Music Première

Moments in Time by John Stead

The culmination of Open Bridges on the autumnal equinox 2017 – the world premiere of a new musique concrète acousmatic composition ‘Moments in Time’ by Hull based BAFTA award winning composer John Stead. Electro Acoustic Ensemble director, John diffused the live music featuring found sounds recorded from Hull bridges in octophonic sound to a full house at Hull’s Stage@TheDock, where the River Hull meets the Humber Estuary, in the shadow of the iconic buildings, The Deep, The Tidal Barrier, Millennium Bridge and the C4Di building.

Thank you to our Open Bridges event photographer Graeme Oxby for this gallery of photographs. Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…

Open Bridges Programme: Live diffusions by John Stead in octophonic sound

Moments in Time (2017) by John Stead -duration 20.17

Elementa (1998) by Jean-Claude Risset

Cycle du Son (1998) by Francis Dhomont

“We were delighted when John accepted our request to compose a new musical work. The world premiere of John’s piece, Moments in Time was a wonderful, quite surreal experience.  The music, diffused by eight loudspeakers swirled around the amphitheatre, filling the space and immersing the audience in sound, building from the delicate splashes of Tibetan bells to powerful wave like crescendos sweeping from one side of the space to the other. It was a fascinating experience to see the capacity crowd at the Stage@TheDock moving around the amphitheatre some people clearly listening intently to the music, absorbing every sound, others slowly moving their bodies in otherworldly dances. Unexpectedly – for me – as the sounds swelled to crashing waves and deep metallic bridge movements the crowd moved faster, and as the music diminished to exquisite tiny single bells the crowd slowed and stopped in their tracks. The whole experience was incredible, taking us on a journey from the countryside source of the River Hull to it’s industrial urban purpose to finally come full circle and set us down back in the fields – something we will never forget.”

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard September 2017

Open Bridges copyright Richard Duffy-Howard
John Stead recording North Bridge for Open Bridges photograph by Richard Duffy-Howard

John Stead is a multi-award winning and internationally respected composer who has lived in Hull for most of his working life. Best known for light and sound installations, John’s work throughout the UK includes son et lumieres to celebrate the opening of Hull Tidal Barrier and Princes Quay, sacred space installations Day of Light at Lastingham and Another Mighty Angel at York’s NCEM.

“A short time after I had been given this commission I was walking in the Wolds, listening to rooks calling and decided to record them. At that point I realised these sounds would begin this work – everything else followed…” John Stead 2017

Composer John Stead
Portrait of John Stead at Open Bridges photograph by Graeme Oxby

Visit the Electro Acoustic Ensemble website

Open Bridges is a whole tapestry of threads. It’s a celebration of Hull’s lifeblood, the River Hull, 13 movable bridges, the vessels that use the river and the heritage & culture that have grown up in both East and West Hull.


Project concept Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard