Khadambi's House: Composer in Residence

575 Wandsworth Road

The London Symphony Orchestra has launched a new Composer in Residence scheme which brings together and celebrates the creative work of the late Kenyan-born poet, novelist, philosopher of mathematics and British civil servant, Khadambi Asalache (28 February 1935 – 26 May 2006) alongside the work of one of today’s leading emerging composers, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian. The Residency is at the house of Asalache in Wandsworth, South London, now a National Trust property.

LSO Patron, Susie Thomson, has long wanted to have a composer work at 575 Wandsworth Road, the house she shared with her partner, Khadambi Asalache.

Khadambi bought the house in 1981 and over a period of 20 years (from 1986) turned his home into a work of art. Prompted by the need to disguise persistent damp in the basement dining room, he initially fixed pine floorboards to the damp wall. He went on to embellish almost every wall, ceiling and door in the house with exquisite fretwork patterns and motifs, which he hand-carved from reclaimed pine doors and floorboards found in skips. The property is now owned by the National Trust.

The Residency

The residency is a new initiative which brings together and celebrates the creative work of Khadambi Asalache alongside one of today’s leading emerging composers. Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, an alumnus of the LSO Panufnik Scheme and current LSO Soundhub associate, will use her two-year residency to work with LSO musicians to meaningfully interpret the history of the house and the exquisite work of Asalache.

Workshops will engage local communities and bring a new perspective on the house. Members of the local community will be invited to attend these workshops with Cevanne and LSO musicians during the first year of the residency. Cevanne will use materials created in these workshops, and her engagement with LSO musicians, to develop a piece of music, a commission which will be premiered at the end of her residency. Cevanne will also create a sensory ‘instrument’ based on her explorations during the two years to be used in the commission.

The Composer-in-Residence scheme at Khadambi’s House is an LSO Soundhub project. Generous support has been provided by Khadambi Asalache’s partner, Susie Thomson. We are also grateful to the National Trust, a partner in this project.

The National Trust


Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian

Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian logo

Cevanne is a daring Anglo-Armenian composer, singer & harper from Suffolk. Her music digs deep into the rich soil of the British Isles and is inspired by styles of all kinds – from Renaissance to Maqam.

She has balanced a diverse portfolio of commissions and projects, ranging from the LSO’s Panufnik Scheme, a Celtic harp duo with Ruth Wall (Goldfrapp) for BBC Radio 3, and a bi-lingual play for Swedish National Radio. Premières featured actor Jessica Hynes, MOBO-winner Zoe Rahman, roboticist Sarah Angliss, Oren Marshall, & Manu Delago. She has completed a successful residency at Handel House and begins a new one with the LSO & National Trust at the fretwork house of Khadambi Asalache (until 2017).


Past Workshops

Sunday 26 April 2015, 2pm–5pm 
Public sharing at 4.30pm (up to 15 people)
18 singers from the Armenian community in London worked with Cevanne and musicians from the LSO. Violinist Levon Chilingirian and actor Seta White also contributed.

Saturday 9 May 2015, 2.30pm–5.30pm 
Public sharing at 5pm (up to 15 people)
18 participants from the Festival Chorus Wandsworth worked with Cevanne and musicians from the LSO.

Saturday 19 September 2015, 2pm–5pm (no public sharing session)
Six young adults from the LSO Digital Technology Group worked with Cevanne and LSO musicians to create a soundpiece using inspiration from the resonances in Khadambi’s House. They also experimented with the new electronic instrument in its early stages.

Saturday 28 November 2015, St Paul's Church, 6pm–8pm
A public event, presented by Cevanne and including LSO musicians, showcased everything that was created and recorded during the first year.

Inkwells: live on YouTube

In October 2016 we presented a special online performance of Cevanne's Inkwells, recorded at Khadambi's House. The performance was followed by a live Q&A with presenter Rachel Leach and violinist Tom Norris.

Watch the performance and Q&A below: