photo of Evelyn Ficarra

Dr Evelyn Ficarra

Post:Senior Lecturer in Music (Music)
Other posts:Assistant Director (Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre)
 Member (Sussex Humanities Lab)
Location:ARTS B B156

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 877385
International:+44 1273 877385

Research expertise:
download vCarddownload vCard to your mobile


Evelyn Ficarra is a composer and sound artist.  She has a strong focus on electro-acoustic and collaborative work and has written music for dance, music theatre, multi media, experimental film, radio, installation and the concert hall.  Her work has received support from, among others, the Arts Council of England, the London Arts Board, the Sonic Arts Network, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, the Hinrichsen Foundation, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Meet the Composer and Poems on the Underground.  Her music has been heard in concert halls, theatres, music festivals, film festivals, on television and in radio broadcasts in the UK, Europe, the Americas, Australia and the Far East. Her solo CD Frantic Mid-Atlantic is available on the Sargasso Label 

Recent projects include music and sound score for a new site-specific piece, Listening Creates an Opening with Mary Armentrout Dance Theater, commissioned by the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre (EMPAC) at Rennselaer Polytechnic. This was performed at EMPAC in September 2018 and again at the ODC Theater in San Francisco in May 2019;  Summer, Winter, Spring, a site specific installation / performance collaboration with Ian Winters, Heather Frasch and others, exploring time-lapse film and audio on Market Street in downtown San Francisco, supported by funds from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and others, which premièred at the Minnesota Street Project, hosted by SF Arts Ed in San Francisco in January 2018; O, One a five minute opera for two Nao Robots and cello, made in collaboration with Dr. Ron Chrisley in 2017; War Poems: the dead returning lightly dance for large ensemble and recorded sounds, commissioned by Poems on the Underground and premiered at the London Transport Museum in November 2016. 

Evelyn has an ongoing laptop improvisation duo soeurs sonores with Berlin-based composer Heather Frasch, with whom she has performed at Studio Acht in Berlin (May 2017) and for Resonance FM in London.  Current projects include Dissonant Futures for amplified prepared piano, live video and live electronic sound, a collaboration with pianist / composer Myra Melford and video artist Ian Winters and another Robot Opera, this time featuring a Pepper robot interacting with singer Loré Lixenberg and cellist Anton Lukoszevieze. 

Evelyn is Associate Director of the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre. In 2014 she co-organised Opera and the Media of the Future, a research project examining the challenges and opportunities of new media technologies for the future of opera, and in June 2017 she launched the research strand in Robot Opera.  

Evelyn was educated at the University of Sussex (BA Hons, MA) and the University of California, Berkeley, (PhD, 2010, Composition), and is also a graduate in Screen Music of the National Film and Television School. Between 1998 and 2005 she took a break from academia and worked as a sound editor, dialogue editor and sound designer in film and television in the UK and Scandanavia. See selected credits here.


Awards/Honors/Funding Support

2018 (March/April) Residency at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre (EMPAC) at Rennselaer Polytechnic

2017 (April) Residency at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre (EMPAC) at Rennselaer Polytechnic

2016 Commission from Poems on the Underground to compose War Poems: the dead returning lightly dance, for large ensemble and recorded spoken word, in commemoration of the ongoing centenary of the first world war. 

2016 (May - June) Resident Artist / collaborator at the Atlantic Center for the Arts

2012 (March – April) Djerassi Resident Artist Program

2011 October (until April 2012) Selected for Berkeley Symphony’s Under Construction program.

2010-2011 George Ladd Prix de Paris

2010 Nicola de Lorenzo Prize for Composition

2010 Meet the Composer (for The Arbitrariness of Language)

2008 FACE Fellowship (French American Cultural Exchange, residency at CIRM in Nice.)

2008 Eisner Award for Music, UC Berkeley.

2008 Meet the Composer (for Short Films about Water/Submarine.)

2004 Djerassi Resident Artist Program

2002 Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Composer Commission for ‘Submarine’

1997 Arts Council of England Support for ‘Search’ string septet for Gogmagogs.

1995 Hinrichsen Foundation Composer's Bursary

1995 Arts Council of England Commission support for The Empress’s Feet.

1994 Short listed Luigi Russolo Competition  (for Source of Uncertainty)

1994 London Arts Board Commisison support for Those Roads

1993 Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Electroacoustic Composer's Scholarship. Funded 5 months as guest composer at EMS Stockholm.

1993 Finalist Prix Noroit (for Source of Uncertainty)

1993 Short listed Bourges  (for Deuce)

1992 Arts Council of Great Britain Commission support for Deuce.

1988 Arts Council of Great Britain Composers for Dance Award Second Stride.


Professional Affiliations

Performing Rights Society,Associate Member

Sound and Music Contemporary Voices.


List of Works (by genre)

music/sound design for music-theatre / dance-theatre / theatre / installation

Summer, Winter, Spring installationperformance collaboration wtih Ian Winters (video) Heather Frasch (co-composer) and Mary Armentrout, Daiane Lopes da Silva, & paige starling sorvillo (choreographers). Installation 13th-31st Jan, performances 26th 27th Jan.

Listening Creates an Opening work in progress performance, collaboration with Mary Armentrout Dance Theatre, commissioned by the Experimental Media and Performance Art Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York State, October 2017.

O, One a 5 minute opera for two Nao Robots and cello. Performed at the Robot Opera Mini Symposium, by two robots and Alice Eldridge (cello). Directed by Tim Hopkins, co-devised and programmed by Ron Chrisley.

Ghost Cup installation exploring sound objects and memory. Columbia University Computer Music Center, as part of the Reembodied Sound Symposium 7 & 8th April 2017.

Fractured Marble fixed audio piece (released 2007, Sargasso CD 28057) concert première. MANCA Festival, 23rd November, Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Nice, France.

Piano Teacup Distress sound installation / performance, Poto Festival, Grass Valley, July 2015.

Bestiarium live sound score for physical performance piece with paige starling sorvillo/blindsight, Oberlin Dance Commons, San Francisco, July 2015.

Reveries and Elegies  sound installation, performance and video sound score for Mary Armentrout Dance Theatre, San Francisco International Arts Festival, Fort Mason, June 2015. 

Reveries and Elegies  sound installation, performance and video sound score for Mary Armentrout Dance Theatre, Brighton Festival Fringe, May 2015. 

Fantasia upon the moment when the woman invisible to herself and the man who doesn’t know whether he wants to exist yet or not decide to go in on an apartment together sound score for Mary Armentrout Dance Theatre, Z-Space, San Francisco, September 11-13th 2014

Teacup Lady Justice music theatre for solo performer and electronic soundscore. MilkBar Salon, Oakland, 8th Aug 2014.

memory table v2 inter-media collaboration with video artist Ian Winters and choreographer paige starling sorvillo. Milkbar, Oakland; Center for New Music, San Francisco; Attenborough Centre Creativity Zone, Brighton; Sept 2013

memory table  inter-media collaboration with video artist Ian Winters, Noh Space, San Francisco, Oct/Nov 2011.  Performers Megan Nicely and Claire Willey.

in apt dance theater with live electronic improvisation; collaboration with Bhutto influenced dancer/choreographer paige starling sorvillo, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Chicago, Feb 2011 The Garage, San Francisco June 2010; Oakland Noodle Factory July 2009; MilkBar, Oakland Jan 2010

night edge I for mezzo soprano, flute, piano and dancer 2007. Premiered by Aurora Josephson (singer), Heather Frasch (flute), Myra Melford (piano) and Paige Sorvillo (dancer) 17th December 2007, Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley.

night bed is in mess for mezzo soprano, flute and piano. Premiered by Shie Shoji (singer) with Klio Blonz (Flute) and Elena Konstantinou (piano) in the Kushiro City Art Hall, Hokkaido, Japan, August 2006.  Shonorities DVD produced 2008;

Such Sweet Thunder  Music re-mix and sound design. The Place Prize Finals, London, Sept 2006, Director/choreographer, Sarah Fahie.

In One Ear  Music and sound design. theatre-rites. Music Theatre featuring Kurdish drummer Hussein Zahawy.  Lyric Hammersmith, London and UK Tour 2004/2005, revived spring 2006. Director Sue Buckmaster, Design Sophia Clist.

Nocturne for Night Cleaning  Music and sound design. Naked Fish Productions, Director/choreographer, Sarah Fahie. 2004 Jerwood Space and Robin Howard Theatre at The Place, London.

The Lover  Music composer and advisor. 2003 Choreodrome. Director Romilly Gordon-Masters, choreographer Sarah Fahie. The Place Studio 2 August 2003, London.

Shopworks   Music and sound design. theatre-rites. Co-commissioned for London International Festival of Theatre and Vienna Festival. Performed London May, 2003; Vienna June 2003. Directors Sue Buckmaster & Gary Stevens, Installation Artist Sophia Clist.

Fugue for a Furnished Flat Music director. Naked Fish Productions. The Place, London, 14th Feb 2003. Director/choreographer, Sarah Fahie.

The Registry   Music and sound design. Hampstead Theatre and The Place Learning and Access, London, December, 2002. Director/choreographer, Sarah Fahie.

Submarine for piano, voice and tape, dance theatre score, naked fish productions, The Place Theatre, London, June, 2002. Director/choreographer, Sarah Fahie.

Borrowing Intimacy  for violin, saxophone and tape. Collaboration with composer John Sweeney and choreographer Sarah Fahie, The Place Theatre, London, September, 1999.

Dangerous Talk  for 2 sopranos. Second Stride’s Choreodrome Workshop. The Place Theatre (London) and Cambridge, August 1997. Director, Ian Spink.

Goldmines  Music and sound design. Clean Break Theatre Company, London’s Et Cetera Theatre and National Tour, April - June 1997. Director, Nadia Molinari.

The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other Sound score. National Youth Dance Theatre, The Place Theatre, London, 1995; British Tour, 1996. Directors, Pete Brooks and Ian Spink.

The Empress's Feet a music theatre piece for solo voice; 20', 1995 (revised 1997.) Commissioned by Linda Hirst with funds from the Arts Council of England, premiered Dartington International Festival, 1995. Revived by Director Michal Grover Friedlander, Tmuna Theatre, Tel Aviv, Sept 2014.

Canzonet  for tape. Dance solo by Steve Goff, Islington Arts Factory & Lilian Baylis Theatre, London, 1994.

The Dragon  Music and sound design. Theatre Clywdd,  Wales, Welsh tour, Autumn 1991. Director, Janine Wunsche.

Corryvreckan Music and sound design, in collaboration with Francesca Hanley. Spark Theatre Company, Old Red Lion, London, 1990. Nominated Best Sound DesignLondon Fringe Awards, 1991. Director, Janine Wunsche.

Dancing and Shouting  for clarinet, voice, percussion and tape. Second Stride Dance Theatre, British tour, 1988. Arts Council of Great Britain Composers for Dance Award. Director/choreographer, Ian Spink.

Underground Man, Music and sound design. Dark Horse Theatre Company, Brighton Nightengale Theatre 1987. Director Fiona Buffini.


concert/radio/fixed audio media

War Poems: the dead returning lightly dance for large ensemble and recorded sounds. Commisisoned by Poems on the Underground, performed by the Apollo Chamber Orchestra, conducted by David Chernaik. Reader: Michael Rosen. World Première, 2 Nov. 2016. Second performance, Europe House, 15 Nov 2016. 

Scores for objects and electronics with Heather Frasch, Studio Acht, Berlin, May 2017.

Dissonant Futures collaboration with Myra Melford (pianist / composer) and Ian Winters (video artist). Prepared amplified piano, laptop improvisation and live video. Performed University of Sussex, 19th Feb 2014.

Wild Debris for orchestra, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, 29 Apr 2012, conductor Joana Carneiro, commissioned by Under Construction.

vagues / fenêtres for string trio and electronic sounds, Eco Ensemble, Berkeley, Feb 6 2011. Premiered in the 2009 MANCA Festival.

The Arbitrariness of Language for solo piano, 8’, commissioned by Chamber Bridge with funds from Meet the Composer, performed by Eva-Maria Zimmermann in San Francisco and Switzerland, May – Aug 2010.  

night edge II for mezzo soprano, flute, violin, cello and piano, 2008. Performed by Lucy Shelton (singer), Heather Frasch (flute), Myra Melford (piano) , Garret Maclean(violin) and Leighton Fong (cello) April 2008, Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley.

A Bach Concert for flute, viola, cello and reader, 4’00, a setting of a poem by Bei Dao, premiered 14 Feb 2008  by the Apollo Chamber Players at the British Museum, commissioned by Poems on the Underground.

Fractured Marble  fixed media audio, 7’30”, November, 2007. Part of the Jonathan Harvey ‘Other Presences’ project, released on Sargasso SCD28057.

Submarine Revisited  fixed media audio, 15’09”. Unknown Public/BMIC Critical Notice web project, 2007. Featuring Loré Lixemberg (soprano) Dominic Saunders (piano) and interviews from a number of ex-naval officers.

Rendition for prepared piano, harpsichord and video. Collaboration with  Keynote+ (Kate Ryder and Jane Chapman) and photographer/video artist Ian Winters for the Cutting Edge Festival, London, October 2006. Subsequent performances in UK and California, 2007.

Rendition II  for prepared piano, three flutes, two trumpets and video. Feathruing Myra Melford on piano. 16th November, 2006, Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley.

like this (like this?) Instrumental music theatre for three cellists, premiered by Leighton Fong, Michael Graham and Paul Hale, Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley, May 2006.

Isle Remix  fixed media audio, 7’. Electronic sound. Unknown Public/BMIC Critical Notice CD, 2006. Broadcast BBC Radio 3 ‘Late Junction’ 27 Nov 2007.

Submarine - radio edit fixed media audio, 15', 2002. Broadcast on Resonance 104.4fm, October 2002, May 2003. Featuring singer Shie Shoji. Supported by a grant from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust.

London Cries  for mezzo soprano, tenor, strings and tape, 12’, 2002. Commissioned by Poems on the Underground, premiered by the Apollo Chamber Orchestra, City of London Festival, July 2002; Hanoi Opera House, Vietnam, July, 2003; St Giles Cripplegate, London 2009.

Nunca Olvida  for solo voice, 5’, 2000. Premiered by Linda Hirst , London, November 2000.

Search for string septet and tape, 5', 1997. Commissioned by the Gogmagogs with funds from the Arts Council of England, premièred in the City of London Festival, 1997. Released on Sargasso CD 28026.

Frantic Mid-Atlantic for solo tape,13'53, 1995. Commissioned by Hearing is Believing, Radio broadcasts in Britain and Canada. Released on Sargasso CD 28026.

Those Roads  for solo tape,9'07, 1994. Commissioned by the Sonic Arts Network with funds from the London Arts Board as part of a sound and image collaboration. (See music for film.) Released on Sargasso CD 28026.

Ding   for solo tape, 1’, 1994. Unknown Public 05 Voicebox

Close  for two harpsichords and tape, 8'30, 1994. Commissioned by Annelie de Mann. Premiered in Amsterdam, 1996.

Source of Uncertainty (Model 266)  for solo tape, 8'00, 1993. Premiered in Aberdeen, 1994. Finalist in 1993 Prix Noroit, short-listed for 1994 Luigi Russolo. Supported by a grant from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust. Released on Sargasso CD 28026.

Deuce  for flute, harpsichord and tape, 10', 1993. Commissioned by Eleanor Dawson with funds from the Arts Council of Great Britain. Premiered in Belfast,  1993. Broadcast on Radio Nederlands, 1994. Released on Sargasso CD 28026.

Krazy Horse  for solo tape, 1'42, 1992, released on Sound Works Exchange CD 01, 1995;  BBC Radio 3 broadcast, 'Mixing It', 1995.

Sinking the Titanic for solo clarinet, 12'00, 1991. A music theatre piece commissioned by Ian Mitchell. Premiered in Coventry, 1991.

Plus ça change  for violin, marimba and tape, 14'00, 1991, revised 1997. Premiered by Marimolin at the Purcell Room, London,1991. Broadcast on Swedish radio, 1991. Released on Sargasso CD 28026.

Brasserie for brass trio and tape, 4’, 1992, performed in Dartington 1992, Lucerne, 1997.



music/sound design for film and installations

Endangered sculpture/poetry/sound installation collaboration with artist Karrie Hovey and poet Elise Ficarra. Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, 11 April 2012 – 26th May 2012.

short films about water  / submarine film/sound collaboration with video artist Ian Winters; showings in 2008: Oakland Noodle Factory (Sept); St Petersberg (Aug); Noisiel (Oct); Moscow Autumn (Nov.) In 2009, installation version: Illuminated Corridor; site specific in the Port of Oakland (May);  Poto Festival, Grass Valley (July); Luggage Store Performance including live electronic improvisation (Sept.)

these are my arms holding you – tearing you apart  text soundscape for pre-show installation. Dance Mission, San Francisco, Feb 2007.  Choreographer Paige Starling Sorvillo, video artist/set design Ian Winters.

Sound Garden outdoor sound installation, Hertz Hall,  University of California, Berkeley; collaboration with composers Heather Frasch, Jeremy Hunt, Brian Kane, and John MacCallum, with artist Dawn Frasch, 22nd April 2006.

21 Grand gallery soundscape for Re-figured exhibitionfeaturing photographs by Ian Winters. Electronic sound score, Feb 2006. Featuring recordings of accordionist Marié Abe.

Zozo  feature film,co-sound design with Ludligan, Sweden. Memfis Films, 2005. Directed by Josef Fares. Selected to represent Sweden for the Academy Awards, 2006.

Moerk feature film,sound edit/sound design for Clarity Post Production. Director Jannik Johansen, Fine and Mellow, Denmark, 2005.

Oh Happy Day feature film,sound edit/sound design for Clarity Post Production. Director Hella Joof, Nordisk Films/Fine and Mellow, Denmark, 2004.

last june - 4:30am, 16mm/video, 11’23, 1997, sound score. Image: Suse Bohse. Screenings: UK, including Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 2000.

Time is all there is 16mm, 9 mins, 1995, electronic sound score. Image: Suse Bohse. Screenings: Hamburg, 1995; Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, London NFT, 1996.

Those Roads  9'07, 1994. Sound score. Commissioned by the Sonic Arts Network with funds from the London Arts Board. Image: Suse Bohse. Screenings: UK, Holland, Germany, Greece, Russia, USA.

Sirko 16mm, 38 mins; fiction, NFTS 1994. Director, Ineke Smits. Music scored for string quartet, tuba and electric guitar. Screenings: London NFT, Rotterdam, 1994; Dutch Television broadcast, 1995.

Songs Unheard 16mm, 27 mins, NFTS 1994. Director, Megumi Adachi. Music scored for solo voice. Screenings: London NFT, BP Expo, Austria.

Silken Lines and Silver Hooks  35mm, 8 mins; NFTS 1993. Music and co-sound design with Paul Davies. Dir/Animator, Alison Pook. Scored for flute and electronics. Festival screenings: Munich, Paris, Poitiers, Rome, Edinburgh, Brest, Uppsala, Tokyo.  Broadcasts: European Satellite, BBC2, 1995.

Augustine  16mm, 39 mins;  NFTS 1991. Director, Coral Houtman. Music, scored for violin, viola, cello, clarinet, trumpet, soprano and percussion. Several festival screenings. Winner Grand Jury Prizefor student film, Houston International Film and Video Festival.


Senior Lecturer in Music

Associate Director, Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre (CROMT)

Admissions Tutor, Department of Music