Greta Eacott is a British percussionist and composer living on the island of Morsø in Denmark.
In her compositions, she works with simplistic, structured forms in combination with elements of indeterminacy and a minimalistic approach to material that heightens the relationships between sound and silence, movement and stillness, texture and space.
Greta Eacott’s primary focus is composing live performance works for large and small instrumental ensembles; working with both people with no experience performing music, as well as for instrumentalists at the highest professional level.
Her ‘sans disciplinary’ approach to music composition is rooted in an explorative interest in ‘Ma’, the Japanese aesthetic concept of negative space. ‘Ma’ expresses a pause in time, an interval or emptiness in space that makes way for growth and reflection. In music ‘Ma’ is found in Noh Theatre, the classical Japanese dancedrama that demonstrates a delicate balance between object and space, sound and silence, movement and rest.
In her ‘no previous experience necessary’ percussion piece, Breathing Exercise (2020), the composition is driven by the cycle of each player’s breath which determines when to play their percussion instrument. When performed by multiple players these form a multilayered meditation on the subtle balance between sound and silence.
In her ‘single process’ piece GRAINZ; Movement 4 (2016) Eacott explores a musical form that invites the audience to lose track of time and enter the moment of now. Here, slowly released beans from grain shakers create rhythmic patterns, little tingling sounds on the floor, which delicately highlight the moment of sound creation.
In her percussion work Spatial Polyrhythms (2017) Eacott explores spatial aesthetics as a compositional method. Here, the players decide on different repeatable pathways through the performance space. Each player follows their own pathway, playing a tone on a chosen step (for example, every sixth step). Through this device, intangible polyrhythms emerge as these spatialised sounds form patterns over time.
Her works have been commissioned and performed by ensembles such as Musarc Choir [UK], New Maker Ensemble [DK], Damkapellet [DK] & G·Bop Orchestra [Int.], as well as by soloists including Christian Balvig [DK] & Derya Yildirim [DE]. As a percussionist Eacott has performed across the UK, Europe and Japan. She studied music composition at the University of Leeds, and studied with marimba virtuoso and composer, Keiko Abe, at the Toho Gakuen School of Music, Tokyo. She completed a Nordic Master Course in Music Composition at Gothenburg Academy of Music in Sweden, and attended the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Denmark and the Oslo Academy of Music & Drama in Norway.
- Text by Ingeborg Okkels