From today, I am starting a residency hosted by the Britten-Pears Foundation at the former home of Imogen Holst (pictured here with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears) in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. I will be staying in the property, located at Church Walk in the centre of Aldeburgh, for five weeks and will work on two upcoming pieces for 2016 – my new work for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and a concerto for piano and ensemble (more details of which later).
The end of my stay will overlap with the beginning of the Aldeburgh Festival, where soprano Claire Booth and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra will premiere my new orchestral song cycle Beautiful Caged Thing on 13 June, conducted by George Benjamin.
I am grateful to the Britten-Pears Foundation and Aldeburgh Music for their support of this residency.
I have been commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra to write music for a new radio play by Vivienne Franzmann, and to turn the music into a standalone orchestral work which will be performed by the BBC Philharmonic.
Five composer/playwright pairings are being commissioned – myself with Vivienne, Aaron Parker with Francesca Martinez, Nina Whiteman with Esther Wilson, Chiu-Yu Chou with Lee Mattison, and Daniel Kidane with Zodwa Nyoni – and each pair will work on a new play inspired by a Shakespeare sonnet. The radio plays will be recorded by actors and the orchestra at BBC Media City and broadcast on Radio 3 in April 2016. The new, standalone pieces will then be performed by the orchestra at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on 23 April, conducted by Andrew Gourlay.
The Britten Sinfonia will premiere my new piece for string orchestra, ‘My Curves are not Mad‘, on the 20th March. The piece’s title comes from a quote in Henri Matisse’s 1947 book Jazz where he asserts that the inventive and organic shapes and curves of his cut-outs are conceived always with reference to plain vertical lines. The piece was commissioned by the Britten Sinfonia with funds from the William Alwyn Foundation.
The orchestra, conducted by Carlos del Cueto and led by Thomas Gould, will premiere the piece at Barbican/Guildhall‘s Milton Court Concert Hall in London on the 20th, before touring it to Norwich’s Theatre Royal on the 21st and Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden on the 22nd. All concerts will also feature Locatelli’s Concerto Grosso Op. 1 No. 11, Hans Abrahamsen‘s Double Concerto (featuring Alasdair Beatson as soloist), and Sitkovetsky’s arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
I’m delighted to have been commissioned by Aldeburgh Music to write an orchestral song cycle for the 2015 Aldeburgh Festival, to be premiered by soprano Claire Booth with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by George Benjamin. The programme will also feature Wagner’s Siegried Idyll, Benjamin’s A Mind of Winter, Boulez’s Mémoriale and Ravel’s Piano Concerto, featuring festival director Pierre-Laurent Aimard on piano. The concert will be at Snape Maltings concert hall on the 13th of June.
George is a featured artist at this year’s festival, and will also be conducting the London Sinfonietta, as well as appearing as a pianist alongside Aimard in Ravel’s Ma mère de l’oye. A rundown of some highlights of the festival programme is available here, and the full lineup will be announced in January when tickets go on sale.
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 email@example.com.
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.