Eleanor Cully

Throughout the month of March, in support of International Women's Day 2018, Sound and Music is showcasing incredibly talented women in music. On the British Music Collection we will be celebrating female composers both past and present, with a different profile featured every day.

Today, we recognise Eleanor Cully and her significant contribution to new music.

Eleanor Cully- "I have often been the only woman in a room full of composers, or one of few women. In fact I don’t recall being one of more than two female composers whose work is presented in a new music concert."

Inspired by images and written words, Eleanor Cully is a unique sound artist who utilises space and visual effects within her work. We spoke to Eleanor about her approach, and found her connection with - and consideration of - the title ‘composer’ to be particularly interesting. Here is what she had to say:

I often prefer the term ‘artist’ rather than composer - I think it covers the various things I do. I do change the term I use depending on the situation – who I am speaking with, what I am doing and what my idea is. At the end of the 2017 summer I was definitely feeling like an artist (as opposed to a composer) in that I was making sound works with visual elements and presenting them in spaces with visual artists. However, when working in collaboration with visual artists last year I was referred to as a composer by others, I guess to highlight the distinction, whether it feels important to the work or not.

I think what is important to me has been my preference to make things that are beyond me, things that are realised away from my direct involvement - wishes that may become true, words that may be interpreted one way or another, descriptions of experiences that become sounds.

I have recently been performing as a vocalist in collaboration with other composers, for which my role has been to have creative involvement especially in the way I presented the programme. For this I do not use the word composer to describe my creative role, but others may describe me as a composer to give some context/background to my work, as this is a recent shift.

Eleanor Cully's British Music Collection records can be found online here.


Composer Profile: Eleanor Cully