Hidden Voice

Date(s)/Time: Friday 13 Oct 2017, 7:30pm

Ticket Price: £13.50/£9/£11 Groups of 10 or more (£15.25/£10.75/£12.75 inc online booking fee)

Location: Pyramid Arts Centre


Hidden Voice

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John McHugh and the Mishima Quartet


The Big Voice                                                   John McHugh

There Was Murder Down There                   John McHugh

The Hidden Voice                                           John McHugh



Kate Richardson       Violin

Kate Marsden            Violin

Rachel Jones               Viola

Hilary Browning        Cello

John McHugh             Piano/keyboard


Composer John McHugh and the RLPO’s Mishima ensemble bring their sell out Hidden Voice tour to Pyramid and Parr on Friday 13th October. The unique multimedia composition based on the speech of people living with dementia will be paired alongside extracts from the acclaimed Big Voice based on the intonations in the Liverpool accent and the boxing moves of Muhammad Ali. The evening will also feature performances by the GRACE dance group and the Wired For Sound choir.


‘Hidden Voice’ gives a voice to people living with dementia by using the melodies and rhythms in their speech to create a powerful and emotional musical experience.  Live musicians, audio and film take us into the innermost thoughts of the people on the screen whilst celebrating the beautiful melodies in their speech. Described by NHS Clinical Director for Dementia Professor Alistair Burns as: “a unique relationship between music and dementia’ ‘Hidden Voice’ was premiered in May 2014 at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral by an ensemble of musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.


‘The Big Voice’ is the groundbreaking multimedia piece from 2006 that captures the music in the Liverpool accent. It follows the theme of the evening in that it is based on the rhythms and melodies of speech and charts the development of the accent from the early Lancashire tones to the modern ‘Scouse’ sound.


‘Like A Butterfly’ – doesn’t follow the melodies of speech but is derived from the rhythmic movements of boxer Muhammed Ali as he dances and skips around the ring. It forms part of a full ballet based on the boxing moves of Ali that will be premiered in 2018.


John McHugh


John Mchugh is a widely experienced composer, performer and music educator. He has composed music in many forms ranging from advertising campaigns for Lucozade and Delta Airways to ballets, music theatre, classical and multi – media works for the concert hall.

His commission for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations was the highly acclaimed ‘The Big Voice, Liverpool’ in which he set the rhythms and melodies of the ‘Scouse’ accent to music and was featured on BBC televisions ‘North West Tonight’ and Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme. His latest work is the ground breaking ‘Hidden Voice’ in which he takes the concept a stage further by giving a voice to people with living dementia. Described by NHS Clinical Director, Professor Alistair Burns as a ‘’unique relationship between music and dementia’’, it uses the melodies from speech to capture the individual stories in a unique and beautiful way.

John is a former pupil of guitarist John Williams and has performed in many countries throughout the World in venues ranging from The QE2 Cruise Liner to The Royal Festival Hall. He has released a series of recordings as both performer and composer including ‘From the Famine’, ‘Here In My Home, Part 1’ and ‘Guitar Classics from Around the World’. In 2015 John was asked to arrange the music for the visit of his Royal Highness Prince Charles to Liverpool. John balances his composing and performing work with teaching and believes passionately in the power of music to enhance everyone’s life.


The Mishima Quartet

The Mishima Quartet have played together for many years as part of The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. They have worked with John McHugh on many projects including large scale concert pieces, educational works for school children and music for string quartet and Balinese Gamelan.