Music For Pairs

Birmingham-based composer Jamie Knowles presents an evening of experimental music featuring their new piece “music for pairs”. The piece features 3 pairs of musicians locking together in obsessive minimalist dialogue, with devised choreography led by avant-garde director, designer and theatre-maker Alexander Kaniewski. The night will also feature sets from James McIlwrath and Zahrah Hutton, performing a brand new set of collaborative “Bit Pieces”, and from experimental performer and songwriter Wrenne.


Jamie Knowles is a composer and community musician based in Birmingham, UK. They write intimate and playful music which attempts to bring the harmonic language of 60s post-bop jazz and the rhythmic energy and unpredictability of free improvised music into a form which is precise and carefully crafted. Currently studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, their music has been played on BBC Radio 3. Jamie also has a love for community music and music education, and is currently working on a set of mini-operas written collaboratively with primary school children.

Bit Pieces is a collaboration between James McIlwrath and Zahrah Hutton, building upon structures and ideas developed in James’s first collection of Bit Pieces, released in 2023. Both collections of songs take small bits of phrases and shuffle them around to find new sounds and meanings: “the words become abstract masses that convey no concrete meaning but more of a feeling” (Outside Noise).

James McIlwrath is an experimental composer/performer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. He studied music at the University of York and Experimental Performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He is currently Stan’s Cafe’s composer-in-residence.

Zahrah Hutton is a guitarist, arranger, and chamber musician from London. She studied classical guitar at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and is a member of the Mela Guitar Quartet.

The list of performers is below

music for pairs (music by Jamie Knowles)
Keyboards – Jamie Knowles and Vato Klemera
Guitars – Zahrah Hutton and James McIlwrath
Violin – Zinnia Smart
Cello – Kinna Whitehead
Movement/Choreography – Alexander Kaniewski
Movement – Wrenne and Jim Nankivell

Solo and duet performances by
James McIlwrath and Zahrah Hutton

My instagram handle is @_jamieknowles_ , and there is a post about the event on there. We have a Facebook event linked below

The instagram handles for the other acts are @james_mcilwrath @zahrah.hutton and @wrennemusic . I also have a Bandcamp link for James

Tickets £10 OTD