NMC is sad to learn of the passing of Roger Smalley last week. 


The Manchester born, Australia based composer has featured on NMC Recordings on various occasions, including his piece 'Pulses for 5x4 players'.


There will be a celebration of Roger's life at 3.30pm on Tuesday 1st September at the Fellows' Room, Girton College, Cambridge, which will include a formal event including music and reminiscences from family and friends. This will be followed by afternoon tea. The memorial will feature a showing of photos and memorabilia from over the years such as concert and poster flyers and anyone wishing to attend is encouraged to bring along anything to share on the day.


Philip Headlam, the co-artistic director and conductor of The Continuum Ensemble, commented "He was a great musician and a fine composer and it was a privilege to know him and work with him."


Further information regarding Roger's life and successful career can be found at Faber Music here.



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1. Anne Rushton's acceptance speech, on behalf of NMC
2. Royal Philharmonic Society's Press Release
3. Photos from the event

4. Free download sampler & follow NMC on Twitter


NMC Recordings has been awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Leslie Boosey Award for “its outstanding contribution to the furthering of contemporary music in Britain”.

The NMC team - including trustees, patrons and supporters - were in attendance at the presentation, held at London’s Wigmore Hall on Saturday 6 June. It is the first time that the award has been made to an organisation, rather than an individual and we are all hugely honoured by the recognition.  We look forward to spending two years with the stunning Elisabeth Frink bronze eagle, which now sits, pride-of-place, on our Awards mantelpiece in our office.



Anne Rushton (NMC’s Executive Director) acceptance speech

"On behalf of our founder Colin Matthews and everyone at NMC of course our enormous thanks go to the Royal Philharmonic Society, John and Judith for bestowing this huge honour upon us. It’s especially fitting that we receive this here tonight, reflecting the artistic partnerships we have with both Wigmore Hall and Aurora Orchestra, and on the occasion of a premiere by a composer whose work NMC has long proudly championed. And it also reflects the very origins of NMC – when the idea first emerged at a premiere in Aldeburgh, that recordings could provide a more permanent route for audiences to discover and connect with new work which could challenge and inspire them. And that’s what NMC has been doing for over 25 years.

The fact that we are the first organisation to receive the Leslie Boosey Award only adds to our sense of pride. And of course as Judith has said we are an organisation of INDIVIDUALS. So this Award is for my completely brilliant colleagues, patrons and trustees, present and past; it’s for the members of the wider NMC family who work behind the scenes, and from across the industry, and help us achieve -  sometimes against the odds - and it’s for all the composers and artists who entrust us with their work.  It’s for our supporters and funders, from the Arts Council to our loyal and discerning Friends. And above all it’s for the members of our growing audience who continue to amaze us with their appetite for the new and adventurous. Thank you very much."

Royal Philharmonic Society Press Release

NMC Recordings awarded RPS Leslie Boosey Award

NMC Recordings has been awarded the prestigious RPS Leslie Boosey Award for its outstanding contribution to the furthering of contemporary music in Britain. It is the first time that the award has been made to an organisation, rather than an individual.

The award, a magnificent bronze eagle by sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink, was presented to Anne Rushton, Executive Director of NMC, by Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, on stage at a Wigmore Hall concert on 6 June 2015.  The concert reflected the artistic partnership NMC has with both Wigmore Hall and Aurora Orchestra and featured the premiere of a new work by Judith Weir, whose work NMC has long championed.

The Leslie Boosey Award was set up by the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Performing Rights Society in memory of music publisher Leslie Boosey (1887-1979).  It is awarded every two years. The award is primarily given to those who work ‘back stage’.  Programmers, publishers, broadcasters, administrators, educationalists and representatives from the recording industry have all received the award since it inception in 1980, with recipients including Amelia Freedman, Bill Colleran, Gillian Moore, Stephen and Jackie Newbould of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and most recently, Sally Groves, former Creative Director of Schott Music Limited.

In its citation, the RPS says:

“We are delighted to present this year’s RPS Leslie Boosey Award to NMC Recordings.  NMC is a true champion of British Contemporary Music, and over a quarter of a century has built an extraordinary recording catalogue embracing composers at all stages of their careers, often working with them well before any commercial company might consider them a commercial proposition:  3000+ tracks released, 300 different British Composers represented and over 1.5 million downloads and streams – with no title ever deleted from the NMC catalogue.

 NMC is unique for its vision: to provide a permanent legacy of our time to delight, inform and challenge future generations, with composers at its centre.  It’s unique for its people: for the determination of founder Colin Matthews and his conviction that a contemporary recording label could inspire – and indeed flourish – in the 21st century, and for the generosity and hard work of all the trustees, dedicated team, volunteer advisors, partner organisations, supporters, engineers and musicians who make it all happen.  And it is indispensable to curious listeners who share in this incredible creative wealth.  NMC has opened our ears and changed how and what we listen to.  NMC we salute you.  Here’s to the next 25 years.”

Further press information from RPS: Sophie Cohen on 020 7428 9850

Photos from the event













(L-R) Judith Weir, Andrew Ward (NMC Chair), Colin Matthews,
John Gilhooly & Anne Rushton

NMC team

The NMC Team (L-R) Gwen, Anne, Ellie & Lucile














NMC Trustees/Patron (L-R)  Raj Arumugam, Stephen Johns, Richard Fries
Lady Camilla Panufnik, Andrew Ward, Graham Elliot, Elizabeth Anderton
David Smith, Ed McKeon, Colin Matthews

Explore our catalogue – download our free 8-track sampler


Follow our tweets @nmcrecordings

#RPSAward  #Eaglehaslanded  #LeslieBooseyAward


Discover NMC and download 8 FREE tracks from our catalogue.


  Includes a reconstruction of Dowland, electric bassoon and hypnotic minimalism: 8 tracks from UK composers Harrison Birtwistle, Judith Weir, Richard Barrett, Anna Meredith and others. (Full track details below)








The Welcome Arrival of Rain-Weir1. Judith Weir: The Welcome Arrival of Rain (extract)        

BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins

Taken from NMC D137 The Welcome Arrival of Rain

The first ever disc of Judith Weir's major orchestral works, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins, includes title work The Welcome Arrival of Rain, inspired by the annual Indian monsoon.

'The music here displays an undiminished, sharp musical intelligence with an enviable flair for orchestration, dramatic momentum and melodic invention.' The Wire


Christopher Fox2. Christopher Fox: Open the Gate

EXAUDI/James Weeks

Taken from NMC D114 A Glimpse of Sion's Glory

Exciting new vocal ensemble EXAUDI's second recording for NMC features choral works by Christopher Fox with the common theme of Puritanism, Liberty and dissent. Open the Gate, with its basis of plainsong, complete the disc.



Ritual Fragment-Birtwistle3. Harrison Birtwistle: Ritual Fragment (extract)

London Sinfonietta

Taken from NMC D009 Melencolia I - Ritual Fragment

The works display Birtwistle's distinctive and forceful voice and range in mood from austere introspective journeying to moments of unbearable intensity.




Songs before Sleep - As I walked by myself-Bennett4. Richard Rodney Bennett: Songs before Sleep - As I walked by myself

Roderick Williams/Iain Burnside

Taken from NMC D155 Songs Before Sleep

Bennett's most accessible and lyrical piece.

'Roderick Williams infuses Songs Before Sleep with just the right dark warmth' BBC Music Magazine




Axeman-Meredith5.  Anna Meredith: Axeman

John Orford bassoon/Sound Intermedia electronics (London Sinfonietta)

Taken from NMC DL3012 Axeman

Anna Meredith says: 'We decided the way forward was to unleash the bassoon from its rock closet and try and write a piece that made the bassoon sound as much like an 1980s guitar-god as possible.'




Spine-Davies6. Tansy Davies: Make Black White (extract)


Taken from NMC D176 Spine

Filled with sounds of cracking, slapping, whipping and scraping, it is music that is utterly contemporary, inhabiting the same urban landscape as industrial techno and electronica. make black white is a reconstruction of Dowland’s Flow, My Tears performed by viol consort Concordia.

'Tansy Davies’ music, held together in an awkward, gritty tension that allows for both emotional depth & unrestrained exuberance.' 5:4


Lento-Skempton7. Howard Skempton: Lento (extract)

BBC SO/Mark Wigglesworth

Taken from NMC D005 Lento

Lento is music of extraordinary directness and simplicity. It is an enigmatic and hypnotic work within which shifting modal chords progress through the orchestra to create a chorale-like, almost architectural form beneath a calm melodic surface.

'Lento, by the British miniaturist Howard Skempton, must surely be heading for cult status… it is captivating in its simple wistfulness.' BBC Music Magazine


Dark Matter8. Richard Barrett: Katasterismoi (extract)

Daryl Buckley/Elision

Taken from NMC D183 Dark Matter

‘This is one of the most dazzling displays of contemporary music ever recorded…It practically defies belief to hear Barrett’s music-or indeed, any music-played with such unshakeable conviction and commitment. A masterpiece’ 5:4 blog



We are deeply saddened to hear the news that John McCabe died today after a long illness. We have many fond memories of working with John through the years and our thoughts are with his wife Monica.


Friday, February 13, 2015 John McCabe (1939-2015)

Press release from John's publisher, Novello & Co.

It is with great sadness that Novello & Company Limited announces the death of John McCabe. John passed away peacefully, after a long illness, in Rochester, Kent on Friday February 13, aged 75. He is survived by his wife, Monica. James Rushton, Managing Director of Novello & Company Limited, comments: With John McCabe’s passing we have a lost a man of great wisdom, humour and integrity and a complete musician. A composer and pianist of the highest calibre, he shall be greatly missed. I am struck, when thinking back over John’s career, and over a period of twenty years in which I have had the privilege of working with him, by his constancy. He was devoted as a pianist to the music of Haydn and Scarlatti, Rawsthorne, Bax and many other 20th century composers. John’s recordings were the first introduction that many of us had to such repertoire. He was steadfast in accordance to his core beliefs as a composer. His scores were highly crafted and technically immaculate. But John’s paramount aim was an immediacy of communication and expression. It is the greatest tribute to him that he achieved that in a comprehensive range of forms and mediums. My abiding memory of John will be his acceptance speech when receiving the Classical Music Award at the Ivors last year. It was quite extraordinary - self-deprecating, loyal to fellow composer colleagues, and immensely humorous - leaving everyone on their feet, cheering. That is as it should be.


John McCabe enjoyed a long career as a composer. He decided upon this vocation as a young boy in Liverpool at the age of just five and a half. He went on to compose continuously until his final months of recent ill health. After studies at the Royal Manchester College of Music, now the Royal Northern College of Music, and in Munich, he embarked on an international career as composer and pianist. His complete CD survey of Haydn’s Piano Sonatas for Decca has become a landmark recording. McCabe worked in almost every genre, though large-scale forms lie at the heart of his catalogue. His most recent work, Christ’s Nativity, was commissioned by the Hallé Choir and was premiered in Manchester in December 2014. His compositions, published by Novello over a relationship of more than fifty years, number in excess of 200 works. A formidable catalogue of works spans full-length ballets such as Edward II and the two-part Arthur for Birmingham Royal Ballet, symphonies and concertante works, and music such as Notturni ed Alba for soprano and orchestra and The Chagall Windows for orchestra placed him at the centre of the repertoire. His output of chamber music is equally outstanding and he made a major contribution to piano music. McCabe was appointed CBE by Her Majesty The Queen in 1985 for his services to British music. In 2004 the Incorporated Society of Musicians honoured McCabe with the Distinguished Musician Award in recognition of his 'outstanding contribution to British musical life'. Then, in 2006, Liverpool University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Music. Most recently, during his 75th Birthday year in 2014, he was presented with the Ivors Classical Music Award.



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All entries in chronological order
24 August 2015
3 August 2015
23 July 2015
8 June 2015
7 April 2015
16 March 2015
13 February 2015
5 February 2015
5 January 2015
12 December 2014