I was saddened to learn of the death of Rosemary Butcher a few days ago. Rosemary was the choreographer responsible for bringing me from “plain” music composition into composition for dance, when I accidentally stumbled across a performance of her work early in 1990. Her choreography was uncompromising: highly structured, abstract, cerebral, and generally absent of many of the recognisable gestures and vocabulary of what we call contemporary dance. Yet somehow it resonated with me immediately and effortlessly: the work showed a clear sense of process, laid out with clarity and precision, highly visual and geometric. As a composer who works synæsthesically and with generative systems, this choreography seemed a perfect medium into which I could apply music composition.
Rosemary and I met quite a few times over the following years, but never managed to work together. (The closest I got was to compose for some of her Dance MA students at Surrey.)
For what it’s worth, this is the dance piece I saw 26 years ago and which set me on a course in the creative arts.
Edit, 2016-07-20: there’s now an obituary in The Guardian.