Friday 2 July 2021

Planted Symphony: Lucy Hale's final piece re-imagined as an audio trail

“A young white woman is in a large park, sitting on one of several small colourful stools. She is listening to the audio trail on large headphones and looking at the silk bunting fluttering in the breeze.
Lucy Hale: Planted Symphony installation - Drake Music (Photo Becky Morris Knight)

The composer Lucy Hale died in January 2021, she was 26 and she was disabled, yet managed to achieve a great deal. She had a place on the Royal Philharmonic Society's Composers programme [read the RPS tribute to her] as the Rosie Johnson RPS / Wigmore Hall Apprentice Composer 2020-21, and she was set to write a new work for performance at the Wigmore later this year. She was the inaugural Young Composer-in-Association with BSO Resound, Young Composer-in-Residence with Orchestras for All, and a dedicated Associate Musician with Drake Music. 

At the time of her death she was working on a new piece, Planted Symphony. This has been re-imagined as an audio trail, commissioned by Drake Music and touring to Milton Keynes International Festival, Inside Out in Dorset, and Waltham Forest this Summer, fully accessible via smartphones.

Hales’ initial composition sketches with Musical Director, Ben Sellers have been developed and arranged by Cassandra Gurling with poet Dave Young (The Shouting Mute) providing the words. With narration and audio description by Nickie Miles-Wildin and vocals by Miryam Solomon, the piece has been created by Disabled and non-disabled artists working together to honour Hales’ original ideas.

Planted Symphony tells the tale of Lagether, a herbalist who calls upon the natural world to help her heal, grow and be transformed. Using GPS, the music will automatically play into visitors' headphones as they move through the garden trails. Each movement will have an accompanying installation by Jon Van Beek including a giant welcome mat and wicker huts for solo journeys accompanied by a clarinet.

Planted Symphony will be at Milton Keynes International Festival (14-18 July 2021), Higham's Park, Waltham Forest (18 & 19 September 2021), Inside Out Festival, Dorset (24-26 September 2021) and online at from October 2021.

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