Wednesday 11 June 2014


And Death Shall Have No Dominion to be sung by world’s first synchronised headphone choir

The words of one of Dylan Thomas’s most popular poems, And Death Shall Have No Dominion, are to be sung across the streets of New York on June 21, as part of the British Council’s celebrations for the centenary of the poet’s birth.

A choir of volunteers will become the world’s first synchronised headphone choir and will set off from various points around the city singing a choral arrangement of the poem and converging on Rockefeller Park for a grand finale.

Dan Thomas, Head of Arts at the British Council in Wales, said: “The event is part of our Starless and Bible Black programme, which is taking the work of Dylan Thomas to countries across the world, including the States, Australia, Canada, India and Argentina. Pete has written a very moving arrangement for the poem and we hope New York residents and visitors will participate in the event and enjoy hearing this much loved poem of Thomas’s ring out across the streets of Manhattan.”

The British composer of the work, Pete M Wyer, explains: “And Death Shall Have No Dominionis a participatory singing event for a synchronised headphone choir, which we have dubbed a vocamotive choir. Using an app that contains the accompaniment and synchronises their mobile devices, participants will set-off along 45-minute walking routes through lower Manhattan, singing Dylan’s words in the very neighbourhood that he spent his last days.

“The performers will begin their walk individually at 11am, singing just one part. Little by little, as their routes converge, the song will be revealed in its fullness, until eventually everyone meets at 11.45am for a grand choral finale outside Poets House in Rockefeller Park, with music from the Asphalt Orchestra.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Alison Cummins at the British Council in Wales on 029 2092 4334 or

Notes to Editor

  • And Death Shall Have No Dominion is a participatory singing event for a synchronized headphone choir, conceived and composed by Pete M Wyer, with accompaniment by the Asphalt Orchestra.
  • Starless and Bible Black’ is the British Council’s international programme to mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth. It is part of the Dylan Thomas 100 The work was developed during a residency at the Blue Mountain Center.


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which last year was £781m.  The rest we earn from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies.  All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world.