My research interests all derive from wanting to know more about the way composers work, and how this intersects with what I do as a composer. In order to do this, I conduct interviews with composers, and have written about verbal notation, multipart series, and modularity. These projects have been supported by grants from the AHRC (2005-6, 2008-10, 2011-12) and are integrated with my role at Bath Spa University.

If you are interested in coming to Bath Spa as a PhD student, please have a look at my PhD page to see what we are doing. The work of the PhDs is supported by the Open Scores Lab, which I run. Visitors in 2016-17 include Michael Winter, Cassandra Miller, David Pocknee, Jennifer Walshe, Matthew Shlomowitz, Peter Ablinger and Cathy von Eck.

A summary of my written publications can be found below, and compositions are here. For a full list, please see my page at Bath Spa University’s researchSPAce.


Books and Chapters

John Lely and James Saunders, Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (New York: Continuum, 2012)

James Saunders, ‘Mutual Effects: Organization and Interaction in the Orchestral Music of Christian Wolff’, in Stephen Chase and Philip Thomas (eds), Changing the System: The Music of Christian Wolff (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010)

James Saunders (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009).

James Saunders, ‘What are you doing with your music?’, in Brian Marley and Mark Wastell (eds), Blocks of consciousness and the unbroken continuum (London: Sound 323 Press, 2006), 254-63.

Journal Articles

James Saunders, “Heuristic Models for Decision Making in Rule-Based Compositions.” In Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, 715–19. RNCM: ESCOM, 2015.

James Saunders, ‘Specific Objects? Distributed approaches to sourcing sonic materials in open form compositions’. Contemporary Music Review, 32/5 (2013): 473-484.

James Saunders, ‘Testing the Consequences: Seriality in the work of the Wandelweiser composers’ in James Saunders (ed.), Wandelweiser, Contemporary Music Review Vol. 30/5 (2011). [volume editor]

James Saunders, ,,Zeit ist niemandes Eigentum”. Ein Email-Interview mit Antoine Beuger (Dezember 2003 bis März 2004) (G. Gronemeyer, Trans.), MusikTexte, 130 (August 2011), 44-50.

James Saunders and John Lely, ‘Realising Gavin Bryars’ Far Away and Dimly Pealing’, PORES, 5 (June 2009),

James Saunders, ‘Modular Music’, Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 46/1 (Winter 2008): 152-93. Reprinted as ‘Viefalt an Konfigurationen. Modulare Musik’ (M. Lichtenfeld), MusikTexte, 130 (August 2011), 58-77.

James Saunders, ‘The Dictaphone in my Life’, My Favorite Things – The Joy of the Gizmo: Leonardo Music Journal 17 (2007): 33-4.

PhD Thesis

Saunders, James (2003) Developing a modular approach to music. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield

Programme, Exhibition and CD Liner Notes

James Saunders, ‘Rebecca Saunders’, 2004 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Programme Book (Huddersfield: hcmf, 2004): 13.

James Saunders, ‘Confined Spaces: A Portrait of Bryn Harrison’, 2008 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Programme Book (Huddersfield: hcmf, 2008)

James Saunders, ‘Rebecca Saunders’ Piano Music’, Rebecca Saunders: choler, crimson, miniata, KAIROS, 0012762KAI (2008): 7-9.

James Saunders, ‘traces’ and ‘Rebecca Saunders’, BBC Prom 56, 26 August 2009 (London: BBC, 2009): 3-5.

James Saunders, ‘Developing a Modular Music System’, in Alex Waterman (ed.), Agape (New York: Miguel Abreu Gallery, 2007): 36-40.

James Saunders, sketches for #110605 and #271102 in Matthew Lyons, Debra Singer and Alex Waterman (eds), Between Thought and Sound (New York: The Kitchen, 2008): 48-9.

Dictionary Entries

James Saunders, ‘Christopher Fox’, Grove Music Online, [expansion of original entry by Ian Pace]

James Saunders, ‘Rebecca Saunders’, Grove Music Online, [expansion of original entry by Robert Adlington]


Interview with James Saunders [Jim Gardner]
Bryn Harrison [Counterpoints profile]
Interview with Bryn Harrison

Writing by Others

Stefan Drees, ‘Vielfalt kultureller Bezugspunkte:Drei britische Komponisten im Portrait – James Saunders, Luke Bedford, Steven Daverson, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 6 (2015): 14-19.
Christopher Fox, ‘James Saunders’, Grove Music Online,
Max Nyfeller, ‘Konzeptionelle Spiele. Der Engländer James Saunders’, MusikTexte, 130 (August 2011): 53-57.
Tim Parkinson, ‘UNE PRéSENCE MANIFESTE: Quelques Compositeurs Du Royaume-uni Dont J’aime La Musique’, Revue & Corrigée, 90 (December 2011): 26-30.
David Ryan, ‘Realising #0505-040606-[1]’, Miser & Now, 10 (August 2007): 14-16.
David Ryan, “ZEITMASCHINEN: Die englischen Komponisten Bryn Harrison, Tim Parkinson und James Saunders”, Dissonanz, #82 (August 2003): 20-5.
Fran MM Cabeza de Vaca, ‘La partitura desbordada (otras materialidades de la notación musical)’, Sul Ponticello, 35 (February 2017).


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