Mary Hampton

Mary Hampton (born 1977) grounds her practice in folk song, art song and chamber music traditions. As a songwriter and interpreter of traditional songs, Hampton’s practice often uses traditional folk songs as a starting point, setting them alongside compositions she has devised and allowing them to work together. In this way, she can play with certain dynamic tensions that are perpetually at work in the world: the past and the present, the natural and the civilized, the extraordinary and the familiar, the symbolic and the real.

Having previously studied 20th Century Music at the University of Sussex, Hampton went on to study Musical-Instrument Making at London Guildhall and the importance of craft and craft philosophy continues to play an essential role in her music. For Hampton, the idea of a hand-crafted object being, itself, a kind of recorded performance, throws a whole new light on the process of composing and performing.

Her recordings include two EPs entitled Book One (2005) and Book Two (2007), and two LPs, My Mother’s Children (2008) and Folly (2011). She has toured both as a solo artist and with her band Mary Hampton Cotillion.

Mary Hampton | I really can’t think of a more open, meaningful gesture of encouragement than the Paul Hamlyn award, and I'm humbled and delighted to be among its recipients. It's a hen’s tooth at a time when support for research and development in the Arts is increasingly scarce, and offers something that is absolutely vital to any artist’s progress: the permission to explore. For me, it means the opportunity to experiment with cross-disciplinary projects and longer-form chamber writing, and I hope I can help to broaden the conversation through the new work it allows me to make.