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Phil Taylor
Beauty and the Beast

– Posted in: Hebden Bridge Piano Festival 2020

Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th April – times tbc

A juxtaposition of our Industrial Heritage and Nature experienced through ambient jazz piano, electronics and video.

Beauty and the Beast
a journey through industrial history, a sneaky peek inside obsolete and derelict mills, factories, power and chemical plants, tracing the steps from primitive industry to modern industrial plant and then to its demise. The piece is a kaleidoscopic trippy montage of images, sounds and live and processed piano in eight movements. The last movement gives an example of how repurposing industrial and urban sites can provide hope for the future and demonstrates how beautiful things can grow from the desolation of our industrial heritage. 

Beauty and the Beast:

  1. of ancient industry and nature
  2. of the later industrial revolution 
  3. of mechanical inventions
  4. of industrial plant and chemistry
  5. of the detail of things 
  6. of electricity
  7. of the artefacts we leave behind
  8. of regeneration and nature

The piece is commissioned by Hebden Bridge Piano Festival for their 2020 festival and is written and performed by Phil Taylor.

Phil Taylor’s early years saw him playing in the Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall with the Darlington Youth Big Band, working with Ronnie Scott and John Dankworth. He attended the John Dankworth and Cleo Lane summer schools, studying composition with Mike Gibbs and Neil Ardley where he developed a fascination for music created by electronics. Phil attended City University studying music, ethnomusicology and composition and gained experience in their recording studio; during this time, he studied clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music.

Phil moved into computing but after a career in IT, he concentrated on composition: his electronic and jazz ambient works are released on all major streaming services. He released two ambient electronic albums under the name Secret Perdu in 2011 which grew out of a commission for background music for a yoga class, “Haga” and  “Burial Rites”. Phil continued with the Secret Perdu name for two following releases: “Minor Planets” in 2017, a solo piano album with asteroids as its theme, and “Hauntings” in 2018 which has a varied range of tracks from solo piano to jazz ensemble, each track based on a haunted site in the UK. Both albums were recorded on antique Blüthner grand pianos.

In 2013, in collaboration with the Walking Wiltshire White Horses Project, Phil composed several short electronic soundscapes which were played at art installations at the sites of the Wiltshire White Horses. This collection has been archived and is available here.

In 2015 Phil won the Yorkshire Late Starters Strings New Music Competition with s composition for string orchestra “I See Faces in Everything”. 

In 2017 Phil’s winning piece for full concert band was performed by the West Point Band of the United States Military Academy as part of their 200 year celebrations.

Elsewhere, Phil’s compositions and electronic soundscapes have been performed at the Swiss Contemporary Music Festival, by Annelle Gregory, Kathryn Tickell and The Side, Maksim Velichkin, the Nautilus Brass Quintet, Courtney Sherman, Contemporary Music for All Leeds, Windy Valley Ringers, LivingVoid Project, H2 Saxophone Quartet, Artdesamis Piano Trio, the Livas Clarinet Quartet, and Dr Liana Valente. His larger scale compositions have been workshopped by the Maggini Quartet, Emily Howard, Sally Beamish and Michael Finnissy. Some of Phil’s musings and compositions are available on his SoundCloud profile

As a sideline, recently Phil created the “Flame Retardant Bears” rock project, involving local singer songwriter Andrew Close. The Flame Retardant Bears have released three albums: “Angel 777” in 2017, “Driving up to Louisville” (2018) and “Running and Hiding” (2019).

Phil lives in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire. He plays clarinet, saxophones, violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano and has played with the Northern Wagner Orchestra, CoMA Leeds, Leeds Haydn Players, the Halifax Symphony Orchestra and chamber groups in the West Yorkshire area. His latest passion is viola da gamba.

This new piece, commissioned by Hebden Bridge Piano Festival Festival, is in memory of Phil’s civil partner Tim Taylor Willson.
Tim was a much-loved, very active member of our Board and one of the Festival’s most enthusiastic advocates from its inception. We miss him a great deal.