Alwynne Pritchard is a British composer, vocalist, actor and writer based in Bergen. In her music and performances she explores relationships between musical expression and the human voice and body. She has appeared as an actor, vocalist and physical performer in a number of stage productions, as well as directing and developing choreography for her work. In 2015, she formed the music-theatre company Neither Nor with her partner Thorolf Thuestad.
After undergraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music in London, Alwynne went on to obtain a Masters in Musicology and a PhD in composition from the University of Bristol. She is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.
In 2000, Alwynne was awarded a Visions of Norway scholarship for a two-month artist residency at the USF Verftet, Bergen (European City of Culture) and returned for an extended residency three years later. In 2006, she took up a one-year residency at the Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Bavaria, after which she lived in Berlin for a short time. Her work Decoy, created at the Heinrich Strobel Stiftung in Freiburg in 2006 for the Donaueschingen Musiktage, was awarded the special prize given by the Foundation Ton Bruynèl, STEIM and the Foundation GAUDEAMUS. In 2018, she was awarded a Bergen kommune arbeidsstipend in support of her work and in 2019, she was nominated by Bit Teatergarasjen for the Bergens Tidende Audience Award.
Alwynne has composed for, and performed with musicians and ensembles, at venues and festivals around the globe. In 2016, she was awarded the commission to create a fanfare or ‘marker’ to celebrate the opening of Snøhetta’s building for the University of Bergen’s newly created Department of Art, Music and Design, for which she created the book of text scores, up without an insistent casting away. In May 2019, Alwynne hosted and gave a solo performance at the official opening ceremony for the Bergen International festival.
As an actor (and vocalist), Alwynne has appeared in several productions, including collaborations with the French company Scènes Théâtre Cinéma for the Marseille City of Culture 2013 (Bull’s Eye) and at Théâtre du Point du Jour (Lyon) (Hamlet Machine). In 2019, she co-created the music and sound design for, and performed as an actor, instrumentalist and vocalist in the Neither Nor/Scènes Théâtre Cinéma co-production Underground. The show was premiered at the Théâtre Nouvelle Génération in Lyon in April and later launched the Bit Teatergarasjen season in Bergen in August, 2019. Alwynne has also appeared in her own music-theatre pieces Hospice Lazy and We, Three in theatres in Germany, Latvia and Norway, as well as performing her solo Vitality Forms series across Europe, Scandinavia and in the USA.
Alwynne’s first portrait disc, Invisible Cities was released on the Metier label in 2002. In 2019, Rockaby was released on Kairos, featuring works performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (with the composer as vocal soloist), Christian Dierstein, the Experimentalstudio des SWR, ensemble recherche, Klaus Steffes-Holländer and the Norwegian Naval Forces Band (among others). In 2020, her recording of Vinko Globokar’s Metamorphosis (composed for her DOG/GOD I) was released on the same label, presented alongside other work by Globokar, performed by Bergen’s BIT20 ensemble. Alwynne’s work has also been released on other British, German and Norwegian labels.
Alwynne’s professional life has also included stints as a writer and presenter for BBC Radio, a composition teacher at Trinity Laban in London and as Artistic Director of both the Borealis festival and BIT20 Ensemble.
“a parade of techniques and playfulness on speed […] a great achievement by Pritchard. This performance should be a reference-point for singers wishing to study newer music.”
“Træen er en magiker på sin modulære synth, og han og Pritchard stod sentrale i det som ble en nydelig avslutning: mens Pritchard snakker gjennom hånda si legger Træen et teppe av lyd, og med hjelp av de andre musikerne løftes det opp til noe hjerteskjærende vakkert, et så spesielt øyeblikk at det er både trist og litt fint at det ikke kan gjøres akkurat likt noen gang igjen.”
“a strange, sylvan beauty from first note to last. Decoy impresses still more with each repetition.”
– MusicWeb International
“Embrace the chaos: Alwynne Pritchard is spellbinding in her own Rockaby with a duo of Foley artists and the BBC SSO under Ilan Volkov.”
“a delivery between that of a rock-music diva and a verbal and physical contortionist”
– ALL ABOUT JAZZ – NEW YORK
“Pritchard explored a wide spectrum of vocal timbres through vowel shaping, varied vibrato speeds, tongue clicks, and vocal fry, all with incredible control of technique.”
– I CARE IF YOU LISTEN
“Each one had a slow inevitability, like the slow tread of some strange insect, before it dissolved into an unpredictable cloud. It was utterly captivating.”
– Tim Rutherford-Johnson, British Music Collection: 50 Things
“Pritchard seems to have a wonderfully instinctive grasp of orchestral sound. Clouds of string texture hang in the air and seem simultaneously iridescent and hazy, while Pritchard’s deployment of harp and percussion is masterly, and the constant fiddling about with the costume creates a bizarrely apt parallel sonic universe. Pritchard’s vocalisations are intoxicating and range from magnificently controlled glissandi to the crystalline delivery of words which seem absolutely material to the success of the piece, although frankly I have not the faintest idea of why this is so.”
– MusicWeb International
“She moves through the utilitarian space with a flamboyance that is decadent, rude, and risky.”
– Public Books
“a composer of originality”
– The Times
“an extracted, dynamic and almost magnetic bodily energy”
“energetic and provocative”
– The Wire
“cool and lucid”
– The Independent