Jim Aitchison

Job title
Associate Lecturer, Music

Jim Aitchison's practice as a composer is unique in initiating encounters with work by a range of internationally important visual artists including Gerhard Richter, Antony Gormley, Doris Salcedo, Peter Randall-Page, Mark Rothko, Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon, Jeremy Annear, Sir Terry Frost, Bridget Riley and John Hoyland. Recently, Portraits for a Study, his large scale project in response to paintings by Gerhard Richter for four remote Yamaha Disklaviers and a string quartet, was staged, simultaneously, between Falmouth University, the Royal Academy of Music, Goldsmiths University and Yamaha Music London, and was supported by Yamaha, Arts Council England and the PRS for Music Foundation.

Other projects have included a large scale performance event of Memory Field, his work with Antony Gormley, at Kings Place and the Royal Academy of Music; responses performed at the Royal Academy of Arts to Anish Kapoor's remarkable 2009 exhibition; a commission from Retorica and Anna Portisch for SOAS and the embassy of Kazakhstan for the Brunei Gallery; and a commission from Tate Modern to engage with the gallery's 2008-09 Rothko exhibition with Michael Thompson, Nicholas Clapton and the Kreutzer Quartet. He is the first composer to be given a fellowship by the Henry Moore Foundation, which occurred at the Royal Academy of Music during which he created responses to the iconic Shibboleth installation by Doris Salcedo, performed by violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern and to sculpture by Antony Gormley performed at the artist’s studio.

The composer has also created work for performances at the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth, Dallas, the British Museum, Tate St Ives, the 2D2N Festival in Odessa, The Henry Moore Institute, The Kurmangazy National Conservatoire in Kazakhstan and the NewcastleGateshead Festival of Visual Art. Jim Aitchison is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music and an associate lecturer in music at Falmouth University. His music has been released recently on the NMC label, and his pieces after Mark Rothko are available for visitors to experience in the Rothko Room at Tate Modern as part of the gallery multimedia tour, and on the TATE Channel.


YearQualificationAwarding body
PGCE Music
University of Central England in Birmingham
AMusM Composition
Nottingham University
BA MusHons Music
Nottingham University

Honours and awards


Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Academy of Music


Henry Moore Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music and The History of Art, Film and Visual Media Department of Birkbeck College, University of London


Nottingham University: Halward Compostion Prize - First prize

Membership of external committees

Member of the advisory panel, the Composers Special Interests Group, for the Incorporated Society of Musicians

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

Investigation of potential Intersections between visual artworks and artists' practice and possible compositional applications derived from these, and ways in which compositional processes and outcomes may (or may not) be affected by engagement with aspects of visual artworks and artists' practice.


Areas of teaching

Music composition

Courses taught

Music composition