Alwynne Pritchard is a British vocalist, performer and composer based in Bergen, Norway. In her music and performances, Alwynne explores relationships between musical expression and the human voice and body. She has appeared as an actor, vocalist and physical performer in a number of stage productions, as well as directing and developing choreography for her work. In 2015, she formed the music-theatre company Neither Nor with her partner Thorolf Thuestad. In 2018 she was awarded a Bergen kommune arbeidsstipend in support of her work and in 2019, a portrait CD of work was released on the Kairos label.
Alwynne has composed for, and performed with leading musicians and ensembles across the globe. Her work Decoy, created at the Heinrich Strobel Stiftung in Freiburg in 2006, for the Donaueschingen Musiktage, was awarded the special prize given by the Foundation Ton Bruynèl, STEIM and the Foundation GAUDEAMUS. In 2016, Alwynne was awarded the commission to create a fanfare or ‘marker’ to celebrate the opening of Snøhetta’s building for the University of Bergen’s newly created Department of Art, Music and Design, for which she created the book of text scores, up without an insistent casting away.
As a performer, recent projects include her own Vitality Forms solo vocal/physical performances and the series of DOG/GOD commissions from composers Trond Reinholdtsen, Øyvind Torvund, Vinko Globokar, Helmut Oehring, Adam de la Cour, Felix Kubin, Hollie Harding, Gerhard Stäbler, Gwyn Pritchard, Justin Connolly and François Sarhan, launched at the Bergen International Festival in 2015. Alwynne has since performed selected pieces from both projects at Dada hair studio (Bergen), Teaterhuset Avant Garden (Trondheim), the London Ear festival, Bastard Assignments New Teeth (London), the Opening Festival (Trier), the Frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik (Weimar), Pyramidale and Tanzen von Weihnachten (Berlin), Forum Kunst und Kultur (Essen), Fail Better, Beckett@111 (Freiburg), Kunstpalast and Kunsthalle (Düsseldorf), Arena festival (Riga), Tectonics Tel Aviv and Point B Worklodge (New York). In September 2018, Alwynne recorded Vinko Globokar’s Metamorphosis (composed for her DOG/GOD (Part I)) for the Kairos label, where it was presented alongside other work by Globokar, performed by Bergen’s BIT20 ensemble.
In September 2016, Alwynne gave the world premiere (with Michele Greco, electronics) at the Firenze Suona Contemporanea of Andrea Cavallari’s music-theatre piece LA PAZZA DELLA PORTA ACCANTO, composed for her and based on the life of poetess Alda Merini. In 2017, she performed Arnold Schönberg’s song cycle Pierrot Lunaire in collaboration with British singer Adam de la Cour and the City Pierrot Ensemble at City University (London) and she has performed John Cage’s classic Aria at venues including Logen (Bergen) and at the Frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik (Weimar). In 2018, Alwynne again appeared at the Bergen International Festival in performances of both her own work Intonation (created as part of UiB’s Wheels within Wheels research project) and Ruben Sverre Gjertsen’s Distortion. Alwynne has twice appeared as a vocalist at the Borealis festival (Bergen) where, in 2017, her performance was enthusiastically reviewed by the international press. In May 2019, Alwynne hosted and gave a solo performance at the official opening ceremony for the Bergen International festival.
As an actor (as well as vocalist), Alwynne has appeared in several productions, including collaborations with the French company Scènes Théâtre Cinéma for the Marseille City of Culture 2013 (Bull’s Eye) and at Théâtre du Point du Jour (Lyon) (Hamlet Machine). In 2019, she co-created the music and sound design for and performed as an actor, instrumentalist and vocalist in the Neither Nor/Scènes Théâtre Cinéma co-production Underground. The show was premiered at the Théâtre Nouvelle Génération in Lyon in April and later launched the Bit Teatergarasjen season in Bergen in August 2019. Alwynne has also appeared in her own music-theatre pieces Hospice Lazy and We, Three in theatres in Germany, Latvia and Norway. In 2019, BIT Teatergarasjen nominated Alwynne for the Bergens Tidende Audience prize.
Alwynne’s professional life has also included stints as a writer and presenter for BBC Radio, a composition teacher at Trinity Laban in London and as Artistic Director of both the Borealis festival and BIT20 Ensemble.
“a parade of techniques and playfulness on speed […] a great achievement by Pritchard. This performance should be a reference-point for singers wishing to study newer music.”
“a strange, sylvan beauty from first note to last. Decoy impresses still more with each repetition.”
– MusicWeb International
“Embrace the chaos: Alwynne Pritchard is spellbinding in her own Rockaby with a duo of Foley artists and the BBC SSO under Ilan Volkov.”
“a delivery between that of a rock-music diva and a verbal and physical contortionist”
– ALL ABOUT JAZZ – NEW YORK
“Pritchard explored a wide spectrum of vocal timbres through vowel shaping, varied vibrato speeds, tongue clicks, and vocal fry, all with incredible control of technique.”
– I CARE IF YOU LISTEN
“Each one had a slow inevitability, like the slow tread of some strange insect, before it dissolved into an unpredictable cloud. It was utterly captivating.”
– Tim Rutherford-Johnson, British Music Collection: 50 Things
“Pritchard seems to have a wonderfully instinctive grasp of orchestral sound. Clouds of string texture hang in the air and seem simultaneously iridescent and hazy, while Pritchard’s deployment of harp and percussion is masterly, and the constant fiddling about with the costume creates a bizarrely apt parallel sonic universe. Pritchard’s vocalisations are intoxicating and range from magnificently controlled glissandi to the crystalline delivery of words which seem absolutely material to the success of the piece, although frankly I have not the faintest idea of why this is so.”
– MusicWeb International
“She moves through the utilitarian space with a flamboyance that is decadent, rude, and risky.”
– Public Books
“a composer of originality”
– The Times
“an extracted, dynamic and almost magnetic bodily energy”
“energetic and provocative”
– The Wire
“cool and lucid”
– The Independent