Reader in Music & Sound

  • Academic
  • Research
Dr J. Harry Whalley

Harry Whalley lectures on the BMus Composition for Screen course and is an award-winning composer of contemporary classical, film and electroacoustic music. His research focuses on art-science collaborations in music, and he supervises PhD students in related areas. He is co-founder and director of the Audio Research Cluster and a member of the AHRC peer review panel.

Dr J. Harry Whalley


Harry's works have been performed around the world and on BBC Radio 3 by music groups such as the Hebrides Ensemble, Artisan Trio, Red Note Ensemble, Vancouver Miniaturists Ensemble, Gildas Quartet, Edinburgh Quartet, Ron Davis and many others. In addition, he has composed the scores for film and computer games that have been featured at film festivals around the world, including Palm Springs, LA, Berlin and London. Most recently his feature length score for ‘Bonnington: Mountaineer’ was premiered during the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in the Canadian Rockies.

In 2007 he received a first class honours BA Jazz Music degree from Middlesex University, where he studied under Nikki Iles and Malcolm Edmonstone. He received a Bucher-Fraser Scholarship for post-graduate study and was awarded an MMus in composition with distinction by the University of Edinburgh in 2010. He received a fully funded Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD studentship, which was passed without correction in 2014.

Harry has presented at many national conferences and has been published by Empirical Musicology Review and the Scottish Journal of Performance. He has been advisor and Head of Composition at Musemantik Inc. and has acted as the chairman of the Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble. He is on the board of the Surrey Music Hub and on the advisory board for ASCUS, a non-profit organization dedicated to Art/Science collaborations. In 2016 Harry was appointed as Composer in Residence for St. Vincent's Chapel, where his music is featured regularly. He is a member of the ARHC peer review Panel.

Research statement

Dr Whalley’s research ties together composition, technology and science. Exploring the underlying similarities of cross-disciplinary practice-led research. For example, using number theory, Neuroscience and Geology as catalysts for creative investigation.

Peer Reviewed Writing

  • Whalley J.H.  and Whalley W.B  (2021) Representing kinematics and dynamics by pattern-breaking in two-dimensions (plane)and without two dimensions (time). In Pattern and Chaos: Making and Meaning, Edited S. Horton, B. Salter and V.Mitchell. (in press)
  • S. Cunningham, M Brill, J. H Whalley, R Read, G. Anderson, S. Edwards, ... (2019) Assessing Wellbeing in People Living with Dementia Using Reminiscence Music with a Mobile App (Memory Tracks): A Mixed Methods Cohort Study In. Journal of Healthcare Engineering. pp. 1-10
  • Whalley, J.H., (2018) If This Then That: a wider view of curriculum design In. Journal of Useful Investigations in Creative Education
  • Whalley, J. H., Mavros, P. and Furniss, P. (2015). Clasp Together: Composing for Mind and Machine. Empirical Musicology Review 9 (3-4), 263-276 doi:
  • Whalley, J.H., (2014) Portfolio of compositions (PhD). University of Edinburgh.
  • Whalley, J. H., (2014) Book review: Music and the making of modern science, by Peter Pesic. Scottish Journal of Performance, [online, print] 2(1), pp.123-127.

Conference Papers

  • Whalley J.H (2021) [Presentation] Reflections on Memory. At: Music, Monuments, Memory, Durham University, UK
  • Whalley J.H (2021) [Panel Chairperson] Synesthetic Syntax. At: Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
  • Whalley J.H (2020) [Presentation] Seven rocks and String quartet. At: Geo-Poetry Edinburgh, Geological Society of London
  • Whalley J.H (2020) [Presentation] Old applications and new ways to help on-line tutoring At: Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Showcase, University of Chester
  • Whalley J.H. (2019)  [Presentation] Six Impossible Compositions before Breakfast. At: Audio Research Seminar Series, University for the Creative Arts
  • Whalley J.H. (2019) [Presentation] Progression into Higher Education and navigating UCAS. At: Conference of further and Higher Education, Surrey
  • Whalley J. H., Cunningham S., Brill M., Edwards S., Simpson S., Anderson G (2018) [Poster] Memory Tracks: Song-task association in dementia care. At: Solent Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Southampton Solent.
  • Whalley J. H. (2018) [Presentation] Projecting the pen: Real time composition using overhead projection. At: Material Cultures of Music Notation, Utrecht.
  • Whalley J. H. (2017) [Presentation] Vaporwave. At: Continental Drift: A Contrary of Jazz on Record, Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.
  • Whalley J. H. (2016) [Keynote Presentation] At: The Well-Tempered Brain, Nano Thought Symphonies, Summerhall, Edinburgh
  • Whalley J. H. (2016) [Presentation] Task Switching; Implications in Music Education and Performance. At: 32nd World Conference, International Society for Music Education, Glasgow.
  • Whalley J. H. (2016) [Poster] Before Alpha-Go: Interpretation though improvisation and LISP At: UK Music Informatics and Cognition (MIC) workshop, Edinburgh.
  • Beattie A., Whalley B., Whalley J.H. (2016) [Presentation] Norman Nicholson: An Exploration of His Poetry and Prose as Observations of Change. At: Strata- Art and Science Collaborations in the Anthropocene, Aberystwyth University.
  • Whalley J. H (2015) [Guest presentation] Linearity and Non-Linearity in Approaches to Composition Middlesex University
  • Whalley J. H. (2015) [Presentation] Seven Rocks At: INTIME Symposium – Landscapes and Environments, Experimentation and transformation in sound and music., Coventry University.
  • Whalley J. H. (2015) [Presentation] Sound and Senses At: Edinburgh Game Symposium Protoplay, Dundee.
  • Holland L., Whalley J. H. (2015) [Workshop] Interactive composition At: Edinburgh Game Symposium Protoplay Edition, Dundee.
  • Whalley J. H. (2015) [Poster] Artists are Present (ASCUS), At: British Neuroscience Association, International Festival of Neuroscience, Edinburgh.
  • Whalley, J. H. (2014) [Presentation] Impossible Composition. At: INTIME Symposium -Voice and Text: Experimentation Transformation., Coventry University.
  • Whalley, J. H. (2014) [Presentation] The Brown Dog Affair. At: Medicine Unboxed (students) Cheltenham.
  • Whalley, J. H. (2014) [Seminar] The Soundtrack of Pullman Court At:  Chelsea College of Arts
  • Whalley, J. H. (2013) [Presentation] Clasp Together. At: Embodied Music Cognition Conference, University of Edinburgh.
  • Whalley, J. H. (2012) [Performance Presentation] Gigantesque, with the Edinburgh Quartet. At: International Conference on Music Semiotics in Memory of Raymond Monelle, University of Edinburgh.
  • Whalley, J. H. (2012) [Presentation] Möbius Loop. In: Extending Gesture Colloquium, Edinburgh College of Art.

Research supervision

  • Laura Lee (2018 – Present) Primary Supervisor. Composition and Performance Practice Authenticity, Liveness, Creativity & Technology
  • Michael McEvoy (2020 – Present) Primary Supervisor. Composition and Performance Practice Authenticity, Liveness, Creativity & Technology
  • Lara James (2020 – Present) Primary Supervisor. How Brexit and Covid-19 2020 Changed the Musical Landscape of Britain: A post-pandemic study of classically trained musicians and identity
  • Andrew Hansford (2021 – Present) Primary Supervisor. Piano-Improvisation; Questioning Function, Identity and Role: The Importance of and Changes in Piano-Improvisation in Society
  • Maureen Wolloshin (2021 – Present) Secondary Supervisor. The female free-improvising oboist: a practice-based feminist investigation into the agency of gender and instrument in British free improvisation
  • Katy Carr (2021 – Present) Secondary Supervisor.  Songs of Syrena: The forgotten songs of Polish-Jewish composers of the 1930s and their continuing influence

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy

  • Fellow of the London College of Music (FLCM)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review Panel Member
  • Editorial board member of CILECT on Sound.
  • Conference organiser: Music and/as Process Study Group committee
  • Conference organiser: Synesthetic Syntax. At: Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
  • Conference review panel (2018) Audio Mostly, Wrexham Glynd┼Ár University      
  • Director and Co-founder of the Audio Research Cluster, UCA
  • Composer in Residence, St Vincent’s Chapel – Edinburgh
  • Advisory Board, ASCUS Art and Science
  • Advisory Board, Surrey Music Hub.
  • External examiner: ICMP MA Creative Music Production
  • Validation panel (2020) for LCCM courses; BMus Contemporary Music Performance & Production; BA Music Business Management; BA Commercial Music Technology; MMus Contemporary Music


  • Banff Residency Fellowship – Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada
  • West Cork Chamber Music Festival Young Composer Award
  • Representation by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland

Selected Commissions

  • Opera | Reflections on Memory (2021) [Soprano, Spoken word and Strings] c.40min with Words by Alexander McCall Smith and Professor Adam Zeman.
  • Chamber Music | Solace (2020) [String Quartet and binaural playback] c.10’ Commissioned by the Gildas Quartet with support from Arts Council England
  • Chamber Music | Seven Rocks (2014) [String Trio / String Quartet] c.22’ First performed by the Gildas Quartet, St Georges Church Millom Commissioned by the Norman Nicholson Society with support of the Britten-Pears Foundation. Since performed at the James Hockey Gallery, INTIME Symposium, Coventry University, St. Vincent’s Chapel Edinburgh and Warrington All Saints Church.
  • Chamber Music | Plangency (2021) [8 channel playback and Solo Cello] Using multi impulse responses of Salisbury Cathedral to recreate particular reverberations and resonances in other spaces. A collaboration with Akira Brown.
  • Orchestral Music | Slower Still (2020) [Fixed media for mobiles listening] Extreme time-stretched compositions which mirror the proportions of long scale geological events. These compositions are also mapped to walks in the landscapes the correspond to the geological formations on which they are based released on RTR Records (2021)
  • Film Music | Bonington: Life of a Mountaineer (2017) [Feature length Documentary]. Directed by Keith Partridge, with Sir Chris Bonington. Opened the Banff International Mountain Film and Book Festival and then was shown at 28 other film festivals including Pakistan; Nepal Austria and Australia. Won ‘Best mountaineering film’ Bilbao Mendi Film Festival, Spain; Special Jury awards at Wanaka, New Zealand; Zakopane Mountain Film Meeting, Poland and the ‘Grand Prize’ ECHO Mountain Film Festival Skopje, Macedonia.  
  • Live ­Electronics | Clasp Together (beta) (2013) [Bs Clarinet, Mixed Ensemble, Electronics, EEG] c.7’ Performed by the ‘Red Note Ensemble’ Jam House, Edinburgh (2012). Featuring Pete Furniss and John Kenny. Commissioned by the Inventor Composer Co-Action. Also shown at the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) in 2013 by Prof. Nigel Osborne in Art, Mind and Machine.


  • PI, New Media Manifesto, University for the Creative Arts (2020)
  • Music and Alzheimer’s GuildHE / CREST (2018)
  • Artists in Residence Support Francis Chargin Award (2016)
  • Composer in Residence at St Vincents Concert series of three concerts Hope Scott Trust
  • AHRC PhD Studentship (2010)