This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

> > > International artist brings Gift to Bradford Festival

International musician and composer Jez Colborne has been commissioned by PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial to create an original music piece – Gift, which is set to immerse audiences in a wave of new sounds.

photo of Jez Colbourne wearing a yellow raincoat and a leather hat, standing in the open doors of a large shipping container

Jez exploded onto the international music scene in 2010 with his beautifully crafted and internationally renowned music-performance piece Irresistible. Inspired by unusual objects and instruments that generate new sounds, Gift is being produced in collaboration with Bradford based touring theatre company Mind the Gap who he has worked with for over 10 years developing his talents in music and composing.

Speaking about Gift, Jez said: “I was struck with how odd a shipping container is, a big space that could be brutal and beautiful. I want to create a feast of sounds from it that liberates musical qualities from different cultures.

The piece follows the story from Greek mythology of the Trojan Horse – a gift arrives, but is all what it seems? I want the audience to go through a mix of emotions when they hear the piece, from wary, confused, to elation and amazement. It will be 15 minutes of new and exhilarating music.”

Gift lands slap bang in the middle of Bradford’s beautiful City Park as part of the Bradford Festival for its world premier on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 June 2014. Audiences will be submerged in a powerful soundscape produced by Jez in, on and around a shipping container.

Jez is a uniquely talented composer and musician and is the only artist selected for the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial to have a learning disability.

At the age of seven months Jez’s family were told he would never be able to walk or talk. Diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a genetic condition that brings some striking verbal abilities, perfect pitch and particularly - an affinity for music, he began making music before he could walk.

Practicing for hours, improvising and composing his songs Jez began working with Mind the Gap in 1997 engineering unusual sounds and composing them into final pieces. Now his creatively crafted pieces are toured all over the world and this year Gift is set to take the UK by storm.

After its Bradford premier, Gift will tour to the Southbank Centre for the showcase weekend 4-6 July where it will be recorded by BBC Radio 3 and then tour to Glasgow for Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme on 2 August.