Marc Yeats - Composer


His music is performed, commissioned and broadcast worldwide. Transduction, complex surface relationships, asynchronous alignments, contextual, harmonic and temporal ambiguities, polarised intensities and a visceral joy of sound are all primary concerns.

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Download my PhD thesis Control, Flexibility, Flux and Complexity: A Timecode-supported Approach to Polytemporal Orchestral Composition free from White Rose Ethesis Online.

About Marc Yeats

Dr Marc Yeats (music composition)  is one of the UK’s leading contemporary composers with his works having been performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and stations across Europe, Asia and Australasia. Described by Peter Maxwell Davies as “breathtakingly original”, and Professor Stephen Davismoon as “one of the most prolific and influential composers and creative artists of his generation in the UK”, Marc’s music explores transduction, complex sonic, perceptual, asynchronous and polytemporal relationships, sonic flux, contextual, harmonic and temporal ambiguities, polarised intensities and a visceral joy of sound. You can find out about Marc’s work as a landscape painter by visiting his painting website here: Marc’s paintings

Marc’s music has received performances around the world including The Edinburgh String Quartet (UK), the Chamber Group of Scotland (UK), Psappha (UK), Geert Callaert (BE), the London Sinfonietta (UK), the Endymion Ensemble (UK), Paragon Ensemble (UK), the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (UK), 175 East (N.Z.), Sarah Watts, SCAW (UK), Sarah Nicolls, Federico Mondelci, Contempo Ensemble (Italy), Rarescale (UK), Carla Rees (UK), The Scottish Clarinet Quartet (UK), Symposia (UK), the New York Miniaturists Ensemble (US), Trio IAMA (Greece), Dirk Amrein (Germany) Expatrio (UK), Chroma (UK), Kokoro (UK), Consortium5 (UK), Gleb Kanasevich (US) Ensemble Amorpha (UK), Meridian Brass (UK), Syzygy Ensemble (AU) Chamber Cartel (US) Carlton Vickers (US), XelmYa (DE), Ian Pace (UK), Ensemble Suono Giallo (IT) the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphomy Orchestra (UK), the Hallé Orchestra and Chorus (UK) conducted by Sir Mark Elder, Tokyo City Philharmonic (JP) and Gewandhaus Radio Orchestra (DE), for example.

Marc’s relationship with the BBC is both strong and enduring, starting with a BBC Scotland broadcast by the Edinburgh String Quartet of his flute quartet more than 20 years ago. His first orchestral work – I See Blue – conducted by Martin Brabbins with the BBC Philharmonic, received much acclaim when first performed and broadcast around the same time. Following shortly after, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies conducted the premiere of PAGAN II, again with the BBC Philharmonic for broadcast on BBC Radio 3. This led to specific BBC commissions, including a piano concerto for Kathryn Stott and the BBC Philharmonic to open Piano 2000 in Manchester, and later, a solo harpsichord piece ‘Rhema’, performed by Mahan Esfahani and broadcast in 2010 by BBC Radio 3 from the Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall in Leeds. Most recently, Marc’s timecode-supported polytemporal composition the unimportance of events for 22-players was premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra as part of Tectonics Glasgow 2021. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at a future date. This work has also been selected by BBC Radio 3 as one of three works representing the U.K. at the 2021 International Rostrum of Composers in Belgrade. More information here.

Selection as one of just 10 to attend the legendary Hoy Summer School in 1994 brought Marc into contact with the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. At the completion of the course, Max was keen to support and promote Marc’s work and conducted his first commission with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the St. Magnus Festival in 1997. He and Marc continued to share ideas, and Max took a great interest in Marc’s visual art and compositional work with mobile technologies and a range of timecode-supported polytemporal structural approaches to composition


Composers Edition

Marc is thrilled to be published with Composer’s Edition as of June 2019. “I’m excited to be part of Composers Edition. For too long it has been difficult to get hold of my compositions with publications and access scattered across a diverse number of outlets with no single collection point to publicise, house, print and distribute them. Being part of the CE publishing family means everything to do with the publication and distribution of my work will now flow through CE. This new situation suits me just fine as I am drawn to CE’s very non-corporate, personal operation and ethos and have been greatly encouraged by Dan and the team at CE having a genuine interest in me as a composer and in the music I write. Such genuine enthusiasm and support for new music are not easy to find in these populist, commercially driven times, especially among music publishers. I feel as if CE is a natural home for me and my work and am thrilled to be published with them”.

Marc has held composer-in-residence positions with Yeovil District and Dorchester County Hospitals, Chamber Cartel (USA) and a SATSYMPH LLP. Works such as My Blood Is As Red As Yours’ (an orchestral and choral piece commissioned by the Halle to celebrate World Aids Day in 2008 and performed at the Bridgewater Hall) and ‘Sturzstrum’ for massed voices and pebble chorus commissioned by Coastal Voices to celebrate the geology of the Jurassic Coast as part of the Cultural Olympiad for the 2012 Olympics, premiered 300 feet underground in Beer Quarry Caves, where, according to Tim Jones on Shuffle: “the volley of shrieks and bellows have a feral quality to them and create genuine excitement […]”, along with recent timecode-supported polytemporal compositions such as ‘shapeshifter’ (2015) and ‘the observation quartets’ (2015–16) and recent works for international virtuosi such as Ian Pace (piano) Sylvia Hinz (recorders), Gleb Kanasevich (clarinets) Sarah Watts (clarinets) and Carlton Vickers (flutes), continues to enhance his reputation as a leading contemporary composer.

You can download my electronic press pack (EPK) by clicking on the image at the top left of this paragraph.

Marc was awarded his doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy (music – practice-led)) from the University of Leeds School of Music in October 2021. His research concerned developing a new approach to polytemporal orchestral composition and performance and was funded by the AHRC through the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities

Control, Flexibility, Flux and Complexity: A Timecode-supported Approach to Polytemporal Orchestral Composition.

My current interests in composition involve creating fluid music that simultaneously brings together multiple, fully notated lines of material that operate in different, unrelated tempi, where notated material is fixed against part-embedded timecode read in conjunction with ensemble/orchestra-wide loosely synchronised mobile phone stopwatches that enable performers to reference their relative notational positions to their timeline positions in the music during the performance.

The subject of his recent Doctoral thesis at the School of Music, University of Leeds, (October 2021), timecode support provides a temporal framework that helps players maintain high degrees of structural and architectural cohesion despite the polytemporal, unsynchronised nature of the music. This polytemporal compositional approach explores the relationships between composer control (through notational signification – the instructions, signs and symbols on the page) and performer flexibility through mediation (how that notational signification is interpreted and especially how tempo indicators are mediated by players attempting to render specific speeds as indicated through precise tempo instructions). It is the flexible nature of the tension between composer control and player flexibility that produces flux, that is, a range of unpredictable (indeterminate) sonic outcomes brought about through the ever-changing contextual relationships of the material simultaneously mediated by multiple musicians. Resulting performances are never identical due to the shifts in these material contextual relationships – the flux produced – but do yield similar and recognisable versions of the original compositional model through the effective management of flux when using the temporal framework provided by timecode.

Download my PhD thesis free from White Rose Ethesis Online.

This flexibility produces performances that are always sympathetic and acceptable renditions of my compositional model – my blueprint – to deliver dense, complex, polytemporal musical structures. With no unifying pulse or beat and with each player following their own temporal trajectory, there is no need for a conductor. Each player, by reading the timecode in their parts in conjunction with their stopwatches, is responsible for their own pulse. They are their own conductor.

As there is no universal pulse-synchronisation there is no synchronised score produced for timecode-supported pieces. The flexible relationships between all instrumental parts cannot be usefully represented in a fixed and synchronised score format. Consequently, music is performed through parts alone. Therefore, timecode-supported polytemporal music for orchestra is conductor-less and scoreless with each musician performing in simultaneously independent tempi from parts alone.

This compositional and performance method offers new possibilities in writing and performing multi-tempi music by balancing composer control and player mediation to support structural coherence and flexible performance outcomes in through-composed orchestral music using managed flux to create complex sonic relationships. To find out more, visit here.

Music, Painting, Landscape and Me

Follow Marc’s story as he writes his new book titled Music, Painting, Landscape and Me.

Marc is making monthly videos following the progress of his book writing project, funded through a Continuing Your Artistic Development grant from Arts Council England. the videos are posted on The British Music Collection’s Spotlight pages and can be accessed by clicking here.

Would you like to become a patron and personally support my composition work through a regular monthly donation?

If so, you’ll be pleased to know this is now possible through Music Patron. To find out how to support me and more about Music Patron, click on the ‘support me on music Patron’ button.

Music Patron is the brainchild of composer, financier and philanthropist Anthony Bolton

Much of the great music of the past was sponsored by patronage; normally it was a few very rich patrons who used to sponsor composers giving them an income and allowing them to get on and compose. Music Patron facilitates the collection of smaller amounts from a much larger number of people which, together, can add up to a meaningful income for a composer. Additionally, Music Patron creates direct relationships between patrons and composers in a way that hasn’t been possible to date. With a direct relationship, the patron will experience the rewards of being much more involved in the creative process.

Patrons support composers directly with a small monthly donation, giving them a more sustainable income. This gives composers more freedom which in turn will empower them to spend more of their time creating new work

Patrons become part of the game-changing Music Patron community receiving unique opportunities to connect with composers, access to exclusive content and experience first-hand the difference their support makes.

100% of every Music Patron donation goes to the composer.

Some existing platforms allow artists and creators to accept donations or to generate revenue in exchange for access to content.

Music Patron is different.

Our focus is uniquely on composers, with a curated cohort showcasing the richness and diversity of composers creating new music in the UK.

Our ambition is to transform the prevailing funding climate for new music. By giving individual composers the financial freedom to create, Music Patron can play a meaningful role in assuring an inclusive, diverse and representative new music industry. 

Our vision is a unique connection between composer and patron. Music Patron is an invitation into a composer’s world, unlocking memorable creative insight and giving everyone the opportunity to play a part in the creation of new music.