Frances M Lynch

Composer and Singer

frances-m-lynch-image

Image by Herbie Clarke

  • BORN 18th January 1959 Glasgow, Scotland
  • WORKED Many locations in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and the USA
  • HONOURS  Three Weeks Editors’ Award 2016 “celebrating the ten people, productions and shows that, in our opinion, made this year’s Edinburgh Festival particularly special…. we celebrated Electric Voice Theatre for their truly inspirational show ‘Superwomen Of Science’…”

    Frances M Lynch is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund
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Scientific Connections

I have always been fascinated, if somewhat daunted, by science. It seemed to be a land that I could never understand let alone visit. However, once I started the Minerva Scientifica project in 2013, I gradually found myself surrounded by scientists engaged in a dizzying array of research areas who have the patience and understanding to help me, and other composers, enter at the edges of their worlds.

Compositions

Title: The Physics of Sound
Science: PHYSICS
Words: Frances M Lynch
Written in: 2018
For: Children’s Voices
Performed by: Eyemouth Primary School P6-7
World Premiere: Eyemouth Primary School, 25th June 2018

This is part of a longer song which was created to teach older primary children about physics and how sound moves in different media. This group mastered most of the song but we only managed to record this section!


Title: Storm in C
Scientist: MARJORY ROY
Words from: SYNOP Data Format (FM-12)
Written in: 2017
For: Female Voices
Performed by: Frances M Lynch
World Premiere:  A partial premiere took place on 26th October 2017, Eyemouth Hippodrome as part of Scottish Superwomen of Science

This music is part of the Stormsong 1881 Minerva Scientifica Project and was written in collaboration with Meteorologist, Marjory Roy. It is a direct translation of Meteorological data created from the Daily Weather Report which was published by the Met Office covering the period before during and after the storm of 1881.
It is a tribute to the community of Eyemouth, and their extraordinary courage and tenacity in recovering from the Great Disaster of 1881.

Title: Williamina, Astronomer fae Dundee 
Scientist: WILLIAMINA FLEMING
Words by: Frances M Lynch
Written in: 2016
For: Solo Voice and Sweeping Brush
Performed by: Frances M Lynch
World Premiere: 1st Aug 2016, The Book Club, Shoreditch, London, as part of events run by the Royal Society

I found the story of  Williamina Fleming irresistible – a heroine who rose from difficult circumstances to become a famous Astronomer. I based it on a traditional Jacobite tune – “The Piper O Dundee” as sourced from Hogg’s “Jacobite Relics of Scotland” (1821).  It  was written for the award winning Edinburgh Fringe show “Superwomen of Science” 

Title:  A Lament for Invertebrates
Scientist: KAREN DIELE
Words by: Frances M Lynch & Karen Diele
Written in: 2017
For: solo voice, with recordings of the environment at St. Abbs Marine Station and children from Canal View School making funny noises!
Performed by: Frances M Lynch
World Premiere: June 20th 2017, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus as part of the Scottish Superwomen of Science Project.

When I first met Karen Diele I was struck by her passion for her work both here in Scotland and in Brazil. She opened my eyes to an underwater world full of sound.
Her research with her colleagues Edward Bolger, Dr Rob Briers, Dr Mark Hartl, Petra Harsanyi, Dr Ted Henry, Nick Mackay-Roberts, Dr Sonja Rueckert, Kevin Scott, Matthew Wales at Edinburgh Napier University and St Abbs Marine Station forms the basis of the text – a series of questions they are addressing about the effects of noise on sea creatures.
The underwater sea world, also inspired by discussions with geo-physicist Dr Lara Kalnins includes the children of Primary 6, Canal View Primary school making sounds like the pistol crab, pile drivers and the final bubble curtain (made with a mixture of vocal sounds and straws in bottles of water) which helps reduce sound underwater.

masts logo Edinburgh Napier University LogoAmbache Charitable Trust Logo 

Title:  Muriel’s Eye (M wana wa nnyabo )
Scientist: MURIEL ROBERTSON
Words by: Frances M Lynch, Traditional
Additional Music:  Traditional Ugandan lullaby M wana wa nnyabo collected by Robinah Nazziwa
Written in: 2017
For: solo voice and female chorus
Performed by: Frances M Lynch
World Premiere: August 5th, 2017, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, part of “Scottish Superwomen of Science”

Women in all cultures have been creating and singing lullabies since time began. The piece uses a popular Ugandan lullaby collected by Robinah Nazziwa a local music teacher. It is in Lugandan – the language Muriel Robertson learnt from her assistants when she was working on sleeping sickness there. The African material contrasts with the story of her life and work, sung in the style of a traditional Scottish Song.

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Education

I was lucky enough to go to school in Scotland at a time when all children were assessed at an early age for their musical ability. A violin was then thrust into our arms, an instrument of torture to our families for years to come.
School provided a rich cultural environment which seemed to naturally lead on to studying singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, where composer Janet Beat inspired my interest in contemporary music which I moved to  City University, and Guildhall School of Music, London, to pursue.

Occupations

I sang, mainly contemporary music, with electronics, and just kept doing it until I became good enough to be invited to tour around to Festivals all over the world.
I founded the electric voice theatre, staging very difficult music as a producer and director.
I have a small teaching practice and love workshop leading with children.
Composing arrived by accident. I was working as music director to a theatre company when they decided they didn’t like the music…….. I became their resident composer for 10 years!

Musical Highlights

  • Premiering “A Night at the Chinese Opera” by Judith Weir with Kent Opera (and falling over a lot)
  • Performing at the BBCSO Cage Weekend at the Barbican dressed as a tramp
  • Being allowed to play in a gamelan orchestra
  • Our first Minerva Scientifica CD “The Franklin Effect” released by First Hand Records 2016
  • Every time my students or school groups make  progress

    Clovenstone Primary School Edinburgh Workshop

Did You Know?

I can make the sound of an elephant trumpeting…!

An Inspiring Woman

Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music) has been an inspiration since I first met her in London in the 80’s. Much earlier it was a nun who wrote music for us to sing on a weekly basis. I didn’t realise at the time that this was unusual, but I did recognise her work as being really first class.
These days I spend a lot of time finding and performing music by women composers from the past, introducing their work to children and commissioning contemporary women, all of whom are an inspiration.

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