“Bastard Assignments are a welcome reminder of the value of risk in artistic creation” – Tim Rutherford-Johnson, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
“one of the most exciting forces in contemporary music” – Financial Times
Bastard Assignments are Timothy Cape, Edward Henderson, Caitlin Rowley and Josh Spear, four composer-performers making experimental music. We work collaboratively and have developed a shared practice encompassing concert music, movement work, online pieces, text, video, improvisation and performativity. We show our work across the UK and internationally and in 2023 are developing a new show-length, collaboratively composed work to be shown in 2024. We met in 2012, studying composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and started organising performances of our own work and providing a platform for other artists in London in 2013.
Our work in 2022 has included a collaboration with Ensemble Garage in Cologne which resulted in three new Bastard Assignments pieces – Edward Henderson’s One Two and Timothy Cape’s Zany History, which both drew on the combined performers of both groups, and Caitlin Rowley and Josh Spear’s co-composed From the Exquisite Dark for solo percussionist (Yuka Ohta, from Ensemble Garage) and live electronics.
In late 2021 we undertook a mini tour, performing programmes of our own work at Music Current in Dublin, Nonclassical and City University in London and at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. In 2022 we performed at the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival, premiering a new co-composed piece by Edward and Caitlin, and a live version of Alexander Schubert’s internet piece Browsing, Idling, Investigating, Dreaming, which we commissioned as part of our Lockdown Jams project in 2020.
The Lockdown Jams are a significant body of exploratory work made remotely over the internet, created across 2020 and 2021. The first pieces were short collaborative works created by us, but with the support of Arts Council England’s COVID Relief Fund, we commissioned a wide range of artists (including composers, choreographers, and theatre makers) to create eleven new online works for us to perform.
We have performed at the Aldeburgh Festival, Spor Festival in Århus, hcmf//, LCMF, VIRTUALLYREALITY in Manchester, Frontiers Festival in Birmingham, Konsertserien Periferien and Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Weisslich, Nonclassical, in Copenhagen and Århus with AUT, and have toured to the USA to work with Mocrep in Chicago. Our performances at Southbank Centre and Wellcome Collection were broadcast live on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now contemporary music programme, and we were invited to collaborate with electronica artist Swan Meat for a set of recordings for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction. Our members’ work has also been performed by other ensembles in Germany, Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the UK.
Bastard Assignments has been featured in articles and profiles in the Guardian, the Telegraph, Financial Times, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Positionen and The Wire magazine, and been reviewed in The Spectator, the Quietus and the Evening Standard. We featured on Leonie Reineke’s radio programme about English new music Junge zeitgenössische Szene in England broadcast on Deutchlandfunk.
From 2017-19, we were in residence at Snape Maltings as part of their Open Space programme. We received British Council Artists’ International Development Grants for performances in Berlin and Munich in Germany (2016) and Chicago in the USA (2018). Earlier projects received funding from the Sound and Music Composer Curator scheme, and we have received regular support from Arts Council England and PRSF since 2015 and 2016 respectively.
For more information on our members and their other projects, visit these websites: