Glover, Richard (2012) Phill Niblock through the Ages. In: MuGI conference on 'Gender, Musical Creativity and Age', 6th - 7th October 2012, University of Huddersfied. (Unpublished)

Phill Niblock is a composer who, at the age of 79, is known for making sustained tone pieces which have maintained a remarkable similarity throughout his 40-year career.
The notion of a ‘late style’ seems somewhat irrelevant within his oevre, as the only differences have been in the varying technologies used to create the ‘Niblock sound’. The paper will briefly outline his creative approach, but will largely focus upon how the composer views his own lineage from early experiments in the 60s through to recent commissions, and how, by remaining fixed upon a distinctly singular approach into his later years, his music receives more performances and wider dissemination now than at any previous point in his career. His orchestral commissions of the last decade are discussed as simply extensions of his approach, rather than as separate creative strands, and the manner in which Niblock has embraced changing technology in his later years is described, along with how that technology has been subsumed into his singular approach.

The paper also discusses Niblock’s single-minded approach in relation to the standard compositional teaching centred upon personal development and evolution, and seeks to question whether the approach of artists such as Niblock, who seek not to expand the nature of their output but simply to continue it, shouldn’t be seen more clearly as a route for younger creative artists to follow rather than avoid.

Niblock_and_age_paper.pdf - Accepted Version

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