Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage partners with the Irene Taylor Trust ‘Music in Prisons’ and some new composers, comprising a group of prisoners from HMP Lowdham Grange. Beyond This presents music as a powerful vehicle for change, and enables prisoners to contribute positively to New Music 20x12.
'As a patron, I am highly supportive of the charity's attempts to influence change in prisoners' lives through music. I will relish the opportunity to collaborate with a group of new, untrained composers and use their raw talent, energy and ideas to develop a piece of new music for the Cultural Olympiad.' Mark-Anthony Turnage
New Music 20x12 is the brainchild of Jillian Barker and David Cohen who wanted to put new music at the heart of the Olympic celebrations in 2012. It is delivered by PRS for Music Foundation in partnership with BBC Radio 3, London 20x12 and NMC Recordings. For a full list of funding partners click here.
About Mark-Anthony Turnage
A composer of truly international stature, Mark-Anthony Turnage is among the most relevant communicators and creators of today. His orchestral and operatic music is often forthright and confrontational, unafraid to mirror the realities of modern life, yet its energy is exhilarating. With his flair for vivid titles, and his complete absorption of jazz elements into a contemporary classical style, Turnage produces work with a strong appeal to an enquiring, often young audience. At the same time his music is capable of expressing deep tenderness, especially emotions associated with loss.
He studied with Oliver Knussen and John Lambert in London and Gunther Schuller in Tanglewood and has worked as Composer in Association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and has current residencies with London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Conductors of Turnage's works include Simon Rattle, Andrew Davis, Oliver Knussen and Leonard Slatkin. Turnage has collaborated with jazz musicians John Scofield, Peter Erskine and Joe Lovano, soloists Evelyn Glennie, Christian Lindberg and Yuri Bashmet, and Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta and the Nash Ensemble.
Recent works include A Constant Obsession for the Nash Ensemble and Mark Padmore, Five Views of a Mouth for BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and flautist Dietmar Wiesner and Twisted Blues with Twisted ballad written for the Belcea Quartet. Turnage then took time out to write his third opera Anna Nicole, which was premiered at Covent Garden in Spring 2011 with six sold-out houses and broadcasts on television and radio.
Irene Taylor Trust
The Irene Taylor Trust ‘Music in Prisons’ has long been acknowledged as a sector leader bringing high quality music-based interventions to prisoners across England and Wales; since 1995 the charity has worked regularly in over 70 prisons with an average of 22, intensive 30-hour projects every year. The focus of these projects is the creation of new and innovative music, drawing out the ideas and influences of a group of individuals who rarely get such an opportunity to engage in the arts, or with their peers, in such a positive way. These projects have been consistently evaluated and respected within the prison system for bringing about positive change for the adult men and women, young offenders (aged 18-21) and juveniles (aged 15-17) who take part.
Rigorous academic evaluation by Cambridge University has shown that the positive outcomes include increased self-confidence, social skills, and motivation to learn, as well as decreases in incidences of self-harm and offending behaviour whilst in prison. These impacts all contribute to some of the National Offender Management Service’s seven pathways to reducing re-offending.
Many of our participants are among the most marginalised and disadvantaged individuals in our society and afflicted by issues such as poor mental health, poverty, lack of access to education, drug and/or alcohol problems, and homelessness. They often find it difficult to access mainstream education courses in prisons and on release. Our intervention is designed to bridge this gap by providing a positive learning experience that helps them overcome barriers, build resilience and take the next steps towards engaging in education and training.
The distinctiveness of our methodology is that it teaches instrument playing within the context of creating a performance as a band with the highest musical integrity. The premise is to take people out of their normal (and often unhealthy) groove and expose them to a fresh learning experience as part of a focused team in which they succeed in incremental steps, and are given positive feedback within a highly disciplined structure. The standard of work is consistently high as charted through the company’s history.
2012 Cultural Olympiad
The 2012 Cultural Olympiad is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, leaving a lasting legacy for the arts in the UK. Having a prison organisation involved in such a high profile event will highlight the crucial work that goes on, often unnoticed, behind the gates of the UK’s prisons. Our piece has been created by prisoners at HMP Lowdham Grange working with the renowned composer Mark-Anthony Turnage.
All of the New Music 20x12 commissions have the opportunity to perform their 12-minute pieces ‘live’ in a variety of venues at least three times. We have chosen to also create a short film as a backdrop to our presentation as live performance was not an option for us outside prison. The outside performances will allow us to highlight to a wider audience, the huge positive impact prison music projects have on those who take part and will allow us this once in a lifetime opportunity to widely promote what people in prison are capable of, and advocate for the transformative power of music education.
Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage (top left) working with prisoners at HMP Lowdham Grange. (Photos by Lizzie Coombes)
The performance of Beyond this by the inmates of HM Prison, Lowdham Grange, Nottingham was recorded by the BBC on the 19 January 2012 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 18 August 2012.
This work is available on NMC in mp3 and FLAC download formats. (See below)