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John Butcher and Rhodri Davies by Colin Davison

New Music: Drunk On Dreams: John Butcher, saxophone and Rhodri Davies, harp

14 March 2024, 8pm (doors at 7.30pm)

Join us for this year’s New Music concert series, programmed by our New Music Curator Tom McKinney. The second concert introduces us to John Butcher and Rhodri Davies.

This event has passed. £12 (£5 students), booking recommended

John Butcher and Rhodri Davies are two of our greatest free improvising musicians. Through mesmerising and fascinating techniques, they push their instruments in wildly inventive ways, rendering a saxophone and harp almost beyond recognition. ‘Drunk on Dreams’ is the title of a mind-bending album released in 2021, made up of sessions they recorded in Paris. And tonight is a chance to experience their incredible experiments in sound up-close and right in your face, in the perfect setting of the Kettle’s Yard house.

An evening of free-improvisation.

About John Butcher

John Butcher is well known as a saxophonist who attempts to engage with the uniqueness of time and place. His music ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics.

Butcher began playing saxophone whilst also studying physics, but after publishing a PhD in quantum chromodynamics (1982), he left academia to take off with music and has since collaborated with hundreds of artists.

Recent compositions include ‘Fluid Fixations’ for fourteen performers at HCMF 2021.

He has received a Paul Hamlyn Award for composers and been shortlisted for a British Composer’s Award.


About Rhodri Davies

Rhodri Davies is immersed in the worlds of improvisation, musical experimentation, composition and contemporary classical performance. He plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics and builds wind, water, ice, dry ice and fire harp installations. David Sylvian, Jenny Hval, Derek Bailey, Sofia Jernberg, Lina Lapelyte and Pat Thomas are some of the musicians he has worked with. For the last ten years he has been closely associated with the pioneering composer Eliane Radigue performing eighteen of her pieces.

In 2012 he was the recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Grants to Artists Award and in 2017 he received a Creative Wales Award. He is a co-organiser of the NAWR concert series in Swansea.

John Butcher by Bryony McKintyre

Introduction from New Music Curator, Tom McKinney

Such is the draw of Kettle’s Yard as a music venue, that yet again it’s been so easy for me to put together another season of great musicians to come and play in this very special space. There are four New Music concerts between January and May, and I really hope that the range of styles they bring will give you a good picture of what’s happening in the incredibly exciting UK music scene. Musicians and composers currently face an unprecedented range of problems in the music industry, especially those working in new, alternative and experimental styles. However the boundless ingenuity and energy of the artists is nothing but inspirational, and these concerts will showcase some of the very best and most important music being made right now. You can expect seriously impressive virtuosity from violinist Rakhi Singh; two of the greatest free-improvising musicians, John Butcher and Rhodri Davies, will introduce you to sounds that your ears have never heard before; there’ll be vast and mesmerising musical landscapes that unfurl out of the Steinway piano with Eliza McCarthy; and join us for a season finale of songs, in all shapes and sizes, with the utterly unique Hermes Experiment.

The chance to see those musicians in the Kettle’s Yard house is unmissable—so see you there!

New Music Events

Access and Further Information

Please note, for conservation and security reasons, no bags or large coats are allowed in the house. Limited bag storage is available at reception.

This event will take place in the extension of the house which is accessible, with some limitations. The upper part of the ground floor extension area is accessible for wheelchair users and the ground floor extension area of the house is newly accessible for wheelchair users with a ramp. There is no lift to the upper floors of the house. If you call in advance or ask at the information desk we can reserve an accessible seat for you. Please get in touch on 01223 748100 or email

Visit our Access page