Ada Sketches

for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet and percussion (2011)

Libretto by Laura Tunbridge

Duration: 7'

Commissioned by Soundings, Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF), London

World première: Soundings Ensemble, Austrian Cultural Forum, London, 12th May 2011

Austrian première: Platypus Ensemble, Casino Baumgarten, Vienna, 10th November 2011

Czech première: Platypus Ensemble, Czech Museum of Music, Prague, 26th November 2011

First staged performance: Loré Lixenberg (Ada), director John Lloyd Davies, The Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London, UK February 2012

Recorded by Platypus Ensemble [Col Legno 2013]


"Howard's Ada sketches ... one of a number of very fine pieces ... pictures Ada Lovelace dreaming that her (and Babbage's) analytical engine – an early computer – produced notes instead of numbers. Typical of Howard in its minute theatricality, it is a gentle affair, with sparse, dreamy textures for flute and clarinet and a vocal line, sung by Loré Lixenberg, that moves from speech to song and prose to verse (and back again). The percussion part, devised by Adam Clifford, deploys flower pots and a torn cymbal to intriguing effect."

Guy Dammann, The Guardian