The Microbial Ensemble is a catchy research project produced during my period at SARC, Queens University of Belfast (where I studied and worked for nine long years...). Although I was probably expected to be involved in collaborations combining music composition with areas of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, (SARC's main moto), I opted for an experimental project with Chemical Engineer Dr. Quan Gang.
After spending one year at Quan's chemical laboratory working my Microbial Fuel Cells, and after analysing the behaviour of different families of microbes (cultures), I started to realise that such microorganisms potentially had many things in common with a musical ensemble, should I had control over the way they interact within a Fuel Cell environment. Between 2004-05 I composed the live interactive work 'Oxidising the Spectrum' for The Microbial Ensemble and had a number of performances, workshops and media coverage. The Microbial Ensemble are: Saccharomyces diastaticus, Janthinobacterium lividum, Pichia anomala, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strain K5-5A, Kluyvermoyces lactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides. Musicologist Aine Leamy discussed it as part of her thesis for National University of Ireland- The Phenomenon of the Scientist-Composer, August 2008.