fonds TWIS - Trevor Wishart Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Trevor Wishart Archive


  • [1970-2011] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.3 cubic metres

60 boxes and oversize material

1019 digital files (1 GB)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Trevor Wishart was born in Leeds on 11 October 1946. He won a scholarship to Oxford University to study chemistry before switching to music. He went on to complete an MA at the University of Nottingham in 1969, followed by a PhD at the University of York in 1973.

Wishart specialises in electroacoustic composition, in particular the transformation of the human voice and natural sounds through technological means. He published a book ‘On Sonic Art’ in 1985 and is considered a pioneer in the subject. From 1986 he was also involved with the Composers Desktop Project which developed software for electronic composition, working alongside fellow York composer Richard Orton.

Although he works as a freelance composer, Wishart has held a number of university posts, including Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of York, composer in residence at the University of Durham (from 2006) and at the University of Oxford Faculty of Music (2010-2011).

His compositions include Red Bird (1973-1977), Anticredos (1980), Machine 2 (2000), Imago (2002), Memories of Madrid (2005), The Division of Labour (2007) and Supernova (2013). He has also worked with the group Electric Phoenix on his composition The Vox Cycle, a cycle of six pieces recorded between 1980 and 1988.

In 2008 he was awarded the Gigi-Hertz Award for electronic music.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was gifted to the Borthwick Institute in 2011. Further additions were made to the archive in 2013.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records of Trevor Wishart, c.1970-2011, including diaries; articles and talks; musical scores; preparatory notes made during creation of compositions; audio recordings of compositions by Wishart; video recordings; publications; reviews; press cuttings; and photographs.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Includes audio cassette tapes and compact discs, DATS, VHS and Betamax tapes, DVDs, floppy disks and digital material. Access to audiovisual and digital material may be restricted due to technical requirements, please contact the Borthwick Institute for more information.

Finding aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued, please contact the Borthwick Institute for further information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further records concerning the Composers Desktop Project are held by the Borthwick Institute as part of the Richard Orton Archive (Reference: RORT). The Institue also holds the archive of Electric Phoenix, which includes their work with Wishart (Reference: EP).

Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 25.04.17.




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