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Poppy Ackroyd

Poppy Ackroyd is a London-born, Edinburgh-based composer, pianist, and violinist. She plays her instruments conventionally, but also with drumsticks, e-bows, picks, and all ten fingers to pluck and scrape, creating unusual timbres and textures, while using the inside and outside of her instruments, then manipulates and multi-tracks her sounds via a computer and a live microphone. Despite the physical approach, her music is intricate, delicate, and lyrical as evidenced by her 2012 debut, Escapement and Feathers in 2014. While 2017's Sketches was performed completely solo, 2018's Resolve featured contributions from While 2017's Sketches was performed completely solo, 2018's Resolve featured contributions from Manu Delago, Jo Quail and Mike Lesirge, and inspired 2019's Resolve Reimagined EP, a collection of remixes. 2021's Pause marked a return to solo recording and inspired a remix EP titled Pause (Reworked) the following year. In 2023, the four-track Pause Reimagined appeared. Classically trained, Ackroyd is the daughter of celbrateed visual artist Norman Ackroyd, CBE RA. She possesses a Master's degree in music for piano performance. A student of modern piano music, she is a full-time member of the Hidden Orchestra. Ackroyd has collaborated with dancers, choreographers, actors, poets, filmmakers, and videographers. Her debut album, Escapement, appeared on Denovali in late 2012. A DVD version of the album, with visuals by Bristol-based audio-visual artist Lumen, was released in September of 2014. Ackroyd's second album, Feathers, soon followed. Expanding on the unique sound of her debut, the album's compositions featured parts for a few additional instruments, including harmonium and harpsichord, as well as cello by guest musician Su-a Lee. In 2017, Ackroyd signed to One Little Indian and released The Birds, an EP containing acoustic piano reworkings of pieces from her first two albums. All three of the EP's tracks were included on full-length Sketches, which included reworkings of previous compositions as well as rough cuts of four newer pieces that were later included on her February 2018 album Resolve. Ackroyd played upright and grand piano on the date -- inside and out -- using fingers, drumsticks, and plectrums (fingerpicks) – and then arranged and multi-tracked the resulting sounds. She employed the same technique to record herself on violin, pianino, harmonium, and spinet, and to record other musicians who played cello, flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet. It was followed by the eight-track companion album Resolve Reimagined in 2019. A collection of collaborative remixes, included contributions from Hauschka, Max Cooper, Hidden Orchestra, and others. Following performances and collaborations, Ackroyd settled down to compose during the COVID-19 pandemic. She emerged in 2021 with long player Pause, followed by her own four-track remix set, Pause Reworked in 2022, and Pause Reimagined EP in 2023, a series of collaborations with Anne Müller, Alexandra Hamilton-Ayers, Hinako Omori, and Christina Vantzou.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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