Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr Nina Whiteman was appointed as Lecturer in Composition in 2018 and teaches a number of composition courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

Nina Whiteman is a composer, vocalist, and multimedia artist. Her project BELOW GROUND is a collaborative interdisciplinary investigation of the subterranean (funded by Arts Council England in 2023), and has included multisensory multimedia performances as well as ‘sonic gardening’ workshops in the community.

In 2022, Nina created a cycle of multimedia works titled The Cybird Trilogy, investigating potential of AI in both sonic and visual domains to express complex relationships between nature and technology.

Described as ‘beguiling’ (The Guardian), Nina’s 2016 composition for the BBC Philharmonic was performed at the Bridgewater Hall and commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio 3. Work during 2017-2022 has drawn inspiration from mazes and labyrinths, placing performers and audience in disorienting spaces and employing maze-like semi-graphic notation (House of Mazes, TOMB, Everything near becomes distant).

Her music has been performed widely in the UK and abroad by ensembles such as Manchester Camerata, Quatuor Danel, Dutch accordion duo TOEAC, Ealing Youth Orchestra, Psappha, Colinton Amateur Orchestra (Adopt-a-composer scheme), and Distractfold Ensemble at venues and festivals including the Cheltenham Music Festival, Kettle’s Yard, the Bridgewater Hall, Kings Place and the RNCM. International performances include The Galaxy Rotation Problem at the World Music Days festival (Slovenia, 2015; selected by British and international panels).

Nina has a record of innovative collaborations with practitioners from other art forms, including performances in Amsterdam, and at the Manchester International Festival with performance artist Michael Mayhew, singing glossolalia in artist Ron Athey’s Gifts of the Spirit, creating sound for a motion-graphics installation by James Snazell (shown in Rome, Athens, Nottingham, and Camarthen), sound for performance artist Karen McLeod, and a solo performance art piece for a group show 11 11 11 – in remembrance – Manchester (funded by Arts Council England).

Nina sings in and co-directs Trio Atem (flute, mezzo, cello), who specialise in performances of new and recent repertoire with an emphasis on commissioning new work and cross-genre projects. Engagements have included the Bridgewater Hall (BBC Philharmonic Ink Still Wet series), Kings Place, York Late Music Festival, Leeds University Contemporary Music Festival, RMA student conference, and The University of Manchester lunchtime concert series.

Nina is Artistic Director of Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera, an organisation she co-founded to trail blaze creation of new opera by young and emerging artists.

Work in education has included leading several projects for Manchester Camerata’s Learning and Participation programme, teaching on the National Youth Orchestra’s summer course, and lecturing at The University of Manchester, RNCM, and Lancaster University. She is Reader in Composition and Composition Lead at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Nina's composition research applies research into maze and labyrinth design to sonic and notational outcomes. In 2017-18, her compositions have investigated this area in varying ways. House of Mazes (2017) is a series of mazes for performers to navigate according to different rules, Thread (2017) requires the flute player to follow a visual and a sonic maze simultaneously, Maze-Vortex ('White Light') (2017) establishes another game-like scenario, and TOMB (2018) plunges the performer into a disused mine where they respond to lighting changes in the video, whilst navigating a modular maze-like score.

Her research since 2022 has probed the relationship between the environment and new technologies through interdisciplinary and multimedia approaches.

Education/Academic qualification

SFHEA, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Award Date: 20 Oct 2021

Composition, PhD, University of Manchester

Award Date: 20 Sept 2009