philip venables

Laura Sings (Oklahoma)

Philip Venables
& Laura Jayne Bowler

Philip Venables


Philip Venables’ music is often concerned with violence, politics and speech within concert music and opera. His work has been recently described as “brutally effective” (Times), “brutally exhilarating” (Seen & Heard), “duly playful and occasionally disturbing” (Guardian), “a dark and violent portrait of sexual desire” ( and “original and intelligent in both form and content… reminiscent of Mathew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle; dripping in inexplicable meaning” (Exeunt Magazine). And most recently, from The Guardian: “Venables’s Illusions, a collaboration with performance artist David Hoyle, baIers at the limits of form, emotion and sexuality in a ferocious assertion of LGBT individualism in the face of establishment nihilism and uncertainty – a brilliant, extreme work that grips like a vice and won’t let go.”


Philip’s music has been performed and broadcast internationally. Performers and commissioners include The Royal Opera, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Wigmore Hall, London Contemporary Opera, ( The Schmürz, with writer Michael Brett), the London Sinfonietta (The Revenge of Miguel Cotto with poet Steven Fowler; Illusions with performance artist David Hoyle), Endymion & EXAUDI (numbers 76-80: tristan und isolde), Ensemble 10-10 (ANIMA), Black Dyke Brass Band, Rambert Dance, HAU Theater Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg and Theater Basel.


In 2016 Philip made his Royal Opera debut with 4.48 Psychosis (dir. Ted Huffman), the first ever permitted adaptation of any of Sarah Kane’s work. 4.48 Psychosis won the UK Theatre Award 2016 for Achievement in Opera. It was universally acclaimed: “Venables proves he’s one of the finest composers around” (Guardian); “He challenges the conventions of opera. Via an array of resources he ambushes and refreshes an old art form.” (Observer); “Experimentation in the service of absolute emotional precision: Venables’ economical work is one of the most exhilarating operas in years, even while it gives voice to some of the darkest thoughts imaginable.” (Spectator).

Other recent projects include Bound to Hurt, a collaboration with Turner prize-winner Douglas Gordon. Forthcoming projects include a violin concerto, a new version of Illusions for the New Music Biennial 2017, development of a verbatim opera project based on victims’ accounts of rape with Size Zero Opera and a revival of Unleashed. In 2017 Philip will take a residency at MacDowell colony in New Hampshire. His debut disc of chamber music will be released by NMC in 2018.


Philip Venables was born in Chester in 1979 and lives between London and Berlin. He studied at Cambridge University and then with Philip Cashian and David Sawer at the Royal Academy of Music, which elected him Associate (ARAM) in 2016 for his significant contribution to composition. Philip was awarded an AHRC grant for Ph.D research into speech, violence and music at the Royal Academy of Music from 2012-13, and was a Soundhub Associate with the LSO at St Luke’s in the same season. From 2013–2016 he was Doctoral Composer in Residence with the Royal Opera House and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, studying with Julian Philips and James Weeks. He is a director of the agency Bright Ivy Ltd.


Photo credit: Harald Hoffmann


laura jayne bowler

Laura Jayne Bowler


Laura Jayne Bowler is a composer, vocalist and Artistic Director living and working in London and Manchester. Laura is also a Professor of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she teaches on the MA in Opera Making course and a Lecturer of Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music.

As a composer she has been commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Opera Group, ROH2, Tete a Tete Opera, Grimeborn Opera, London Sinfonietta, Esbjerg Ensemble (Denmark), Ensemble Lydenskab (Denmark) Ensemble Linea (France), Lafayette Quartet (Canada) and The Kreutzer Quartet among others and has received performances throughout Europe, Canada and the USA.

During her studies Laura was accepted as a scholarship student to several composition summer schools including the Voix Nouvelles Composition Course at the Fondation Royaumont with Brian Ferneyhough, the IMD Darmstadt summer school and the Dartington International Festival Advanced Composition course with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in 2008, and with Gerald Barry and Richard Baker in 2011.

Laura is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Size Zero Opera, a company specialising in the creation and performance of contemporary opera with emerging opera creatives in exciting and challenging ways. Size Zero Opera were ensemble in residence at the Performer's Voice Symposium in October 2011 in Singapore. In 2014, Size Zero Opera commissioned and co-produced the world premiere of Jennifer Walshe's opera, Training is the Opposite, with Quatour Bozzini.In 2017, the opera toured to Canada. Current projects include a new verbatim opera collaboratively composed by Laura Bowler and Philip Venables, directed by PatrIck Eakin Young (Opera Erratica).

Laura is also an Opera/Theatre Director and studied on the MA in Theatre Directing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). She has worked as a director with her company, Size Zero Opera, and with Den Jyske Opera. She has worked as an assistant at Glydnebourne Opera, Opera Holland Park , Told By An Idiot and National Theatre of Scotland amongst others.

As a vocalist, Laura has premiered works by many composers across the globe including  Jennifer Walshe, Louis Aguirre, Diana Soh and Darren Bloom.

Having completed her BMus (Hons) at the Royal Northern College of Music studying with Adam Gorb, and as an Erasmus scholar at the Sibelius Academy of Music with Tapio Tuomela, followed by her Masters in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music studying with David Sawer and Gary Carpenter generously supported by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Scholarship, she was awarded her PhD in Composition funded by the AHRC at the Royal Academy of Music supervised by Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Gary Carpenter.


Laura Sings (Oklahoma)
Philip Venables & Laura Jayne Bowler
Commissioned by
Manchester Opera Project

Co-commissioned by Size Zero Opera

Made possible with the generous support of
Arts Council England & the PRS Composer’s Fund.


40 BLOSSOM STREET, MANCHESTER, M4 6BF THURSDAY 27 July 2017 | 8.30pm (doors open 8:00)

The bar will be open from 8:00. Come have a pre-performance drink or two and have a chat. 



£12 in advance via Eventbrite
£15 at the door
This is one of three monodramas to be
performed at this event.


mop | | |

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle