Milton Mermikides (born 26 May 1971) is a British composer, guitarist and academic of Greek heritage. His diverse output includes compositions, academic papers,[1] talks (TED (conference))[2] and musical performances. He has worked with a number of artists including Tim Minchin, Pat Martino, John Williams, Tod Machover, Steve Winwood and Brian Eno and research bodies such as the Wellcome Trust,[3] UCL Neuroscience, British Library, Science Museum, Aldeburgh Music and the Smithsonian Institution. Mermikides is widely recognised as a leading figure in data sonification. His 2004 work Bloodlines, written with his sister Dr Alex Mermikides, received critical acclaim.[4] Bloodlines was created by translating his daily blood results, whilst suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, into each second of a musical composition.

Dr Milton Mermikides with Voodoo Trombone Quartet

He is the 37th Gresham Professor of Music[5] and currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Music at the University of Surrey.[6] He is also a professor of Jazz Guitar at the Royal College of Music[7] in London and previously held the post of Head of Music Technology and Lecturer in Music at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2014 Mermikides co-founded the International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC) with Stephen Goss and John Williams.[8]

Background edit

Milton John Mermikides was born in Hampton, England in 1971 to CERN nuclear physicist Michael Mermikides and Law Student Olga Lioufis. He travelled widely as a child, receiving music classes from Ivor Cutler at Fox Primary School in Kensington, London and eventually attending Highgate School in North London. He gained a BSc in Analytical and Descriptive Economics from the London School of Economics and a BMus in Jazz Performance and Composition from Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA). Whilst at Berklee he studied Jazz Improvisation with Ed Tomassi, Hal Crook and John Damian.

Mermikides is an atheist and sceptic and a vocal opponent to the Anti-vax movement. He has been associated with the sceptic movement and has collaborated with George Hrab (with several appearances and references on his podcast[9] and an interview of George by Milton[10] on his album Trebuchet – the 'Virtual liner notes' ), the QED conference[11] (for which he wrote the theme tune[12]), the James Randi Educational Foundation[13] and The Amazing Meeting.[14] He was also interviewed on Meet the Skeptics.[15]

Compositions edit

His music blends data sonification, Jazz, modernist, generative, world music, IDM, groove, rock and electroacoustic genres. These are informed by research into musical theory, cognition & perception, scientific concepts, natural processes, algorithmic composition, microrhythm and improvisation. He has referred to this radical blending of styles, concepts and processes as “liminalism”, a "challenging, blending and melding of the boundaries of musical style, and of the limits of music perception, processes and accessibility". His data sonification work Bloodlines was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Midweek, and featured in the Times Higher Education Supplement.[16] A later data sonification work, Careful, was featured in The Guardian.[17] He has written music for plays (Derry Playhouse), Film Scores (Martino: Unstrung), arrangements for string quartet (D Rail, played live on BBC Radio 4's Intune), sound installations (Microcosmos[18] at the Royal Academy of Music). In 2018, Milton Mermikides was interviewed by Evelyn Glennie on BBC Radio 4 on data sonification and his translations of Bridget Riley prints into music.[19]

Collaborations edit

Mermikides has collaborated extensively with a diverse range of artists, academics and scientists. Collaborations include; writing the score for Pat Martino's film Martino:Unstrung (2008), arranging and production credits (with Bridget Mermikides) on Tim Minchin's Storm animation,[20] and arranging music for Brian Eno for Hiroko Koshino's fashion shows in China and Japan. Mermikides was previously guitarist and arranger for band Stax (previously called Souled Out) with singer Sam Brown whose guest artists included Steve Winwood and Tim Rice.

He has also worked with Sleep experts and his Sound Asleep project was exhibited in the Design Museum, London, and featured on BBC Radio 4 Inside Science. Most recently he has been working with Professor Morten Kringelbach of Oxford University drawing parallels between circadian rhythms and musical theory, culminating in a presentation of new music at a public lecture hosted by the British Neuroscience Association.[21]

In 2006 Mermikides founded the Eclectic Guitar Orchestra (Milton's Big EGO) – a guitar orchestra made up entirely of eminent guitarists. Members have included Craig Ogden, John Williams, Paco Peña, Jake Willson, Thomas Leeb, Declan Zapala, Stephen Goss, Gary Ryan, George Hrab and Bridget Mermikides.

In 2020, a long term collaboration with music technology pioneer Peter Zinovieff climaxed in the presentation of a paper at the EVA London 2020 conference . The paper ‘Revisiting December Hollow: Unearthing emotive shape’[22] was a description of the project – a developed realisation of Zinovieff’s 1969 December Hollow ‘fold-out score’ concept. The compositional system is designed to generate electronic music and/or conventional scores by slicing through a three-dimensional topographical score of ‘emotional zones’. Each zone is associated with a vector of musical parameters and by selecting various trajectories through the shape, countless pieces may be generated.

Academic output edit

Mermikides gained a PhD from the University of Surrey in 2010 for his thesis 'Changes Over Time'. His academic output consists of many published articles including 'Rondo All Turca',[23] for Total Guitar Magazine, 'On Composing: How To Be A Successful Computer-based Composer' (2010) for Computer Music Magazine Special: Making It,[24] 'Parallel Worlds',[25] '5 Decades of the Jam Band'[26] 'Extreme Guitar Concepts'[27] and 'Bossa Appreciation' (2014)[28] for Guitar Techniques Magazine. He has also contributed chapters to many books including Music and Shape published by Oxford University Press[29] and frequently shares articles on music theory on his website.

He has given many keynote presentations, including a talk for TEDx Groningen[30] in April 2016 entitled 'Everything we do is music', at the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts in 2018 as part of the 3rd Altamira Guitar Symposium[31] and the International Guitar Research Centre, The British Sleep Society,[32] Royal Physiological Society,[33] Studium generale and the Frank Mohr Institute. In 2019 he shared a keynote presentation with Jim Al-Khaleli at the University of Surrey Doctoral Conference.[1]

In 2015 was hailed a 'Rap Genius'[34][non-primary source needed] by Gareth Malone OBE for his satirical instruction article on writing a generic Eurovision song. He has also written an article on the controversial 432 Hz Movement[35] and has been interviewed as an expert in ancient Greek Tuning on BBC Radio 3 Music Matters.[36] He was supervisor for Bill Bruford's PhD at the University of Surrey.[37]

Milton's work features in many publications including The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music,[38] Nature Immunology,[39] New dramaturgy: international perspectives on theory and practice,[40] Medical Humanities Journal,[41] Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts[42] and The Anatomy of the Science Play[43].

Leukaemia and fundraising edit

In 2004 Milton Mermikides was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. On 8 April 2005, he received a life saving bone-marrow transplant from his sister Dr Alex Mermikides. Whilst undergoing intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, he set up a website – (now archived on his website – and produced regular blog posts and videos[44] from Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals documenting his treatment for leukaemia and bone marrow transplant. His courage and productivity during this period was inspirational to many fellow cancer sufferers and received global attention from leukaemia patients, carers, scientists, schools, skeptical groups and musicians. This later led to a scholarship from the James Randi Educational Foundation,[45] and appearing as a judge in the final of the 2006 Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland. Through various fundraising efforts[46] he has since raised over £20,000 for Cancerbackup, Anthony Nolan and the Macmillan Cancer Trust. In 2015, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his bone marrow transplant, Mermikides put on a charity concert in Bush Hall, London, called Milton's Big Ego.[47]

List of works edit


Electronic works edit

  • AMRt (2018)
  • Deny II (2018)
  • Heart of Mouse (2018)
  • Late Morning (2018)
  • Movement in Squares (2018)
  • The Platelets (2018)
  • To a Summers Days (2018)
  • Take Your Seats (2016)
  • ACTG (2015)
  • Distant Harmony I-III (2015)
  • Starstuff (2015)
  • Circles (2015)
  • Sound Asleep (2014)
  • Microcosmos (2006)
  • Bloodlines (2004) – Live electronics
  • Primal Sound (2004)

Electronics with acoustic instruments edit

Classical guitar with live electronics edit

  • Bumbershoot (2019)
  • Insighted (2019)
  • Corale (2017)
  • 2 Blue Circles (2014)
  • Asini (2014)
  • Frees (2014)
  • I(c)escape (2014)
  • Limnos (2014)
  • Spirals (2014)
  • The Broken Music Box (2014)

Chamber music with electronics edit

  • Mindfield (2019) Piano and Electronics
  • fall.rise (2019) Chamber Ensemble and Electronics
  • Music from Albino Parts (With Brian Doherty – 2019) Violin, Piano and Electronics
  • Music from Invisible Man (2018) 'Cello, Percussion and Electronics
  • Nataraja (2018) Violin and Electronics
  • Music from The Monk, The Bird & The Priest (With Brian Doherty- 2017) Violin, Piano and Electronics
  • Music from Time Riders (2017) Violin, Piano, Electric Guitars and Electronics
  • Solar (2017) Violin, Viola, Cello and Electronics
  • Suite from Careful (2016) String, Percussion, Harp and Electronics/Live Electronics
  • Geometudes Nos.1–5 (2015) Piano, Synth and Violin
  • The Escher Café (2011) 2 Violins, 'Cello, Bass Clarinet, Hang and Electronics
  • QED (conference) Theme (2010) Violin, Trumpet, Harpsichord, Piano, Synth, Drums and Electronics
  • Terminal (with Peter Gregson (cellist) 2008) 'Cello and Electronics
  • Omnia 5'33" (2007) 'Cello and Live Electronics
  • Event Horizon (2007) 'Cello and Electronics
  • Koshino Sound (Hiroko Koshino 2007 Autumn Collection) Violin and Electronics
  • The Selfish Theme (2007) Guitar, Bass, Drums & Live Electronics
  • Kalmer (2007) Guitar, Bass, Drums & Live Electronics
  • Atona Sonata (2006) 'Cello and Loop Pedal
  • Factory (2006) 'Cello and Electronics

Acoustic solo and chamber edit

  • Hivemind (2019) (Guitar Orchestra)
  • Insighted for Ukulele (2019) Solo Ukulele
  • Changes (2016) Violin, Viola and 'Cello
  • 3 Lights (2016) Violin, Viola and 'Cello
  • Another Day (2015) Orchestra
  • Birth and Death (2015) Solo Piano
  • Crystals (2015) Solo Piano
  • Dark Shards (2015) Solo Piano
  • Irrational Music (2015) Piano, Strings and Percussion
  • Outbreak (2015) String Orchestra
  • Seed Pods (2015) String Orchestra
  • Wave (2015) String Orchestra
  • Filter (2007) Guitar and Bass
  • Standard Deviation (2007) Jazz Guitar Duo
  • Rowing Towards the Sunlight (2006) Classical Guitar Ensemble
  • Creation (2002) Solo Flute
  • Anomaly for Solo Violin (2001) Solo Violin
  • The Cryptic Tryptych (2001) Solo 'Cello
  • D-Rail (2000) String Quartet
  • Little Orchestra (1997) Solo Classical Guitar
  • One Last Surviving (1996) Violin, 'Cello and Clarinet
  • il Gioco è Finito (1995) Soprano, Violin, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Drums, Keyboards

Film scores and installations edit

  • Sound Asleep Video Installation (2015)
  • Music from Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (2012)
  • Music from Martino:Unstrung (2008)
  • Flatlanders (2004)

Theme tunes edit

Albums edit

  • Hidden Music (2015)
  • Sound Asleep (2014)
  • The Theme Attic (2014)

Notable students edit

Adam Betts of Three Trapped Tigers
Julian Bliss
Bill Bruford
Gareth Coker
Kit Downes
Thomas Gould
Jasper Høiby
Ivo Neame
Gwilym Simcock
Alexander Sitkovetsky
Tusks (musician)

References edit

  1. ^ "Milton Mermikides – Google Scholar Citations". Google Scholar. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  2. ^ "TEDxGroningen". Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  3. ^ Sanguine (9 October 2010). "BIOMAB: 15–17 Oct 2010 Art Researches Science at Studio Villanella". BIOMAB. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Transplant inspires siblings' Bloodlines project". Times Higher Education (THE). 30 January 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Milton Mermikides appointed as Gresham Professor of Music | Gresham College". 13 June 2023. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Dr Milton Mermikides". Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Dr Milton Mermikides". Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  8. ^ "International Guitar Research Centre | University of Surrey". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  9. ^ Podcast, Geologic. "The Geologic Podcast: Episode #204". Mixcloud. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Trebuchet". George Hrab. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Event Schedule / QED 2018". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  12. ^ qedcon (11 April 2012), Introduction Video (2012), retrieved 26 June 2019
  13. ^ "A Life Examined". Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  14. ^ "The Arts and Sciences". Skepticality. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  15. ^ FM, Player (June 2011). "MTS: Meet Milton Mermikides Meet The Skeptics! podcast". Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Transplant inspires siblings' Bloodlines project". Times Higher Education (THE). 30 January 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  17. ^ Partos, Hannah (14 December 2016). "Play the part: theatre show teaches student nurses compassion". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  18. ^ Mermikides, M. J. (16 May 2017). "Microcosmos". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  19. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – The Rhythm of Life, The World as an Orchestra". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  20. ^ stormmovie (7 April 2011), Tim Minchin's Storm the Animated Movie, retrieved 23 June 2019
  21. ^ "Sound Asleep: Public Lecture at Sleep and Circadian Rhythms – London | Events | The British Neuroscience Association". Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  22. ^ Mermikides, Milton; Zinovieff, Peter; Curran-Cundy, Anne-Marie (July 2020). "Revisiting December Hollow: Unearthing emotive shape". Electronic Workshops in Computing. BCS Learning & Development. doi:10.14236/ewic/eva2020.16. S2CID 221911747. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ Mermikides, Milton (16 August 2017). "Rondo All Turca". Future Publishing: Total Guitar.
  24. ^ Mermikides, M. J. (February 2010). "On Composing. How To Be A Successful Computer-based Composer". Computer Music Magazine Special: Making It. ISSN 1463-6875.
  25. ^ Mermikides, MJ (2015). "Parallel Worlds". Guitar Techniques: 248.
  26. ^ Mermikides, M. J. (5 May 2015). "5 Decades of the Jam Band". Guitar Techniques.
  27. ^ Mermikides, M. J. (30 January 2015). "Extreme Guitar Concepts". Guitar Techniques.
  28. ^ Mermikides, M. J. (December 2014). "Bossa Appreciation". J. Sidwell. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  29. ^ Leech-Wilkinson, Daniel; Prior, Helen M., eds. (8 February 2018). Music and Shape. Studies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199351411.
  30. ^ "TEDxGroningen". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  31. ^ miltonline (21 July 2018). "IGRC 2018 in Hong Kong". Miltonline. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  32. ^ Mermikides, Milton (Summer 2015). "Circadian Rhythms Special Edition" (PDF). British Sleep Society Newsletter.
  33. ^ "Sound Asleep: Public Lecture at Sleep and Circadian Rhythms – London | Events | The British Neuroscience Association". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  34. ^ OBE, Gareth Malone (24 May 2015). "If the theory is beyond you, skip to the track at the bottom. Take note for next time! #douzepoints "Do you hear..." @GarethMalone. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  35. ^ Mermikides, Milton (2014). "Hertz So Good". Miltonline.
  36. ^ "BBC Radio 3 – Music Matters, Amo amas amat-eur Orchestras! And Arnold in the US". BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  37. ^ Bruford, William S. (2016). Making it work : creative music performance and the Western kit drummer (PhD thesis). University of Surrey.
  38. ^ Dean, Roger T, ed. (22 April 2011). The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199792030.001.0001. ISBN 9780199940233.
  39. ^ Mermikides, Alex (18 April 2013). "The scientist center stage". Nature Immunology. 14 (5): 416–418. doi:10.1038/ni.2592. ISSN 1529-2908. PMID 23598387. S2CID 205366467.
  40. ^ New dramaturgy : international perspectives on theory and practice. Trencsényi, Katalin,, Cochrane, Bernadette. London. 19 June 2014. ISBN 9781408177099. OCLC 879147089.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  41. ^ Weitkamp, Emma; Mermikides, Alex (26 July 2016). "Medical performance and the 'inaccessible' experience of illness: an exploratory study". Medical Humanities. 42 (3): 186–193. doi:10.1136/medhum-2016-010959. ISSN 1468-215X. PMC 5013131. PMID 27466255.
  42. ^ Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Daniel (26 June 2014). Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts 2013. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781443862479.
  43. ^ Kazzazi, Seyedeh Anahit (11 October 2017). "The Anatomy of the Science Play". New Theatre Quarterly. 33 (4): 333–344. doi:10.1017/s0266464x17000471. ISSN 0266-464X. S2CID 191544913.
  44. ^ "miltmerm". Retrieved 26 June 2019 – via YouTube.
  45. ^ "A Life Examined". Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  46. ^ "Towards the Sunlight, by The Eclectic Guitar Orchestra". The Eclectic Guitar Orchestra. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  47. ^ "Gary Ryan – Redefining the Classical Guitar | 2015 | April". Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  48. ^ "Outputs". Miltonline. 25 April 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2023.