Manchester The Blank Canvas Ensemble project page

Project Overview



Starting in September 2022 there will sessions on the first Tuesday of the month, see the schedule tab for details.
There is an medium term aim to deliver weekly sessions, by hook or crook

The Blank Canvas Ensembles - Manchester will play free improvisation in music using `System 5050`. Please refer to the `about System 50:50` tab for more information on System 50:50 for improvisers. .

The ensemble may feature between 7-16 players.

The aim is to create contact list of 21 names, this larger number is required due to the complexity and density of modern lifestyles, to have 7 people present in a room on an agreed day, we need an extended, starting list of 21

Phil Morton, the curator of the sessions has been working on System 50:50 for improvisers for 20 years, with a intense research practice during 2017-2022.
This research has taken in a wide brief that has included over 100 weekly sessions with experienced players through a one of session with London Improvisers Orchestra (24 players) and ad hoc trios.

Proposition is that: System 50:50 is the go to tool for developing free ensembles improvisation in larger numbers, say over 7 improvisers, and System 50:50 for improvisers  disposes with the need for external referential strategies such as: compositions, conduction, graphic scores, game strategies, contemporary composition techniques, the hand picking of musicians who meet your aesthetic values and brief.

On a good night it looks like this, another night the room will be empty:
this lack of consistency is the challenge

BC mancs 06092022 1 800px


When? the schedule

The proposed schedule is the first Tuesday of the month, however we cannot find a venue that works for thsi schedule.

This is the situation at May 2023.

Watch the website and social media for updates


Criteria for participation.

All levels of ability and experience are welcome.


The Peer Hat Manchester is the venue
More detail on the venue is to follow soon.

About System 50:50

What is System 50:50?

a detailed summary is here: CLICK THIS LINK

What people say about system 50;50

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  - Liverpool

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

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

Reviews and project development

There will reviews every six weeks. The `review` and zoom meeting is an opportunity to share our thinking about the `The Septet` and to plan a future.

What happens next:

To express an interest:in the Blank Canvas Septet - Manchester:UK please complete form to be found in the registration tab
or Contact Phil Morton: :
UK: mobile 07999518582

Online Sessions

Zoom - Online sessions: The creative alternative

The Hybrid solution to artistic and social isolation.
if you cannot attend the `in the flesh` sessions we have the post covid solution that is a new normal: we can meet online!
The zoom not in the room sessions take place on a Monday on zoom at 19.00 hours


If you are interested in the on-line sessions please complete the form on the registration tab and add a comment in the `comments` box that you are interested in the zoom sessions.


To express an interest:in the Blank Canvas Septet - Manchester:UK please complete form to be found in the registration tab
or Contact Phil Morton: :
UK: mobile 07999518582

Name of the event or project, you have viewed on the website that interests you*
Location of the project if known: if not known, simply enter `not known`*
add your name to the contact list for this project and receive newsletters: .*
Your comments
Word Verification:

Social Share Buttons for this article - one click and share

Read 309 times