25th Anniversary Competition - the Results!

The judges - Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones, conductor Charles Hazlewood, and composer Edward Williams - have been delighted and impressed with the number, quality and imaginative diversity of the entries we received.

As John Paul Jones comments: "It's amazing to see how ingenious people are in using Soundbeam and also how truly liberating it can be!" And for Charles Hazlewood the judging process was a delight, but also a challenge: "what an amazing array of entries! Very difficult to give overall winners".

Submissions ranged widely in concept and content, from lively covers of iconic rock songs by Musiclusive and Jonathan Kirkpatrick - to explorations of minimalism and flamenco guitar from Chris Tweed, as well as original rock music from Circles/Cillian McSweeney(Ireland) and an exploration of the music of Stravinsky from Stepping Stones School.

Other entrants chose a more conceptual approach. Leeds-based Pyramid of Arts’ integrated outreach team devised an original life-sized board game investigating the sounds of Africa, and CEDA created a beautiful and surreal film of 'The Teddy Bears' Picnic'.Associazione Stefania (Italy) produced a highly original piece based on the theme of parrots.

The sheer spirit and exuberance of so many of the young Soundbeam players was what stood out from many of these submissions. The performers from Meldreth Manor School, guided by Soundbeam guru David Jackson, along with Liam Mulligan and Abigail Punchard from Ablebeats under the direction of Mike Whitlock, are outstanding examples of this. Lastly Ari Kinarthy's (Canada) compositional flair alongside his astonishingly accurate and expressive Soundbeam playing, impressed everyone.


Ari Kinarthy (Canada) – Pain E Motion

Ari Kinarthy, Pain E Motion on YouTube

My name is Ari Kinarthy. I'm from Victoria, BC, Canada. I have been using the Soundbeam for almost 7 years. I have performed on stage several times and have created an album and almost done the second. I love the Soundbeam so much because it has given me a way to create music and inspire people at the same time.

This is an original orchestral piece that I composed on the computer. I am playing the Soundbeam over top of the music in 4 different sections. I will be playing the lead violin in the first section, the flute in the second, the bassoon in the third, and the brass ensemble in the last. 

The title of my composition is Pain E Motion. The inspiration for this piece comes from an accident I had where I drove my wheelchair into the wall and badly injured my knee a few weeks before starting to create this song. 

I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you

Judges’ Feedback

JPJ:  A very interesting idea of performing live with a pre-recorded composition. A very good piece of work in its entirety.

CH:  Wonderful to see a musician engaging with Soundbeam in this way. I liked his composition a lot, and his individual role in it was very sensitively undertaken!

SB: Soundbeam's status as a musical instrument becomes unassailable when it is used to create and perform music which could not have been played in any other way.  Ari's approach - composing an original piece using music software and then adding a dramatic live element with his meticulously controlled Soundbeam solos using a variety of well-chosen instrumental sounds - makes him a world-class Soundbeam virtuoso. There are moments in the piece when melody and harmony do not meld entirely convincingly but overall this is a dramatic and polished performance which cogently illustrates the liberating potential of the technology.


Associazione Stefania (Italy)

Associazione Stefania entry on YouTube

We built a parallel between sociality of parrots and humans and found that in nature diversity means wealth. There are many species of parrots, all unique and priceless.
Parrots, extraordinarily intelligent animals, share their territory with other species, collaborating with them. To stimulate reflections about all these questions, we use painting and music. Each one chooses his own language. This allows us to express complicated concepts in an instinctive way. The common experience introduces important values: listening, waiting, respect, acceptance, curiosity, self-confidence.

We brought in the classroom "Luna", a cute Parrot, children have made friends and they made a portrait. During two different outings, we went all together to the largest aviary in Europe and to Volandia, museum of human flight. To rebuild the soundscapes in the classroom, we sampled the verses of parrots and played them with Soundbeam. As we did with the sounds of flying machines, the audible alerts and the voices of the pilots. What you can hear in our video is played live by children, disabled teenagers and me, with Desktop SB, bass and drum machine.

Judges’ Feedback

JPJ: Good group work, an overall polished project.

CH:  What an amazing validation of the Soundbeam as the ultimate interactive, creative adventure playground for kids! This was just charming. And who knew parrots were this bright?

SB: A very imaginative and enjoyable concept, well filmed and with a lot of visual interest as well as some lovely moments of beaming. There isn't a lot of musical content and the connection between picture and audio is unclear in places, but we felt that this was a highly original entry.

Runner Up

Circles (Republic of Ireland) – Everything We Did

Circles, Everything We Did on YouTube

Circles is an inclusive band that has emerged from the SoundOUT initiative in Cork City. Circles, in association with Togher Music Project, brings together a diverse range of musicians on a weekly basis to create and perform new music within an inclusive environment. Circles aims to break down barriers to meaningful music making and Soundbeam technology is used as a key resource to achieve this aim. Performers in this video include Cillian McSweeney (Soundbeam) Graham McCarthy (guitar and voice) and Dave Barrett (voice). Song Lyrics 'Everything We Did' by Cillian McSweeney.

Runner up

CEDA (UK) - Soundbeam Time for Teddy Bears

CEDA, Soundbeam Time for Teddy Bears on YouTube

Thank you for watching our entry to the Soundbeam competition. We are a group of disabled musicians from CEDA, an organisation in Exeter that offers learning opportunities to disabled people. Over the past six weeks we have been working on our entry to the Soundbeam competition in our Tuesday morning music sessions.

Our idea was to take the Soundbeam to an outside location and perform a piece of music that was fitting to our surroundings. We chose Teddy Bears Picnic. We created a soundset on the Soundbeam 5 and played in various melodies or note sequences to be played on switches and beams. The film was recorded and edited together by members of CEDA using footage we filmed in the woods, as well as at CEDA using some green screen effects. We hope you enjoy it!

Runner Up

Chris Tweed (UK) - Piano study live / Magic Dance Tune

Chris Tweed, Piano study live on YouTube

Chris improvising a piano study using Soundbeam to play the melody & three switches to control the arpeggiator parameters of the Instant Concert Piano patch in Reason 6.5

Chris Tweed, Magic Dance Tune on YouTube

Chris performs his composition "Magic Dance Tune" using Soundbeam to play the melody (acoustic guitar in Reason 6.5) & switches to trigger a series of guitar loops (Ableton Live 8.2.7)


Runner Up

Meldreth Manor School / David Jackson (UK) - Journeys

Meldreth Manor School / David Jackson, Journeys on YouTube, 1

Meldreth Manor School / David Jackson, Journeys on YouTube, 2

Soundbeam class sessions with David Jackson at Meldreth Manor School, filmed and edited by Jess Cook on 20th & 21st March 2013. Our theme was 'Journeys'. The final production was by Dorie Jackson.

Meldreth Manor is a SCOPE School and all the children attend regular Soundbeam Sessions. There is an open performance at Christmas and a Summer Music Festival involving local primary children and other artists. This is David's 18th year of Soundbeam at Meldreth.

Runner Up

Ablebeats and Victoria Education Centre (UK)

Abigail – a ‘Soundbeam natural’:
Abigail playing Soundbeam on YouTube

Students from Victoria Education Centre in Poole performing Peter and the Wolf using Soundbeam to get the different instruments and characters in the story:
Students from Victoria Education Centre, Poole, Peter and the Wolf on YouTube

Liam Mulligan plays his own tune on the Soundbeam:
Liam Mulligan plays Soundbeam on YouTube

John Kirkpatrick – homage to JPJ:
John Kirkpatrick, homage to JPJ, on YouTube



Pyramid of Arts Beam Team
Stepping Stones School



With heartfelt thanks to all the brilliant performers for rising to the challenge of our 25th anniversary competition and to our esteemed judges for facing up to an almost impossible task!

Scott Anderson
Jamie Arif
Associazione Stefania, Monza and Brianza, Italy
Mari Autio
Kevin Banfield
Dave Barrett
Bassingbourne Primary School, Cambridgeshire, UK
Matthew Betts
Craig Bowden
Conor Boyle
CRAMS, Italy
John Brockhouse
Jane and Stephen Butler
CEDA, Exeter, UK
Jess Cook
Ogi Damjanovic
Tom Dransfield
Mark Fitzpatrick
TJ Foreman
Robbie Foulder
Vincenzo Genna
Zach Gundle
Charles Hazlewood
Liam Hirst
David Jackson
John Paul Jones
Ari Kinarthy, Victoria BC, Canada
Jonathan Kirkpatrick
Sally Mack
Luke Manwaring
Graham McCarthy
Meldreth Manor School, Royston UK
Rebecca Millinson
Grainne McHale
Aldo Moro School. Lissone, Italy
Cillian McSweeney
Liam Mulligan
Musiclusive, Gloucestershire, UK
Hannah Pattinson
Abigail Punchard
Pyramid of Arts, Leeds, UK
Sara Ratcliffe
George Roberts
Maurizio Rocca
Gianni Rodario School, Macherio, Italy
Fran Rogers
Alec Ross
Mike and Jana Rowland
Allan Slade
Robert Slater
SoundOUT, Cork, Ireland
William Stapleton
Amy Starling
Stepping Stones School, Surrey, UK
Fred Sydney
Togher Music Project
Christopher Tweed, Middlesex, UK
Victoria Education Centre, Poole, UK
Sam Wainwright
James Wheeler
Mike Whitlock
Edward Williams

The Judges

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones is widely considered to be one of the most highly influential and important musicians in the history of rock music. He became a prolific musical director and arranger of a huge range of prominent sixties artists before forming Led Zeppelin with Jimmy Page in 1968. John Paul Jones has turned out to be Led Zeppelin's most adventurous and intriguing musician. Since 1980 his collaborators have included Paul McCartney, La Fura Dels Baus, Brian Eno, The Butthole Surfers and Diamanda Galas. His debut solo album Zooma was released in September 1999, followed by The Thunderthief in 2001. 
A versatile musician, Jones plays bass, guitar, koto, lap steel guitars, mandolin, autoharp, violin, ukulele, sitar, cello, continuum and the three over-dubbed recorder parts heard on Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". John Paul Jones is currently part of the band Them Crooked Vultures with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stoneage) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), in which he plays bass guitar, keyboards, and other instruments. He's also recently been playing with Seasick Steve, Damon Albarn / Blur (African Express) and Supersilent.

Charles Hazlewood

Since winning the European Broadcasting Union conducting competition in his 20's, Charles Hazlewood has enjoyed a global and pioneering career conducting some of the world's great orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Malmö Symphony in Sweden and the Philharmonia in London. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2003, and his BBC Proms debut in 2006. With the South African lyric theatre company he co-founded in 2000 Hazlewood has enjoyed sell-outs in London's West End and worldwide tours.
The focus of his career is to share the power and passion of orchestral music with the widest possible audience, and in 2012 he founded The British Paraorchestra which played at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 'I am overjoyed at the success of the British Paraorchestra and its reception. I am incredibly proud that as a nation, not only did we start the Paralympics, and have just finished hosting the most successful Games ever, but we have blazed a trail for another extraordinary talent; that of our musicians with a disability.'

Edward Williams

A prolific British documentary composer, Soundbeam originator Edward Williams is responsible for some of the most memorable music scores from many of the BBC’s major natural history programmes, including the ground-breaking series Life on Earth.
Edward’s career as a composer began in 1947 with the Shell Film Unit’s How an Aeroplane Flies: Thrust. A further 24 shorts for British Transport Films including the OSCAR nominated Journey into Spring in 1957, established Edward as a successful documentary composer. During the 1960s Edward lectured on music at the University of Bristol where his interest in electronic music developed. As a result of an invitation to the BBC by Chris Parsons to debate whether there was a place for music in wildlife films, Edward was asked to do an electronic score using frog calls for The World About Us: Amorous Amphibians. This ultimately led to his appointment as composer for the Life on Earth series in 1979. Edward has worked on many other well-known BBC programmes including John Sparks’ The Discovery of Animal Behaviour and The Living Isles series. Edward won a BAFTA TV Cymru award for Best Original Score for the BBC/S4C series Excalibur: The Search for Arthur in 1995.