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Blank Canvas Ensemble Liverpool 25 01 2024

After a a long sabbatical during 2023 The Blank Canvas Ensemble based in Liverpool, returns


The house band - The Blank Canvas Ensemble - Liverpool - will play "free, ensemble, improvised music"  using the music system, "System 50:50 for improvisers " the result is the sound of free improv shaped with silence. This session may also feature a main act made up of experienced improvisers from the North of England circuit and beyond.


a diversity of sounds, shifting foregrounds led by changing personalities sprinkled with timbral melds, unexpected silences, melodies and kitchen clatter.

New members, interested

New members are welcome. There is no formal audition. New members are required to attend one performance as a member of the audience, then we have a discussion.

Venue, date and time

Venue: Ship & Mitre Dale Street, 133 Dale St, Liverpool L2 2JH; More info here
Date: 25 01 2023
Get in time: 18.30 for musicians
Doors: 19.15
Start time: 19.30
All out: on or before 22.30
Door tax: This is a free event.
Subs £3.00 to be paid by participants (but this session is exempt.)

The performances

  • The Blank Canvas ensemble - the result of an open call
  • The featured act is still open, and we may skip this. Notice will be given when a decision is made.
  • We usually finish with another set from the Blank Canvas Ensemble - Liverpool


 The Schedule, in a room in Liverpool 

  • 25.01.2024 - room booked
  • 29.02.2024 - room booked
  • 28.03.2024 - room booked
  • 25.04.2024 - room booked

Tickets at eventbrite

  • Tickets for this, please follow the link to the Evenbrite site which will display a list of live events, click on the image for this event
    • eventbrite notes are to follow

The Schedule, in a room in Manchester

  • The plan is the furst Tuesday of the month, subject to confirmation.
  • Find out more at the website Improvisers Networks Online - Manchester section:  CLICK HERE

The Online Schedule

There are weekly online sessions on a Monday, Wednesday. Plus Friday sessions every two weeks.
The criteria for the sessions varies, but there is no audition nor open door policy: you need to have a conversation then we can match the session to your needs and experiences.
To apply go to the registration tab to be found in this article and add a note in the comments section of the form that you are interested in the online Blank Canvas sessions.


The name

This ensemble will be called The Blank Canvas Ensemble - Liverpool until we find a better name.

Frequency: The aim is to deliver monthly sessions under the title of The Blank Canvas Sextet, within a weekly schedule of events under the banner of `Merseyside Improvisers`

Past and current participants

Here is a list of musicians who may currently appear in and with the Blank Canvas Sextet, . 

  • IAN SIMPSON, guitar
  • PAUL PIGNON [ Stockholm! ]
  • MARTIN HACKETT [ Oxford improvisers ]
  • PHIL MORTON, accidents and treatments
  • CLAYTON JACKSON, (Lancaster) electronics
  • TIM WISE, reeds, Salford.
  • SIMON ROSS, Turntables, (Macclesfield)
  • GILL WHITELEY, keys and strings (Sheffield)
  • GEOFF BRIGHT, reeds
  • TIM VEAL, electronic, (Salford)
  • DANIEL PAGE, electronics (St Helens)
  • GRAEME SHERRIF, keyboard (Manchester)

Lapsed or floating members of the Sextet: Julia Cadman, John Pearson, Adam Roberts, Yashashwi Sharma, Kristina Warren ( returned to the USA), PHIL LUCKING, trumpets, PHIL HARGREAVES, RICHARD HARDING, guitar, DAVID CANTER, bass clarinet, ROB THORPE, guitar (Manchester), ANDREW LESLIE HOOKER, no input mixer (Pandy Tudor), ALEX SCOTT, trombone, SABINE KAUSMALL, guitar, PETE JONES, guitar

Musical content

The Blank Canvas model is the following

  • To play will play "free ensemble improvised music"  using the music system, "System 50:50" - click here for more information
    • The open rehearsal section of the sessions will use System 50:50
  • To play free ensemble improvisation in music - no time limit (aka unmetered)
  • To play free ensemble improvisation in music - with a time limit (aka metered)

The Blank Canvas model is not the following

  • Compositions.
  • Graphic scores
  • Games amd workshop pieces
  • Text pieces
  • Conduction or Cobra and their derivatives.

Some feedback on `System 50:50` from participants

On system 50:50 “Definitely something with LOADS of possibilities - the reaction in the car driving back was unbelievably positive - no one could remember playing in a large ensemble that was so "open". The openness allowed me to play quietly, which meant the dynamics were incredible for an improvising large ensemble.” - Charlie Collins Sheffield


System 50/50 works well - it’s a really good way to get a group to play effectively without egos , virtuosity , and shyness getting in the way. It is democratic, inclusive. coherent, leaderless, focused, there is room to think and time to listen, choices. It is less competitive more cooperative. Ends well Simon Ross (Macclesfield), Blank Canvas Sextet - Liverpool


It seems to me that any attempt to restrict what free improvisers play, presents a threat to the core nature of their music. Generally, 'To play or not play' is about as far as any predetermination can productively go, the player retaining (almost!) complete formal agency regarding when and what(s)he decides to play - Dan Goren Oxford Improvisers

To express an interest

to request more information, to communicate, please go to the tab above called registration and complete the form therein.

Phil Morton

about Merseyside Improvisers


to promote and establish free ensemble improvisation in music  in the region of  Merseyside


  1. Where possible Merseyside Improvisers` will organise weekly music sessions within one hours travel of a center of Liverpool to create opportunities for individuals to regularly play and listen to ‘free improvised music’
  2. Merseyside Improvisers` will create a ‘house band’. Concerts will feature the house band and another act.
  3. Merseyside Improvisers` will support/organise a concert series either directly or indirectly by developing relationships with other organisations in Merseyside to create a cohesive schedule of events
  4. Merseyside Improvisers` will maintain an online webpage. This will include; event information, listings, weblinks to organisations, social media feeds, etc.
  5. Merseyside Improvisers` will recognise and use digital networks for communication and marketing.
  6. To constitute a structure/network called, Merseyside Improvisers`, with an agreed strategic plan and formal steering group. The sole function of the group will be to promote ‘free ensemble improvisation’ and to deliver content within the region of Merseyside. The group will meet regularly to review events and plan in line with its agreed constitution.
  7. Looking further ahead, the group will create a framework for research and  development.

Read More: Here


Registration Form

To express an interest, to request more information, to communicate, please complete the form below

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