Music at the turn of a handle for Leeds Light Night

Richard Birkin is bringing his project Night Sun to Leeds
Richard Birkin is bringing his project Night Sun to Leeds
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THE window of a city centre bar will be transformed for Leeds Light Night with the aid of a toy music box, string quartet, photographs and animation.

The project, called Night Sun, is the brainchild of composer Richard Birkin and is being staged at Nation of Shopkeepers in Cookridge Street.

Richard is a composer and “creative technologist” from Derby who spent 10 years in rock bands before deciding to “devote most of my time to writing modern compositions and soundtracks”.

“I love music and and have wanted my life to be completely filled with it for as long as I can remember,” he said.

Night Sun was originally commissioned by Nottingham City Council for their own Light Night earlier this year.

Richard said: “I had this piece of music that I wanted to write and record with a string quartet. The question then was how I was going to present it. I did not want it playing on a loop. A city is filled with ambient sounds anyway. I wanted something that would pull people in.”

The interactive device he arrived at was simple. “I had an idea of using a toy music box and have a participant hear the sound of music by turning the handle. I commissioned a writer and a photographer to produce stuff to go with the music.

“What emerged was Night Sun. It’s a musical story installation that you activate and go through by turning the handle of a toy music box.”

Night Sun is also available on a web app from

The Night Sun installation is at Nation of Shopkeepers on October 3 from 5pm to 10pm. For details visit

* For a round-up of the best Light Night events, see Thursday’s YEP.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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