I am to be a featured composer at the Soundings 2014 programme of events this October, at London’s Austrian Cultural Forum. Curated by the Fidelio Trio‘s Mary Dullea, Soundings is a platform for contemporary music that brings together composers from the UK and Austria for four days of roundtable talks, workshops and concerts.
- On Thursday 30th October (7pm), my Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux will be performed by Mary Dullea, Rose Redgrave, Rowland Sutherland & Alice Purton at the Austrian Cultural Forum.
- On Friday 31st October (7.30pm) at the Royal College of Music, I will conduct violinist Darragh Morgan and students from the RCM in Sparking and Slipping.
This will be the second performance of Sparking and Slipping, after Sarah Hill performed it with an ensemble on the 11th September. Both concerts will also feature music by the other composers featured at Soundings – Julia Purgina, Arturo Fuentes and Simon Vosecek (from Austria) and Joanna Lee, Ruaidhri Mannion and myself (from the UK). There will also be various discussions, talks and open rehearsals that are happening – check here for details.
In other news, Trio Atem are performing some of my Seven Face Pictures at Manchester’s St Ann’s Church on the 14th October, in a concert also featuring works by Camden Reeves, Kaija Saariaho, Larry Goves and György Kurtág. Details here.
I’m thrilled to be signing with Faber Music as one of their House Composers. They will publish my scores from now on, including my upcoming piece for the strings of the Britten Sinfonia, and will be publishing much of my back catalogue. Pieces available from Faber will include Codex (Homage to Serafini) for symphony orchestra, Four Perpetual Motions for ten players, Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux for five or four players and Antic Rounds for 17 instruments. A full list of the pieces available from Faber can be seen on their website, where you can also view many of the scores.
To enquire about purchasing or rental of scores and parts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Thursday 11 September, violinist Sarah Hill will perform a new piece of mine, entitled Sparking & Slipping, at her final Masters recital at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. The piece is a virtuosic showpiece for violin soloist, accompanied by piano, harp & percussion – the accompagnato ensemble will be comprised of pianist Hannah Ely, harpist Anne Denholm and percussionist Henry Fynn, and I will be conducting. Sarah will also be playing Tartini’s unaccompanied Sonata in D Min, Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne and Stravinsky’s Duo Concertant.
The recital begins at 11.30am at the Peacock Room, Trinity Laban in Greenwich.
My new Études Nos. 3 & 4 for solo violin, commissioned by London Sinfonietta as part of their ‘Sinfonietta Shorts’ series, were premiered on the 23rd July at King’s Place‘s Rotunda Room. The two new études, lasting around five minutes in total, were played wonderfully by the Sinfonietta’s principal violinist Jonathan Morton to invited guests at one of the Sinfonietta’s ‘World Premiere Wednesdays’ series. The études will be recorded for NMC Recordings, who are recording all of the Sinfonietta Shorts for digital downloads.
The two new études now form a set alongside Études Nos. 1 & 2, which I wrote in 2010 for violinist Sarah Hill. Find more about the études here.
It’s the 67th Aldeburgh Festival this month, and my piece Rainbow-Shooting Cloud Contraption for 15 players is being performed on Saturday 21st by the Britten-Pears Composers Ensemble, conducted by Gregory Charette. The piece was written at Aldeburgh’s Contemporary Composition course last year, run by Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews and Michael Gandolfi. The concert is at 6pm at the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings. The concert also features pieces by Elliott Carter, Louis Chiappetta, Bruno Maderna, Nicholas Moroz, Robert Peate, Emma Ruth Richards and Michael Taplin.
While you’re at it, you can also find some new recordings over at my revamped Listen page, now featuring recordings of Antic Rounds by Orchestra of the Swan, and Limp by Helen Tonge & Richard Whalley.
I am part of the first group of composers involved in the re-launch of Sound and Music‘s ‘New Voices‘ scheme for 2014/15. The scheme sees an annual group of emerging composers selected to have their work showcased by Sound and Music and the British Music Collection. It basically serves as a platform for the composers, and as a curated selection of new British music for promoters and ensembles to peruse.
There are 56 composers on New Voices 2014/15, all alumni of Sound and Music’s Embedded and Portfolio schemes (I held an Embedded residency with the BBC Symphony Orchestra between 2012 and 2013). Information, audio and scores for all the composers can be found at the New Voices website – the British Music Collection is currently redesigning its website but will later showcase the New Voices collection, as will a new exhibition in the Google Cultural Institute.
In other news, Czech new music ensemble Ensemble Konvergence played Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux on Tuesday 22nd April at Prague’s Church of St. Vavřinec, alongside new pieces by Agustín Castilla-Ávila, Michaela Plachká, Gerald Resch and Tomáš Pálka.
An update about some recent education work I’ve been doing – alongside violinist Sarah Hill, I organised a two-day composition course for 9-14 year olds, held at Pembroke House in South London. The course was inspired by George Crumb’s piece Eleven Echoes of Autumn, extracts of which we performed during the course with flautist Jenny Dyson, pianist Dasol Lee and clarinettist Dean Wood. Using the piece as a starting point, Sarah and I introduced the children to ideas about timbre, narrative, the transformation of motifs and musical conversation. The 25 young musicians were split into four groups and by the end of the second day, each of these groups had collectively composed a piece of music inspired by paintings by Klee, Matisse, Rousseau and Miró. The course culminated in a showcase concert for friends and family, where the four new pieces were premiered, and we performed the Crumb piece in full. The two days were great fun and we were really proud of the children and what they achieved, and we got some lovely feedback from parents and participants. Below are some beautiful photographs of the workshops taken by Basia Lewandowska Cummings:
As part of the Bangor New Music Festival in March, where my piece Antic Rounds was premiered by Orchestra of the Swan, I co-led a series of workshops in Maesincla and Talysarn schools with Orchestra of the Swan cellist Matthew Forbes. The 2014 festival’s theme was Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary, and we coached the children on telling stories through music. In a concert at the festival, the children from each school told Shakespeare stories and illustrated them through music – Ysgol Maesincla created short musical tableaux based on scenes from King Lear, Macbeth, Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Ysgol Talysarn created music to accompany a thoroughgoing telling of the story of Romeo & Juliet.
With the London Symphony Orchestra, I was assisting on a project led by Fraser Trainer – eleven young musicians from Camden Schools formed the ‘Camden Festival Band’, alongside Fraser, Jordan Hunt and three LSO players. The children collectively composed musical ideas over a series of workshops, then Fraser went away and arranged this material for the massed choirs of Camden schools and the Camden Youth Orchestra, Jazz Band and Concert Band. The mega-composition, now entitled ‘Shake Off Your Sleep’, was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in March, with the our Festival Band (literally) taking centre stage amongst the thousand-odd performers. We then adapted the piece for the band to perform it alone at a concert at LSO St Luke’s.