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 which includes five new Debut Discs, London Sinfonietta Sinfonietta Shorts and New Music Biennial downloads working with PRS for Music Foundation and BBC Radio 3 once again on 20 commissions for Glasgow Culture 2014 and the XX Commonwealth Games.
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:
Opera Appeal: NMC is delighted to announce that our three landmark opera releases for our 25th anniversary year are now officially in our release schedule. We raised over £40,000 from eight trusts/foundations and over 50 individual donors and will release Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain on 19 May. Judith Weir's The Vanishing Bridegroom will be released on 21 July and Gerald Barry's The Importance of being Earnest on 24 November. The Barbican's Birtwistle at 80 series is presenting several celebratory concerts including Gawain with BBCSO/Martyn Brabbins on 16 May – see you there!
Hallé collaboration: NMC has plotted no less than seven releases with the Hallé starting with John Casken’s Orion over Farne. It’s a terrific partnership that adds significant orchestral repertoire to our catalogue, enables our music to feature in the Hallé’s programming ensuring increased profile for the pieces and composers, ensures joint marketing and builds a model that NMC can hopefully offer other orchestras; for the Hallé it offers fresh and challenging repertoire for its audiences and players with opportunities for chamber and solo roles for principals, and a new route to promoting Manchester’s continuing contribution to new music. The collaboration will enable the addition of the orchestral work From Trumpet to the Debut Disc devoted to the work of Ben Foskett to be released in June. Later this autumn, we will release an all-Hallé disc of works by its current Associate Composer Helen Grime. This features works for orchestra and chamber forces from within the Hallé with a solo role for Principal Clarinettist Lynsey Marsh. Details of future Hallé projects will be announced later this year.
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 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. This project is supported by The Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust and the Hargreaves and Ball Trust.
Britten 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.
Lots more announcements will be made in the coming weeks. Watch this space!