Lexicon is based on a poem written by a 12-year old boy, Tom, in which he tries to articulate his personal experience of dyslexia. By presenting an imaginary sonic and visual journey through the text of the poem, Lexicon explores not only the challenges, but also the life-affirming creative potential that dyslexia, and a fuller understanding of it, can bring.
As part of the creative process the composer has worked with a team of dyslexia experts from the Miles Dyslexia Centre at Bangor University (Wales, UK), which has enabled the composition of the piece to draw inspiration from recent research in the field. In particular it makes use of a growing body of evidence that suggests that, for many people with dyslexia, a deficit in phonological processing (accessing and analyzing speech sounds, and also linking them to letters) is more significant than that in visual or attentional processing on their own.
This contradicts the popular but less well supported notion that dyslexia is primarily about difficulties in seeing letters and words on the page. Accordingly, Lexicon is a work conceived primarily with sound as its raw material, with the visual aspect conveying a metaphorical rather than scientific view of the experience of dyslexia.
Lexicon was realized in 2012 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of Bangor University (Wales, UK) with additional material developed at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) (Morelia, Mexico) and the composer’s studio. The work premiered on October 28, 2012 during the MANTIS Fall 2012 concert series at Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall of The University of Manchester (UK). Lexicon was realized with support from the Wellcome Trust’s “Engaging Science” programme, which aims to use artistic creation as a means of raising public awareness of biomedical science. Thanks to the Science Team: Dr Markéta Caravolas, Director, Miles Dyslexia Centre, Bangor University, Meg Browning, and Ann Cooke. Thanks to Tom Barbor-Might (author of the poem), James Bowers, Michael O’Boyle, Esme Lewis, Martha Lewis, Jenny Mainwaring, and Damien Vadgama, recorded voice.
- October 28, 2012, MANTIS Fall Festival 2012: Concert 3, Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall — Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama — The University of Manchester, Manchester (England, UK)
- Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS), Morelia (Mexico)
- Personal studio, Bangor (Wales, UK)
- 2012, Electroacoustic Music Studios — Bangor University, Bangor (Wales, UK)