Iain Brandram-Adams: creative director

Iain is a freelance composer, arranger, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, hand model and voice actor with considerable experience writing music for the concert hall, theatre, and motion pictures. There is much flexibility in his working methods, running the gamut from the use of synthesizers and sample libraries to live groups of talented musicians.

A number of his projects involve virtual instruments almost exclusively; however, in sharp contrast to this, Iain has also instigated a revival of the in-house orchestral performances of yesteryear. Examples of this phenomenon include his soundtrack for Mice by film-maker Hugo Zanker of Defenestratos Productions, as well as a live string quartet suite for the silent films of German comedian Karl Valentin (from the 1910s and 20s), commissioned by Te Puna Toi and the Goethe-Institut to open their Achternbusch in the Antipodes festival, and for further screenings elsewhere in New Zealand, Asia and Europe.

Iain's as happy as a sandboy composing in any style, real or yet-to-be-imagined, with a consistent focus on the effectiveness and strength of motivic material, transparent contrapuntal technique, and an organic, multi-layered approach to formal architecture, through the exploration and analysis of mathematical and musical significance of its parts. His music has been described in the following terms: "iridescent, evolving textures and expressive, densely polyphonic outbursts writhing with melodic fury."

Iain first became enamoured of music during an episode of the Muppet Show in the late spring of 1985. After this revelation he began piano lessons, and before long had added clarinet and cello to the instrumental arsenal, partly out of personal interest but also at the behest of Cathedral Grammar authorities who needed an urgent replacement for their school orchestra. His own musical outpourings were soon to follow, with such early works as Cleopatra (1986), Napoleon's Dance (1989), and the seminal Taking Time To Gaze With Awe And Appreciation Over The Beautiful, Wide Open Plains Of A West African Savannah Around Sunset (1994).

He completed his double major in cello performance and composition in 2000, then decided to concentrate on composing, graduating with a First Class Honours degree in 2002, and a Masters of Music with Distinction in 2005. He is currently lecturer in composition and orchestration at the University of Canterbury, where he has also given many additional guest lectures on his musical language, idiosyncratic techniques and creative process.

In his research, Iain is currently investigating new approaches to algorithmic music generation, in which the developing textures respond to a varied assortment of external stimuli, parametrically altering aspects of their internal logic in real time. He is also an avid designer of scripts and plugins for MIDI that help automate the music-making process when using virtual instruments. Once they have passed through rigorous testing for quality control, these scripts will be available for download on the site.

In addition to his artistic and administrative roles with Quantum Syndicate, as well as being engrossed largely (and in no small way) in the execution of duties pertaining to his official post in the capacity of Temporary Acting Financial Treasurer (Monetary Division) of the New Zealand Tautological Society, Iain frequently engages in avocado whispering at organic produce market stalls, and can often be seen playing his cello at venues around Christchurch— for solo recitals, as a member of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, or in concert with musicians drawn from the ranks of the Praesto String Quartet, a professional ensemble he co-founded and now manages.