Imogen Holst: Then & Now

11th April 2022

Features NMC Recordings

On what would be her 115th Birthday, we delve back into the archive to celebrate the reissue of Imogen Holst: String Chamber Music from 2017 and shine a light on the recently established Imogen Holst Fund.

One of NMC's commitments to new music is rescuing significant recordings that have been deleted, and in 2017 we reissued Imogen Holst's chamber works, originally released on the Court Lane Music label.  The album won a BBC Music Magazine Award back in 2010 and was given a new lease of life through NMC, resulting in a renewed interest in Imogen’s music and some glowing reviews:

  • 'An invaluable reminder of Imogen Holst's gifts as a composer' BBC Radio 3 Record Review
  • 'A touching and beautifully presented tribute to a significant figure in 20th-century British music' The Guardian ★★★★★

Incredibly, this album is one of our best performing on streaming sites. It appears in several playlists on Spotify and Apple with large followings. It also got a bit of a boost when in 2020 Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant included it in his Guardian ‘lockdown playlist’ – there are new music fans in the most unlikely places! (nb. he included our recording of Howard Skempton’s Lento too.)

Yet, Imogen’s music is still rather neglected on recording and in the concert hall, something NMC hopes to address during its 35th anniversary year in 2024, which also happens to be her father’s 150th anniversary. Both are important people in NMC’s history, as Colin Matthews explains: 

'Imogen Holst was a visionary. When together we established the Holst Foundation, not long before her death in 1984, she was clear that she did not want its future role to be to subsidise her father’s music in the way that most other composer trusts function. Instead she hoped that it would be able to support the work of living composers; and this is what the Foundation has done for nearly 30 years. We had talked at length about the possibility of funding recordings, and although it took a while to get NMC off the ground, I have always felt that the label was founded with her blessing, and that she would have approved whole-heartedly of what we have achieved since 1989.' - Colin Matthews Composer/NMC Executive Producer 

Read more of Colin's memories of Imogen Holst in his article here.

Imogen Holst's profound influence on NMC continues into the present day. We are delighted to honour her legacy through the recently formed Imogen Holst Fund. The fund is helping to create a pathway for historically under-represented composers. 

Initial recording projects which will benefit from the support of the Imogen Holst Fund include 2022 releases featuring the music of:  Shiva Feshareki, Daphne Oram, Rebecca Saunders, Ailis Ni Riain, and Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

Shiva Feshareki: Turning World is due to be released on NMC 27th May 2022.

Your support will enable us to bring these recording projects to fruition, strengthening the quality of NMC’s output and ensuring that important compositional voices are retained in our catalogue for the future on a permanent basis, benefiting audiences and composers alike.

Find out more about the Fund below, including how to make a donation today, and play your part in preserving great music for future generations to enjoy.

Donate Now
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Related Music

Imogen Holst Cover

Imogen Holst: String Chamber Works

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Shiva Feshareki: Turning World

Shiva Feshareki: Turning World

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The Imogen Holst Fund

Find out more & Donate

Music Map

Discover more about the classical music of today with NMC's Music Map, and exciting and educational online tool which enables you to see and hear the connections between composers, their teachers, pupils, influences and their works.

Music Map