BBC Radiophonic Workshop

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Delia worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop from April 1962 to 1973, composing pieces of music for BBC radio and TV programmes and at some times acting as the Workshop's organiser.

Delia learned tape editing and electronics at the BBC and most of her professional contacts were made through her position at the BBC.

However, in programme credits, the BBC always attributed her work to "BBC Radiophonic Workshop", denying her both royalties for her compositions and the public recognition that she craved.

The working conditions there were cramped and airless and the equipment delapidated, but even so Delia's musical genius flowered there.

In 1970, Desmond Briscoe went on "extended leave", leaving Delia to manage the Workshop.[1] By this time she was drinking constantly[2] and left in 1973, in her words, for “self-preservation”.

From this moment on, at least until 1995, "nobody spoke of Derbyshire at the Radiophonic workshop. She was never mentioned."[3]

In the 1990's Brian Hodgson, who by then was managing the Radiophonic Workshop, “managed to get her onto a composer's desktop programme but she couldn’t cope with it and spent most of the weekend in tears, I think probably realising just how much time had been wasted, how it was gone and she couldn't get it back.”[4]

References

  1. Dial a tune
  2. Elizabeth Parker
  3. Elizabeth Parker's email to Johann Merrich in the audio lecture Le Pioniere della Musica Elettronica on arwiki.org at 20:30.
  4. Interviewed for Breege Brennan's thesis.