Delia Derbyshire, unsung hero of electronic music
14 January 2013
Delia Derbyshire is one of the most famous members of the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, one of the BBC's 'Sound Effects Units' that created sound and music for TV and radio from 1958 right through to 1998. The workshop used everyday sounds such as voices, bells or gravel as raw material which they then manipulated with hundreds of different and unique techniques developed by the members of the workshop.
Delia was assigned to the Radiophonic Workshop in 1962 and over 11 years she created music, theme tunes or sounds for over 200 shows. Her most famous work is the theme tune for Doctor Who, which was one of the first TV theme tunes created by entirely electronic means. The music was created from a score produced by composer Ron Grainer, who on hearing Delia's work was so amazed, he asked "Did I really write that!?" to which she replied "Well, most of it".
Over her career with the Radiophonic Workshop she was asked to make music or sounds for TV shows set in the future or the past, anywhere an orchestra might seem out of place. She was often told that her music was 'too sophisticated for the BBC audience' and so she began to create music for film, theatre, 'happenings' and original electronic music events.
The Guardian described her as the un-sung hero of electronic music and her work is often identified as an influence by bands such as Aphex Twin and the Chemical Brothers.
The Delia Darlings event will feature three original pieces of work inspired by Delia Derbyshire, performed by a trio of Manchester based new music artists Caro C, Naomi Kashiwagi and Ailís Ní Ríain. The Delian Mode documentary will screen with an introduction and Q&A from director Kara Blake.
Tickets for the event have now sold out. This event is part of the Winter Sparks exhibition programme which continues until 24 February, find out more here.