of the London College of Music said: ‘This is a deeply moving composition that was exceptionally performed on the night. Antonio is an excellent representative of our academic staff at LCM – not only a fantastic teacher and mentor but also a highly regarded practitioner in his field who understands the fundamental value of getting students involved in real-world projects.’