"Spinal columnist inspires music for Paralympics"
Spinal Chords is a piece of music set to a text written by Melanie Reid, a columnist for The Times who broke her neck and back following a horse-riding accident in April 2010 which left her paralysed. Melanie's weekly 'Spinal Column' in The Times is an inspirational account of how she deals with raised and dashed hopes of recovery and how she in turn has been inspired by the many young people on her ward, many of them injured in sporting activities. Sally's piece will reflect the positive spirit of Melanie and the many other people, including Paralympians, who display such a life-affirming attitude in the face of adversity.
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 2012 and NMC Recordings. For a full list of funding partners click here.
About Sally Beamish
Scottish-based composer Sally Beamish’s work embraces chamber, vocal, choral and orchestral music, and is performed and broadcast internationally. She has received commissions from the USA, Japan, Australia, Scandinavia and Europe.
The beginning of her career centred on the viola – she was a member of the Raphael Ensemble, and a large part of her music-making was in the field of chamber music. Much of her work is informed by this intimate experience of interaction between players, and the creation of colours by placing solo instruments in different relationships.
From 1998-2002 she was composer in residence with the Swedish and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, for whom she wrote four major works. Her Knotgrass Elegy was commissioned by the BBC Proms (2001), and an opera, Monster, based on the life of Mary Shelley, was commissioned by the Brighton Festival and Scottish Opera, with a libretto by Scottish novelist Janice Galloway. Her trumpet concerto for Håkan Hardenberger and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, was performed at the 2003 BBC Proms. In 2006, in honour of her 50th birthday, the Cheltenham Festival staged a major retrospective of Beamish’s work, including two new commissions: a concerto for accordionist James Crabb, and a set of songs for the Kings Singers.
Recent projects include a third viola concerto for Lawrence Power and the Scottish Ensemble, concertos for the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, cellist Robert Cohen and percussionist Colin Currie plus new works for the Brodsky Quartet and Colin Currie. Her third string quartet was premiered by the Elias Quartet at the 2011 BBC Proms.
With composer Alasdair Nicolson, Sally Beamish co-directs the annual St. Magnus Composer's Course.
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Just over two decades ago, a group of London musicians took a good look at that curious institution we call the Orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook. Put a single conductor in charge? No way. Specialise in repertoire of a particular era? Too restricting. Perfect a work and then move on? Too lazy. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was born.
Since then, the OAE has shocked, changed and mesmerised the music world. Residencies at the Southbank Centre and Glyndebourne haven’t numbed its experimentalist bent. Record deals haven’t ironed out its quirks. Period-specific instruments have become just one element of its quest for authenticity.
Today the OAE is cherished more than ever. It still pushes for change, and still stands for excellence, diversity and exploration. And over two decades on, there’s still no orchestra in the world quite like it.
Actress Juliet Stevenson is perhaps best known for her roles in such feature length films as Emma (1996), Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and The Mona Lisa Smile (2003), as well as popular TV series such as Accused (BBC, 2010), Lewis (ITV 2007- ) and The Hour (BBC, 2011). Despite her prolific back-catalogue of on screen appearances her career is firmly rooted in stage. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in the late 70’s Juliet went on to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company where her contemporaries included the then emerging actors Jonathan Pryce, Patrick Stewart and Alan Rickman amongst others. Her stage career won her great success and in 1992 Juliet was presented with the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Paulina in Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden. Juliet is currently starring in BBC 2’s new six part TV drama White Heat.
The performance of Spinal Chords by the
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and was narrated by Juliet Stevenson. It was recorded on 5 February 2012 by the BBC at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton and broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on 21 April 2012.
The work is available on NMC in mp3 and FLAC download formats.
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 2012, NMC Recordings and a wide range of generous funders who have supported these outstanding commissions which will contribute to the cultural legacy of London 2012. For a full list of funding partners click here.