J O Morgan and Maria Stepanova with Sasha Dugdale (translator) with music from Phil France: 22 February 2020

Free event at the Whitworth Art Gallery on Saturday 22 February at 2.30-4.00. Everyone welcome. All areas of the Gallery are accessible and there are several parking bays on Denmark Road for disabled visitors.

J O Morgan

J. O. Morgan is the author of six books, each a single, book-length poem. His works have been shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the T.S.Eliot Prize, with his most recent book Assurances (2018) also winning the Costa Award for Poetry. His forthcoming work, The Martian’s Regress (due March 2020) is underpinned by aspects of ecology and migration, as well as the long-term future of the human race.




Maria Stepanova with Sasha Dugdale (translator)

Maria Stepanova is a poet, essayist, journalist and the author of ten poetry collections and two books of essays. She has been awarded several Russian and international literary awards (including the prestigious Andrey Bely Prize and Joseph Brodsky Fellowship). Her book In Memory of Memory is a book-length study in the field of cultural history. It won Russia’s Big Book Award in 2018 and will be published in English by New Directions in the US and Fitzcarraldo in the UK in 2020. Her collection of poems War of the Beasts and the Animals will be published in English by Bloodaxe in 2020.

Sasha Dugdale

Sasha Dugdale has published four collections of poems with Carcanet, most recently Joy in 2017 which was a PBS Choice. The title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016. She is a Russian translator and is currently working on translations of the Russian poet Maria Stepanova to be published by Bloodaxe and Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2020. She is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation and poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge (2018-2020).


Phil France

Originally from West Yorkshire, but now resident in Manchester, composer, bassist and producer Phil France is probably best known as a key collaborator alongside Jason Swinscoe in the Cinematic Orchestra, where he co-wrote, arranged and produced on classic albums including Everyday, Man With The Movie Camera, Ma Fleur and also the triple award winning soundtrack for The Crimson Wing nature documentary. In 2013 France released his debut solo album, The Swimmer (GOND016), an emotive, epic record influenced by the great second wave of film composers including John Carpenter and Vangelis, as well as minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass.

Five years later France presents the follow up, the enigmatically titled, Circle, which again represents a very personal journey for the artist. For France the album is an extension of work he began on The Swimmer. A process he has described as: “ blocks of sound containing intricate minimal arpeggiated patterns and electronic textures that develop and shift in subtle, original and melodic ways. The trancelike quality, mood and electronic character of title track Circle led France to think of the circular patterns which eventually became a potent concept for the album as for France “The Circle is infinite – During the process of making this record, I have been constantly reminded that nothing ever stays the same and that all is in constant flux. The challenge for me is always to respond positively, be aware of and seize the opportunity for progression constant change provides” And it is that sense of movement and flow, but also calm and beauty that permeates Circle and make it such a worthy successor to The Swimmer.

The Guardian:   ‘Phil France’s Circle sees the former Cinematic Orchestra bassist and composer creating a series of simple, unfolding minimal pieces, all arpeggiated synths and warm oscillator drones. The results sound, variously, like Vangelis discovering acid house, or Mike Oldfield mutating into Nils Frahm, or New Order’s Elegia transformed into a minimalist symphony’.

Gilles Peterson: ‘A brilliant album’.

About Janet Rogerson

Janet Rogerson
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