Larkhall is a composer and new media artist whose works combine his music, technology, and visual art. As a creative coder, he designs algorithms that react in real-time to what they hear, creating vivid imagery unique to every performance.
Put another way, the art listens to the music, and then paints itself.
Combined with Larkhall’s iconic post-classical style, the resulting experience compares more closely to cinema than a music recital. His 2014 album and tour debut was met with acclaim, with critics deeming his work “wildly successful,” “exceptional”, and “very powerful”. His second album, The Sea Was Never Blue (2019), debuted at #2 on the iTunes Classical chart, and received support from Arts Council England.
Also known by his given name Charlie Williams, the UK-based neo-classical composer connected technology and music at an early age, using his home computer to compose orchestral music for his high school theatre productions. With music tastes that didn’t align with what he saw then as the gritty, over-serious aesthetic of contemporary classical music, he left music school to develop his craft in the Chicago indie scene, touring with synth-pop group Le Concorde, chamber-pop octet Canasta, garage-pop trio Please Please Wait, and piano-driven indie rockers Mira Mira.
Williams’ musical profile began to rise, leading to collaboration with artists such as Grammy-winning new music ensemble eighth blackbird. He also amassed honors including the Shostakovich International Piano Competition jury prize for new music and a rare selection for the Britten-Pears New Music/New Media Programme. During the residency, he created e to one million places, a solo multimedia work which has since been performed at King’s Place Hall One (London) and TEDxAldeburgh.
Even more significantly, he developed the beginnings of his now signature style: entwining reactive digital art with post-classical piano.
Seeking greater expressive control over the technical side of his work, Williams taught himself how to code, enabling a concurrent career as a software developer in the meteoric tech industry. His work there includes developing Apple’s music-recognition app Shazam; Williams’ own app, Cuddlr, enjoyed international press coverage and over a quarter-million downloads. Armed with significant technical expertise, Williams codified his style into a new artistic identity, making his 2014 debut as Larkhall.
In the years to follow, cultural institutions outside music have recognized Larkhall for his innovations in live-generative visual art. Recent artist-in-residence positions include the Cardiff School of Art & Design and The Studio at Palace Yard Mews (Bath Spa University). While artist-in-residence at Wageningen University, he created biomimetic circuit art inspired by the communication patterns used between trees and fungi, and gave the TEDx talk “Never give up on quitting”. Williams’ algorithmic video installations have screened at The Shanghai Expo, Museum of Rome, and the Arteles Centre (Finland); for the latter, he was awarded the Ritari Hyvämielksi, a Finnish ‘cultural knighthood.’
Williams resides in the bucolic Georgian city of Bath (UK) where he lives with his partner and children.
— Tom Lynch, NewCity
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