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Vanessa Mackness successfully completed a degree in Fine Art Painting at the Camberwell School of Art
in the late 1970s. Her interest in improvised singing developed through meetings with Phil Minton
and Maggie Nicols, while further study occured with the singer/composer/instrumentalist
Gilles Petit and opera/jazz singer/voice practitioner Maurice-Bertrand Quintart. In addition
her aquaintance with Imrat Khan and occassional study with his son Nishat Khan facilitated a
broadening of her approach to the voice as instrument. Since 1985, Mackness has worked with,
among others, Evan Parker, Phil Minton, Maggie Nicols,
Eddie Prevost, Louis Moholo, Alexander Balanescu,
Keith Tippett, Wolfgang Gutler, Barry Guy and
Phil Wachsmann. She also works with Derek Bailey and has
performed at two Company Weeks (1990 and 1991). Her duo with John Butcher has
been in existence since Company Week 1990, and since then they have broadcast on BBC Radio 3's
Music in our Time and released a recording
on Incus. She has sung in Tom Phillips' opera IRMA in England and America (though not on the
recorded version), and in the eight-voice Machno project,
led by Phil Minton and Veryan Weston, at the 1993 Taktlos Festival. In October 1993 Vanessa Mackness performed
solo at the Total Music Meeting in Berlin and more recently took part in Reiner Korff's composition for 35
musicians at the Peter Edel Festival in Berlin.
Blackford, Chris (1991), Vanessa Mackness: voice, Rubberneck, no. 9, pp. 5-6.
Watson, Ben (1992), Singing in the hothouse,
The Wire, no. 97, (March), pp. 20-22.
- 1990, Play with light and shade, SLAMCD 402. Duo with Barry Guy on compilation CD.
- 1991, Company 91 volume 1, Incus CD 16.
- 1991, Company 91 volume 2, Incus CD 17.
- 1991, Company 91 volume 3, Incus CD 18.
- Actual reality, Music for two cassette machines plus Billy Jenkins, Tony Messenger and Vanessa Mackness.
- 1994, Respiritus, Incus CD21.