Daphne Oram

Daphne Oram (1925-2003)’s journey towards legendary status in music began in 1932 when she was just seven years old. The Wiltshire schoolgirl had an inspired vision of being able to create and manipulate sound via the use of drawings on glass slides; an idea which paved the way for an entirely new form of music. In her teens and early twenties, Daphne studied music and electronics, a curious combination which led to her finding work in the sound department of London’s BBC studios. In the 1950s, the radio industry had embraced the use of magnetic tape recordings, allowing them to play pre-recorded sounds instead of live broadcasts. With this new technology, came the ability to manipulate sound in ways never before seen and Daphne took steps towards realizing her vision; manipulating sound-waves for experimental effects in radio plays and television shows. In 1958, Daphne established herself as the Studio Manager for a collective of experimental audio engineers within the now-legendary Maida Vale Studios. Utilizing phonographs, filters and other electronic equipment, the studio collective was dubbed ‘The Radiophonic Workshop’. Originally established for the creation of radio plays, the Workshop quickly became a key feature of the BBC’s audio and televisual resources, offering an aid to productions which neither live musicians nor traditional sound effects could provide. - Excerpted from the BIMM Institute.