Patrick Allen photo - headshot 2019_edit

Freya Waley Cohen



'At once intimate and visionary’ (BBC Music Magazine), Freya’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and institutions such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic,  the BBC Proms, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Wigmore Hall, the Aldeburgh, Sainte-Mere, Santa Fe, Cheltenham and Ryedale Festivals, CHROMA Ensemble, the Hermes Experiment, and Nonclassical, and released on Signum, Nimbus, Nonclassical and NMC.


Winner of a 2017 RPS Composition Prize, Freya was associate composer of NonClassical 2016-18 and is associate composer of St. David’s Hall’s Nightmusic. Freya held an Open Space Residency at Snape Maltings from 2015-2017 during which she collaborated with architectural designers Finbarr O'Dempsey and Andrew Skulina & her sister, violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen, to create Permutations, an architectural performance artwork launched at the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival. Permutations has since toured to the Dartington Festival, Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Institute of British Architecture North, and been released as a CD on Signum Classics.


In the 2019/20 season Freya will be the Wigmore Hall’s associate composer and her upcoming commissions include works for the Wigmore Hall, The King’s Singers and the Britten Sinfonia. 


Since founding it in 2012 with fellow composers William Marsey and Josephine Stephenson, Freya has been artistic director of Listenpony, a concert series and record label that has commissioned over 30 new works from early-career composers.






Freya's presentation will discuss her recent collaborative composition with architectural designers Finnbarr O'dempsey and Andrew Skulina:

Freya is a composer, and artistic director of various projects and concert series.


One of the threads of her work explores the relationship between her music and the listener through incorporating the role of the listener into her compositional process.

In this talk, Freya will discuss these ideas through her project Permutations: An interactive artwork and a synthesis of architecture and music. It invites the listeners to explore a new work of music through playing the acoustics of six adjustable chambers. It consists of a new musical work by Freya, performed by violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen, and an architectural installation by Finbarr O’Dempsey and Andrew Skulina. The music and its architectural setting were developed simultaneously and in close collaboration, each acting as a muse for the other. Freya will examine the process of creating Permutations, looking especially at how planning for the unusual performance setting affected the compositional process. She will investigate the ways in which she adapted and developed her musical language to engage with the social capacity of the interactive artwork, while looking at how the close collaboration with architectural designers Finbarr O’Dempsey and Andrew Skulina affected her music.  She will then briefly discuss the life of Permutations post-development: Over the last few years, Permutations has toured to four different host venues, each with different core audiences, social contexts and acoustic properties.