David Cunningham (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

David Cunningham (born 1954 in Ireland[1]) is a musician and producer who lives and works in London. Initially inspired by conceptual art and the structural materialist ideas that dominated British artists’ filmmaking during his formative years, but also fascinated by the immersive power of pop music and the recording studio, he has developed an extensive and eclectic body of work that subverts perceived boundaries. [2]


David Cunningham's first solo album release was Grey Scale in 1976, since then his work as producer, musician and composer has ranged across many genres of music and includes work for television, film, contemporary dance, and significant collaborations with visual artists and filmmakers. His initial significant commercial success came with The Flying Lizards' record "Money", an international hit in 1979.

He has worked as a composer and record producer; engaging with a range of people and music, from rock groups (This Heat, Martin Creed) to improvised music (David Toop, and Steve Beresford), to Michael Nyman's music for Peter Greenaway's films, plus work with Ute Lemper and others. In the 1980s he contributed to two film soundtrack albums Zina and Terminus followed by three albums in the 1990s, Voiceworks, Water and ext.night.[3]

David Cunningham studied at Maidstone College of Art, one of the first students to join David Hall's pioneering Time-Based course within the Fine Art department, his degree exhibition consisted entirely of work in sound, a happy way to graduate from a visual arts college.[4] Cunningham's involvement in art education has continued over subsequent years, lecturing in many Fine Art departments and holding the positions of Research Fellow at both University of Newcastle and London College of Communication and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art.

Live performance has involved collaboration and performances with John Cage, Kathy Acker, Michael Nyman, Peter Gordon, Pan Sonic, Michael Giles, Scanner and others.

Music for contemporary dance has included 'Canta' for Ian Spink Group/Second Stride,[5] 'Freedom of Information' for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, 'Kioku no Gekijyo' for Goro Namerikawa,[6] and 'Charlotte Kello Viisi Aamulla' for choreographer Tiina Huczkowski.[7]

Music for film and television has included Ken McMullen's films Zina (1985), OXI: An Act of Resistance (2014) and (in collaboration with Michael Giles and Jamie Muir) Ghost Dance (1983), and a series of television collaborations with visual artists which has included John Latham, David Hall, Stephen Partridge, Bruce McLean.

More recently he has produced Joanne Robertson's The Lighter (2008), released One Hundred (Staubgold 2009), a collaboration with saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu and curated 'A lot of pianos...', a performance of seven new compositions for up to 20 pianos.[8]

Fine art works: Installation[edit]

Since 1993 he has created a continuing series of installation works which explore the real time experience of the acoustic qualities of a space. 'The Listening Room', Biennale of Sydney (1998)[9] was followed by two installation works in "Days Like These", The Tate Triennial of Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain 2003 and subsequent installations at ICC Tokyo, Ikon Birmingham and Camden Arts Centre London.[10]

Related work includes the production and treatment of sound for installation and broadcast artworks by Cerith Wyn Evans, Martin Creed, Brad Butler and Karen Mirza, Sam Taylor-Wood, Susan Hiller, João Penalva,[11] Ian Breakwell, Gillian Wearing and many others.


Albums:As The Flying Lizards[edit]

Solo Albums[edit]

  • Grey Scale (piano 001, 1976)
  • Zina - film soundtrack (Filmtrax MOMENT 103,1986)
  • Terminus - film soundtrack (Carrere – 66416, 1987)
  • Voiceworks (eva WWCX 2041, 1992, re-released as piano 505)
  • Water (MTM, 1992)
  • ext.night (piano 507, 1997)
  • Novembre (Editions Circuit, 2008)

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Grove Dictionary of Music
  2. ^ 'Listening and the Listening Room', Transcript Vol 2 No 2, University of Dundee 1996
  3. ^ http://www.stalk.net/piano/adiscdc.htm
  4. ^ A. L. Rees 'This is a Sentence CD-ROM - Stephen Partridge and David Cunningham' http://www.stalk.net/piano/511ALR.htm
  5. ^ "Airfield About". Airfieldarts.org.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  6. ^ "Goro Namerikawa". Data.bnf.fr. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "Sceneweb". sceneweb.no. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "a lot of pianos..." www.stalk.net. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "History - Biennale of Sydney". Biennale of Sydney. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  10. ^ http://www.stalk.net/piano/ainstall.htm
  11. ^ "Simon Lee Gallery — João Penalva". www.simonleegallery.com. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  12. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Flying Lizards", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0