Celebrating 25 years of NMC Recordings

Sir Simon Rattle'It gives me great pleasure, as one of NMC’s Founding Patrons, to join the celebrations for what has been achieved over the last quarter of a century! Because recordings have been such an important part of my own career, I know how much value recorded music has for audiences across the world, and – as in the case of NMC with its commitment to never deleting titles – across the years. The service NMC provides to British music is unparalleled. The opportunities it gives composers, artists and audiences to discover and share such a wealth of music is something to be treasured. I hope you will join with me both in celebrating what has been achieved so far and in looking to the future of this bold and adventurous organisation with confidence. I hope and believe it will inspire and challenge us for many years to come.'
Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE - NMC Patron



Our anniversary year is officially underway and here’s the heady summary of the activity we have planned in addition to our regular release schedule...


25th Anniversary SamplerTo celebrate our special birthday, we put together a FREE SAMPLER for you. Click on the image to download 8 tracks from our catalogue.





NMC SheepBirthday message

Why not leave us a birthday message in the comments box below (scroll down page) telling us what the work of NMC and its composers means to you?



Our 25th Anniversary activity includes:


Anniversary Opera Releases:  Arguably there is no other label which would release three major British contemporary operas in close succession, and we embarked on this as an anniversary project to illustrate the value of our role in bringing works to the catalogue which without NMC would be lost to most audiences, and unavailable internationally. We raised over £40,000 from eight trusts/foundations and over 50 individual donors who supported our Anniversary Opera Appeal in 2013, and as a result recordings of Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain, Judith Weir’s The Vanishing Bridegroom and Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest (rather appropriately inspired by the song Gerald contributed to the NMC Songbook for our 20th Anniversary) will now have a permanent place in the recorded catalogue.



Partnership projects: Over recent years we have developed many successful partnerships with other organisations whose collaboration we highly value.  In our anniversary year these feed into existing series or projects, such as London Sinfonietta’s key involvement in our Larry Goves release, and the Hallé’s particular championing of both John Casken and their Associate Composer Helen Grime. We have been particularly pleased to work for the first time with two leading dance companies, giving us the opportunity to take the work of NMC to a wider arts audience.  Our release of works by Mark-Anthony Turnage showcases recent collaborations with two of Britain's leading contemporary dance companies, Sadler's Wells and Rambert, with whom we are now planning future projects. And later this year we will be announcing details of our boldest, biggest, and most exciting partnership project, involving the Science Museum and Aurora Orchestra.




London Sinfonietta


Sadler's Wells

Next WaveNext Wave (Higher Education Programme): Working with Sound & Music to offer professional support, mentoring and commissioning to a dozen talented student composers we’re aiming to bridge the tricky gap between composing in a university setting and pursuing a career as a professional composer. The 12 composers are introduced on the Sound and Music website.




Wigmore Hall LogoWigmore Hall

String Quartets: Back in 2010, NMC recognised a gap in our catalogue that reflected current compositional trends where British composers, beyond a few notable exceptions, were shying away from the string quartet form. While NMC’s Artistic Panel selects works to be recorded based on quality above anything else, we felt it appropriate to rebalance our output of string quartet recordings and to use this initiative to commission new works for the genre. We approached Wigmore Hall as the leading venue for chamber music – with inbuilt performance opportunities, commissioning mechanisms and contact with leading quartet performers. With its notable track-record of working with contemporary composers and on-going commitment to international commissioning, Wigmore Hall is the perfect partner for us. The collaboration will see six quartets commissioned, premiered and released on NMC in two volumes over the next couple of years, featuring: Mark-Anthony Turnage + Belcea Quartet; Simon Holt + Jack Quartet; Anthony Gilbert + Carducci Quartet; Helen Grime + Heath Quartet; Donnacha Dennehy + Doric Quartet; and Paul Newland + Elias Quartet.




Debut DiscDebut Discs:

Our commitment to the brightest of new composing talents continues apace with further release in 2014 of our landmark Debut Disc series, launched in 2011 thanks to the generous support of Trusts and individuals through the ‘Big Give’ funding initiative.  Richard Causton, Larry Goves, Ben Foskett, Helen Grime and Charlotte Bray will benefit from their first portrait disc, raising the profile of their work and bringing it to international attention, which will no doubt benefit their further careers.



New Music BiennialDownload only releases: Following the success of our involvement in the PRSF New Music20x12 we are the digital provider for the 2014 New Music Biennial, celebrating Glasgow’s hosting of the XX Commonwealth Games.  We will make live recordings taken by BBC Radio 3 available as downloads, thus providing this project, and its innovative approach to commissioning and performance across a number of musical genres, with a lasting digital legacy and an international audience.

Also ...

BPF logoBritten Pears Foundation: We are delighted to confirm that BPF has agreed to contribute annual core funding to NMC with a slice of the investment supporting our commissioning activity, which is a key part of our anniversary programme but also important in ensuring that NMC’s business model is sustainable. BPF’s support is crucial in helping to address the loss of NMC’s Holst Foundation funding from 2015 and we are most grateful to the BPF trustees.



What an incredible journey from the first recording to today's incredible catalogue, not to mention the accompanying fantastic website and other resources! It was an extraordinary privilege to be involved in building NMC near the very beginning from 1992-95, to work with so many fascinating composers and performers and then to watch it grow. Many congratulations to everyone who has made the label what it is after an amazing quarter-century of promoting British music.

Dear NMC, Wishing you a fantastic 25th Anniversary year - and long may you continue! I've been listening to your list of works for as long as I can remember. Emily Howard

in a climate which is now hostile to anything other than the crudely commercial, NMC is a beacon of light in the wilderness. My 1978 piece CRY was put on to CD by NMC in about 1990, and has been kept available and on sale for more than 20 years by them. Had it not been for this, it would have been discontinued (or probably pulped) and the piece would have been forgotten. My undying gratitude . . .

Happy 25th Birthday, NMC! 25 years of essential work in British contemporary classical music - long may NMC continue to flourish - and congratulations to Colin and all the team who make it possible.

It is difficult to imagine that the ranks of composers of previous generations are not seething with envy over the phenomenal advocacy, promotion, and top-quality production values that modern composers receive from NMC's endeavors. Thank you for your twenty-five years of support of the best in new music; if only there were similar initiatives from organizations of NMC's dedication and skill here in the USA and elsewhere!

Happy 25th NMC! I'm very happy to be on the label, in such august company. Keep up the good work. Christopher

Congratulations on a fantastic 25 years. The contemporary classical music world would be a poorer place without NMC.

Happy 25th! Thank you so much for all your tireless energy in promoting UK composers, a true institution. Ben

Congratulations on 25 years of indispensible, top quality recordings of outstanding British music! Keep doing it. And I'm really sorry I cant be at the party - because I'm elsewhere supervising a recording. Geoff

So glad to have been a part of this venture, ever since its inception, 25 years ago. I was thrilled to read today's ecstatic reviews of JC's orchestral Orion and JA's new opera Thebes. Just two of the finest of the hundreds of living British composers you champion. As the trusted archive of all that is best in the UK we have to support NMC into the next 25 years, and beyond. Happy birthdays Colin, Helen and the rest of your enthusiastic team, Vic Hoyland

Many happy returns to the best contemporary music label in the UK. Here's to the next 25 years. Very best wishes Matthew

Having been there at the beginning (can't BELIEVE that was 25 years ago!) it is lovely to see you all grown up and going from strength to strength. Happy Birthday NMC - Composers are lucky to have you (and so are we listeners!) :-) Rosie x

Thank you for some of the finest music I have listened to over the years. I am grateful to have been able to access such composers as Julian Anderson, David Matthews and Simon Bainbridge, to name just a few. The world of contemporary music would be impoverished without NMC. Submitted by Frederick Lightfoot.


What a wonderful British institution NMC are! A real model for how contemporary music should be distributed by every country to the wider world. SM

Happy birthday from compositiontoday.com! NMC is such a vital part of the contemporary music landscape in the UK that it is hard to imagine where we would be without it. Thank you for making so much wonderful music available and for your tireless work in supporting UK composers.

Indispensable! If I could afford your entire production, I would! CM

Extraordinary A&R: vital, engaging music. Your recordings fly in the face of all the blather about the "death of classical music." Many of us are still highly interested in cds and in contemporary music of this quality. Keep the recordings coming! Providence, RI, USA



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