The Microbial Ensemble is a research project produced during my period at SARC, Queens University of Belfast, which is a cross disciplinary space combining music composition with areas of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. The Microbial Ensemble is an experimental project in collaboration with chemical engineer Dr. Quan Gang.
During a year of laboratory access at Dr Gan's department I became familiar with Microbial Fuel Cells systems and I analysed the behaviour of different families of microbes (cultures) and constructed a plotting system to retrieve their voltage genrated data. I started to realise that microorganisms potentially had many things in common with a musical ensemble, should I had control over the way they interact with each other and their environment within a Fuel Cell lab. Between 2004-05 I composed the live interactive work 'Oxidising the Spectrum' and founded The Microbial Ensemble. As a result, I 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 and 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.