Kitchen Alchemy

Manuella Blackburn

Kitchen Alchemy has been performed in Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Leeds, London, Manchester, New Smyrna Beach, Rome, Santiago, São Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, Toronto, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Washington…

While composing this piece, I began to think of the analogy of alchemy and its applicability to the compositional process of acousmatic music. I wanted to create something seemingly precious and elaborate that showed no similarity to the ordinary source sounds of kitchen utensils and appliances. A key feature of this piece is its use of a compositional tool developed from Denis Smalley’s spectromorphological language, with the aim of creating structural processes and phrases within the work. Specifically in this piece there is a focus on structures created from a variety of onset, continuant, and termination vocabulary combinations. Experimentation with this vocabulary informed the creation of small units that developed into phrases, and eventually into larger scale structures growing outwards, connecting to each other.


Kitchen Alchemy was realized in 2007 at the Electroacoustic Music Studios of The University of Manchester (UK) and premiered on March 11, 2007 during the MANTIS “South-North” Festival at The University of Manchester. Kitchen Alchemy was awarded the Grand Prize at the Digital Art Awards (Fujisawa, Japan, 2007) and received an Honorable Mention at the Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo (CIMESP ’07, Brazil).


  • March 11, 2007, MANTIS Festival — South-North: Concert, Manchester (England, UK)



fixed medium



Date Work Program
March 22, 2013 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) El Réanimator / RCV Lille 99 FM (France)
May 16, 2013 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) Radiophon / Südwestrundfunk SWR2 (Germany)
July 7, 2013 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) Martian Gardens / WMUA (USA)
December 16, 2013 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) Foldover / WOBC 91.5 FM (USA)
May 19, 2014 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
September 30, 2016 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) Martian Gardens / WXOJ-LP 103.3 (USA)
September 30, 2016 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) Martian Gardens / Global Community Radio Channel 2 (USA)
June 8, 2019 Manuella Blackburn, Kitchen Alchemy (2007) Radio Horizon 93.9 (South Africa)

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