The Crackling Tale of an Electronica Pioneer

Developed by Blood of the Young at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre and live-scored by electronic sound artist Anneke Kampman, Daphne Oram’s Wonderful World of Sound is a journey through the amazing life of one of the great, unsung composers of the twentieth century.

In 1942, a 17-year-old Daphne attended a séance which inspired her to forge a career in music, later becoming the first director of the most famous electronic music studio in history – birth-place of many of television’s early sci-fi themes, including Doctor Who.

Daphne began her BBC career as a ‘music balancer’ during the war, turning down a place at the Royal College of Music to do so. After her promotion to studio manager in the 1950s, she began pestering the BBC to follow the lead of French broadcasters and provide a facility for the production of electronic sound.

She teamed up with a like-minded studio manager and between them the pair used borrowed test oscillators and tape-splicing techniques to produce sounds that had never been heard before on the BBC. Daphne’s nagging paid off, and in April 1958 she co-founded the Radiophonic Workshop in the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios.

In a remarkable career spanning more than 30 years, Daphne worked with opera singers, classical composers and rock and roll stars. A true pioneer, she released records, influenced the teaching of music in schools, wrote a book on her personal sound philosophy and always sought to innovate – often as the only woman in that professional environment.

Daphne Oram’s Wonderful World of Sound is performed at the Eastgate Theatre, 7.30pm, Wednesday 31 May. Tickets £14, available from Box Office on 01721 725777 or online.