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Mark Ferguson

Music, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Acousmatic music composition, guided by the inherent methodologies and approaches of wildlife sound recording.

Sound recording and studio-based composition are the two main components of my practice-based research. I’m particularly interested in how the various methodologies of wildlife sound recording inform creative work in the studio, and vice versa.

All of my compositions are created exclusively from my own library of natural sounds.

Research Area

  • Music

Publications

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Audio by its Very Nature', Time for Nature: New Networks for Nature Conference Booklet (November), p. 26.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Of Bumblebees and the Homeland Compass', Freckle Magazine (summer), pp. 66-69.

Ferguson, M. (2018) 'The Winds of Change', Broadleaf Magazine, N. Ireland edition (summer), pp. 2-3.

Conferences

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Searching for the Great Yellow' [audio-visual presentation], Nature Matters Conference, organised by New Networks for Nature. St. Peter's School, York, 2 November.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'In Search of the Great Yellow' [audio-visual presentation; keynote speaker], Bumblebee Conservation Trust AGM. Old Trafford Cricket Ground & Conference Centre, Manchester, 19 October.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Processing Nature: Recordings, Random Number Generators and Real-Intrinsic-Extrinsic Perceptual Threads' [unpublished academic paper], Fifth International Csound Conference. Cagli Municipal Theatre, Italy, 27 September.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'On the Recording of Bumblebees' [PowerPoint presentation], Midlands4Cities Research Festival. Maple House Conference Centre, Birmingham, 23 May.

Public Engagement & Impact

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Exploring the unique sound world of the UK's rarest species', Arts & Humanities Research Council website blog, 28 October. Available at: https://ahrc-blog.com/2019/10/28/exploring-the-unique-sound-world-of-the-uks-rarest-species/ (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Ferguson, M. (2019) Interviewed by the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music for the University of Birmingham, 11 September. Available at: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/music/news/2019/bumblebee.aspx (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Sunday morning magazine programme 'Slow Radio' feature (2019) BBC Radio 4, 8 September. [Great yellow bumblebee mating activity (stereo nest recording), South Uist, Scotland]

Phonurgia Nova Awards, 2019. (2019) Nominee, 'Field Recording' category award, 4 September.

Wildlife Sound Recording Society Annual Competition, 2018. (2019) Awarded second place, 'Restricted Combination' category, 13 July.

The Mall. (2019) 'Mark Ferguson's search for bumblebee sounds', Cribbs Causeway shopping mall news page, 15 April. Available at: https://www.mallcribbs.com/blog/2019/april/bumblebee-blog (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Ferguson, M. (2019) Interviewed by Keri Jones for Exmoor Radio, 22 January. Available at: http://exmoorradio.com/countryside/the-sounds-of-silence-why-exmoors-aural-soundscape-is-special/ (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Sunday morning magazine programme 'Slow Radio' feature (2018) BBC Radio 4, 11 March. [Urban bumblebee recording (stereo), North Bristol]

Ferguson, M. (2017) Interviewed by Paul Virostek for Creative Field Recording, 4 October. Available at: https://www.creativefieldrecording.com/2017/10/04/revealing-field-recording-craft-through-location-interview-with-mark-ferguson/ (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Sunday morning magazine programme 'Slow Radio' feature (2017) BBC Radio 4, 20 August. [Subterranean recording of coastal waves (stereo; hydrophonic), Cushendun Bay, Northern Ireland]

Sunday morning magazine programme 'Slow Radio' feature (2017) BBC Radio 4, 16 July. [Internal recording of submerged branch (mono; contact mic), Sperrin Mountains, Northern Ireland]

Other Research Interests

The broader practice of field recording (and its associated technologies, methodologies, pedagogy and online community). Approaches to wildlife sound cataloguing and curation. The historical development of wildlife sound recording. Cross-disciplinary conservation projects.

Memberships

Wildlife Sound Recording Society; Bumblebee Conservation Trust.


Academic Qualifications & Awards

HEFi Horizon Award. (2018) For successful completion of modules in lecturing, small group teaching, assessment, feedback provision and HE practices. University of Birmingham.

Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. (2018) Competitive award for doctoral research at The University of Birmingham [ongoing].

Master of Music, with distinction. (2013) University of Manchester.

AHRC BGP Studentship. (2012) Competitive award for master's-level postgraduate study.

Bachelor of Music, with first-class honours. (2012) Queen's University Belfast.

Degree Plus. (2012) Awarded for extensive contribution to musical ensembles & performance practice. Queen's University Belfast.

Sir Hamilton Harty Scholarship. (2012) Competitive award for field recording research in the palaces and gardens of the Alhambra, Spain. Queen's University Belfast.

Foundation Scholarship. (2011) Awarded for best overall academic performance in academic year 2010-2011. Queen's University Belfast.

Foundation Scholarship. (2010) Awarded for best overall academic performance in academic year 2009-2010. Queen's University Belfast.

List of Works

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'The Bumblebees of Winterbourne'. Three-week stereo installation with voice-over at Winterbourne House & Garden bookshop, Birmingham, 1-22 September. Realised in private studios, Bristol.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Mud Roots'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Birmingham.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'The Sunlit Thawing'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Birmingham.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Cassiano's Blackbird'. Stereo soundscape composition. Realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Birmingham.
  • World premiere: gallery performance at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Cassiano dal Pozzo Paper Museum exhibition, Barber Lates Series, Birmingham. 25 June, 2019.
Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Shorelines'. 8-channel acousmatic composition. Realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Birmingham.
  • World premiere: BEAST FEaST festival concert, Elgar Concert Hall, University of Birmingham. 3 May, 2019.
  • Gallery performance at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Cassiano dal Pozzo Paper Museum exhibition, Barber Lates Series, Birmingham. 25 June, 2019.
  • Selected for performance at SEAMS KMH/Royal College of Music Concert, Stockholm, Sweden. 13 December, 2019.
Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Deadwood'. 8-channel acousmatic composition. Realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Birmingham.
  • World premiere: BEASTdome concert, Bramall Dome, University of Birmingham. 1 March, 2019.
  • Selected for performance at the International Computer Music Conference. 16-23 June, 2019.
  • Selected for performance at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Feldstein Immersion Room, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library. 16-23 June, 2019.
Ferguson, M. (2017) 'Green Space'. Audio-visual work. Realised in private studios, Bristol.

Ferguson, M. (2016) 'Plastic'. Audio-visual work. Realised in private studios, Bristol.
  • Selected for screening during the NaturVision Film Festival opening ceremony, Ludwigsberg, Germany. Summer 2016.
Ferguson, M. (2013) 'Mancunian Canvas'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the NOVARS Research Centre electroacoustic music studios at the University of Manchester.

Ferguson, M. (2013) 'Alhambra Patch Panel'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the NOVARS Research Centre electroacoustic music studios at the University of Manchester.

Ferguson, M. (2012) 'Invader'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the NOVARS Research Centre electroacoustic music studios at the University of Manchester.
  • World premiere: MANTIS Festival of Electroacoustic Music, Manchester. March 2013.
Ferguson, M. (2012) 'Radioactive Morning Dew'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the NOVARS Research Centre electroacoustic music studios at the University of Manchester.

Ferguson, M. (2012) 'Rust'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the Sonic Arts Research Centre music studios at Queen's University Belfast.

Ferguson, M. (2011) 'Heiligenstadt Testament 2.0'. Stereo acousmatic composition. Realised in the Sonic Arts Research Centre music studios at Queen's University Belfast.

Presentations & Talks

Ferguson, M. (2019) Curated listening and sound diffusion session, MiniBEAST informal concert series. Bramall Dome, University of Birmingham, 27 November.

Ferguson, M. (2019) 'Bumbling About: current and future research at the UoB electroacoustic music studios' [PowerPoint presentation], School of Languages, Cultures Art History and Music research seminar series. University of Birmingham, 20 February.

Ferguson, M. (2019) Curated listening and sound diffusion session, MiniBEAST informal concert series. Bramall Dome, University of Birmingham, 6 February.

Ferguson, M. (2018) Curated listening and sound diffusion session, MiniBEAST informal concert series. Bramall Dome, University of Birmingham, 5 December.

Employment & Work Experience

University of Birmingham, Department of Music. (3 October – 12 December 2019) Postgraduate teaching assistant. Studio composition, Year 1 undergraduate class.



Rycote Microphone Windshields Ltd.
Product Engineer & Technical Support Advisor (2016-2018)

Prior to studying at the University of Birmingham, I was employed as Product Engineer and Technical Support Advisor at Rycote: an industry leader in microphone windshielding and suspension technologies. Reporting directly to the CTO, my role focused on new product development and testing within purpose-built audio facilities. I also coordinated the majority of the company's technical support channels, advising leading sound professionals (many of whom work on internationally renowned documentaries, dramas, films and video games) on audio equipment selection and maintenance. In support of the company's Marketing Team, I conducted several, high-profile interviews with prominent sound recordists and designers, working with the CMO and Marketing Executive on various elements of the Rycote website.



AGB Films. (2015) 'Interview with George Monbiot'. Spoken interview [freelance location sound mixer]. Oxford.

Five Films. (2015) 'REGUA', narrated by Michael Palin. Short promotional film [freelance mixing, sound design]. Bristol.

Five Films. (2015) 'Uganda Wildlife Authority: Catching Poachers in Murchison Falls National Park'. Short promotional film [freelance mixing, sound design]. Bristol.

Five Films. (2014) 'Uganda Wildlife Authority: Protecting the Critically-Endangered Rothschild's Giraffe'. Short promotional film [freelance mixing, sound design]. Bristol.

Five Films. (2014) 'The Uganda Wildlife Authority'. Short promotional film [freelance mixing, sound design]. Bristol.