CATEGORIES

Feature

Introducing our Next Wave 2 composer: Jack Sheen

Jack SheenNext Wave is a partnership project between NMC Recordings, Sound and Music and Sage Gateshead, designed to support and promote composers in higher education as they transition into the professional music industry. The following Q&A is extracted from the British Music Collection website as part of their New Voices series.

Jack Sheen is a conductor and composer from Manchester. In 2017 at the age of 23 he became the RNCM's youngest ever Junior Fellow in Conducting appointed by Sir Mark Elder, through which he enjoys a close relationship with the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Jack's music has been performed by orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Aurora Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata; ensembles including Apartment House, EXAUDI, Plus Minus Ensemble, and Psappha; and commissioned by organisations such as London Contemporary Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, and BBC Young Artists Day.

 

Jack's piece Found features on the Next Wave 2 album which is available to pre-order here.

 

His piece will be performed at the New Year New Artists concert at Sage Gateshead on 27 January 2018. For more information and tickets click here.

 

 

 

The ensemble for Next Wave 2 is an unusual grouping in terms of instrumentation. Your final score is for female voice, two violins, audio and ensemble (open instrumentation). What would be your ideal instrumentation for this work, if indeed there is one?

My ideal instrumentation would be about seven choirs and a string orchestra submerged underwater, accompanied by some clarinets and alto flutes -  all slightly detuned and played without vibrato - situated offstage. There’d be a chamber organ in there as well maybe. The audio would ideally come from as many Nokia 3310s I could find/afford suspended from cranes around various cities in the North of England, which would then transmit the sounds live into the performance space. The violin duet at the end would stay the same. The piece would also ideally last several hours.

 

Do you think the word composer adequately reflects you an artist? If not, what word does?

Yeah it’s fine. Or composer/conductor, conductor/composer, all that.

In general I think we could develop a more liberal idea about what a composer is and what their practice can involve. Nowadays there are a lot of composers who are using all sorts of other media and techniques in their work which extend so far beyond composing in the ‘sitting-at-a-desk-and-writing-down-notated-music-on-manuscript-paper’ sense of the word. I think it’s a shame that as soon as they reach outside of an obviously ‘musical sphere’ they become identified as something else. It’s not music anymore, it’s not our problem, we don’t have to engage with it, let alone take it seriously, or support it.

 

Read the full Q&A on the British Music Collection website.

 

Find out more about our Next Wave 2 project.

 

This work was created as part of Sound and Music’s Next Wave 2 programme. It was recorded and premiered in collaboration with Sage Gateshead and NMC Recordings. Next Wave 2 was funded by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation.

 

Sound and Music logo   Sage Gateshead    RNS

 

Feature

Introducing our Next Wave 2 composer: Alex J Hall

Alex J HallNext Wave is a partnership project between NMC Recordings, Sound and Music and Sage Gateshead, designed to support and promote composers in higher education as they transition into the professional music industry. The following Q&A is extracted from the British Music Collection website as part of their New Voices series.

Alex J Hall is a composer, singer, and musician based in London, UK. Alex is currently undertaking a Masters in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, having graduated with first-class honours from Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning both the Edmund Rubbra prize for composition and the Rose Lawrence prize for highest academic achievement.

Alex's piece Luminalia features on the Next Wave 2 album which is available to pre-order here.

 

His piece will be performed at the New Year New Artists concert at Sage Gateshead on 27 January 2018. For more information and tickets click here.

 

 

You worked with multi-instrumentalist Quinta on this programme and her multi-instrumental capabilities became a central element of your final work. How did the collaboration become a part of the final piece?

Quinta was very interesting to work with from day one - she passed on a lot of information on what she likes to play and music that she appreciated and then specifics all the instruments she plays - that all fed into the final piece, although again some if it in very subtle ways. My original intention was for a Viola and Musical Saw solo role, But actually the approach I ended up going with was evoking the sound of the musical saw without actually using it; the violin trio play lots of glissandos which are right out of the playbook of the saw. And the solo role which Quinta plays is perhaps a more subtle spatial one than I originally conceived of; As the central violin she passes around these patterns and idea to the violins on the left and right of her, like a rotating sculpture where the centre keeps the whole structure balanced.

 

You completed your undergraduate studies and began a Masters degree in the past year. How has the Next Wave 2 programme influenced your studies?

In lots of ways - alot of them subtle. I think talking with other composers is always a good way to question your own practice (which is very healthy). I think (off the top of my head) my engraving abilities, my aesthetic ideals and concepts about form and sketching have all been affected for the better, mostly through conversations. Alongside that, I think the most immediate effect, which has definitely seeped into my coursework, is creating aurally interesting effects - always sparked by the music - in very musical ways on the page for the musicians such that it becomes fun to play. It is something I appreciate in the music of composers like Andrew Norman, and I feel the ending of my piece especially has an element of this. But that has transferred directly into 5 of the pieces I have written since starting the programme, and it came as a result of something I attempted, and failed to do well, in the first workshop.

 

Read the full Q&A on the British Music Collection website.

 

Find out more about our Next Wave 2 project.

 

This work was created as part of Sound and Music’s Next Wave 2 programme. It was recorded and premiered in collaboration with Sage Gateshead and NMC Recordings. Next Wave 2 was funded by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation.

 

Sound and Music logo   Sage Gateshead    RNS

 

Feature

Introducing our Next Wave 2 composer: Peter Wilson

Emma WildeNext Wave is a partnership project between NMC Recordings, Sound and Music and Sage Gateshead, designed to support and promote composers in higher education as they transition into the professional music industry. The following Q&A is extracted from the British Music Collection website as part of their New Voices series.

Peter Wilson grew up near the Dandenong Ranges in Australia. He studied dance at The Australian Ballet School, then Composition at the Royal College of Music. Peter has worked internationally as a dancer, and now practices as a composer for concert hall, theatre, art installations, and dance. In addition to composing for Lore Lixenberg and the Royal Northern Sinfonia for ‘Next Wave 2’, he has worked collaboratively with Peter Neville and Richard Haynes (ELISION), The Australian Ballet dancers, Gildas Quartet, and Kaldor Public Arts.

Peter's piece A sweet, wild note features on the Next Wave 2 album which is available to pre-order here.

 

His piece will be performed at the New Year New Artists concert at Sage Gateshead on 27 January 2018. For more information and tickets click here.

 

 

What was your route into composing?

Inspirations:

Age six: A-minor triads

Age ten: Phillip Glass

Age twelve: Yann Tiersen

Age thirteen: John Williams

Age sixteen: Ennio Morricone

Age twenty: Thomas Ades

Age twenty-two: Brian Ferneyhough

Now: Birds and waterfalls

I was doing a secondment with a contemporary dance company called Chunky Move when I met Richard Gill, veteran music educator and (then) artistic director of the Victorian Opera. He introduced me to contemporary music and helped me to find my feet in the music world.

 

You trained as a ballet dancer before studying composition. Do you think your experience as a dancer informs your approach to composition and your musical style in general?

I think that all music is a product of the composer’s personality, memories, and experiences. For most of my life I’ve been trained to respond physically and expressively to music, and this has definitely impacted upon the type of music that I write. I went through a period of trying to exploit this fact however - to push the physicality of my music as far as possible - and this, for the most part, didn’t work too well. So I’m not sure that my recent compositions are ‘informed’ by dance in any conceptual sense. More just that dance has been an integral part of my life, and I write the compositions that I write because I am who I am.

 

Read the full Q&A on the British Music Collection website.

 

Find out more about our Next Wave 2 project.

 

This work was created as part of Sound and Music’s Next Wave 2 programme. It was recorded and premiered in collaboration with Sage Gateshead and NMC Recordings. Next Wave 2 was funded by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation.

 

Sound and Music logo   Sage Gateshead    RNS

 

Feature

Introducing our Next Wave 2 composer: Emma Wilde

Emma WildeNext Wave is a partnership project between NMC Recordings, Sound and Music and Sage Gateshead, designed to support and promote composers in higher education as they transition into the professional music industry. The following Q&A is extracted from the British Music Collection website as part of their New Voices series.

Emma Wilde is a Manchester-based composer who is completing a PhD under the supervision of Professor Camden Reeves at the University of Manchester. Her compositional interests include taking inspiration from the structures from Greek tragedy alongside musical characterization and stratification. Her works have also been inspired by techniques used in visual art and Latin American popular music.

Emma's piece El Hilo del Tiempo features on the Next Wave 2 album which is available to pre-order here.

 

Her piece will be performed at the New Year New Artists concert at Sage Gateshead on 27 January 2018. For more information and tickets click here.

 

What was your route into composing?

I have always been obsessed with music, particularly pop music, and as a young child I would invent songs and tunes on my keyboard but I never considered myself a ‘composer’ as such, although now I realise that composing is what I have always done. I started playing clarinet when I was 12 years old and I decided to study music at university primarily because of this. When I first attended composition seminars as an undergrad I wasn’t really sure if composing was for me. I had never really heard any contemporary classical music and at first it seemed quite strange and alien and I struggled to understand where I fit in in this world. My composition teacher Camden Reeves had a big influence on me as he encouraged us to think about our own individual compositional voices, and this gave me the confidence to write what I really wanted to hear. In my final year as an undergraduate I wrote a song cycle setting texts by Percy Shelley. I really enjoyed composing for voice and I realised that I wanted to pursue composing further. I was at the end of my music degree but had only just realised what I was really interested in so I decided to continue studying for a masters in composition and things developed from there.

 

Your piece developed very quickly after the first workshop and was already almost complete in the second workshop. Did you always have a clear vision of the final work going into this programme?

I always had a clear idea of the source of inspiration for the piece, which was the Mayan calendar, and I knew that I wanted to compose a piece about time. This helped me come up with musical materials quite quickly although I didn’t always have a clear vision of the final work. The first workshop really helped me refine my ideas as after that workshop I realised that I wanted to work with a smaller symmetrical ensemble of accordion, two violins and percussion which offered coherence of sound. The original sketches included brass instruments aswell but after the first workshop I didn’t feel that this ensemble was suited to my materials. Once I had the smaller ensemble in mind the work formed quite quickly and the ideas became more coherent and I was able to put together a full draft very quickly. This is usually how the compositional process works for me, once I understand the roles of the instruments within the ensemble and have a clear source of inspiration; I generally compose pieces quite quickly.

 

Read the full Q&A on the British Music Collection website.

 

Find out more about our Next Wave 2 project.

 

This work was created as part of Sound and Music’s Next Wave 2 programme. It was recorded and premiered in collaboration with Sage Gateshead and NMC Recordings. Next Wave 2 was funded by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation.

 

Sound and Music logo   Sage Gateshead    RNS

 

Feature

NMC Highlights 2017: awards, accolades and reviews

String Chamber Music IMOGEN HOLST: STRING CHAMBER MUSIC

'A touching and beautifully presented tribute to a significant figure in 20th-century British music' The Guardian ★★★★★

'The recorded sound, full of presence and atmosphere, is state-of-the-art' BBC Music Magazine

Simon Hewitt Jones violin | David Worswick violin | Tom Hankey viola | Oliver Coates cello | Thomas Hewitt Jones cello | Daniel Swain piano

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE AWARD WINNER 2010
(originally released on Court Lane Music)
THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2017
THE SCOTTISH HERALD 20 BEST CLASSICAL RELEASES OF 2017

 

 

 

 

Rime of the Ancient MarinerHOWARD SKEMPTON: THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER

'If you buy just one disc of contemporary music this year, get this one' The Arts Desk

Roderick Williams baritone | Christopher Yates viola | Birmingham Contemporary Music Group | Martyn Brabbins conductor

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE ★★★★★

GRAMOPHONE EDITOR'S CHOICE JUNE 2017

PRESTO CLASSICAL TOP 100 RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2017

SPOTIFY TOP 100 CLASSICAL RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2017

Official charts

 

 

COLIN MATTHEWS' SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT GRAMOPHONE AWARD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the full blog with his acceptance speech.


A Celestial Map of the SkyTARIK O'REGAN: A CELESTIAL MAP OF THE SKY

'Luminous beauty ... glows with jewel-like warmth' The Guardian ★★★★

Official charts

 

I am I sayKATE WHITLEY: I AM I SAY

‘Capricious yet cogent, Whitley’s music has admirably user-friendly surfaces that conceal hidden intensities. We will hear much more of her’ The Times ★★★★★

Official Charts

a table of noisesSIMON HOLT: A TABLE OF NOISES

'One of Simon Holt's finest achievements to date ... Unreservedly recommended' The Guardian ★★★★★

THE GUARDIAN TOP 10 CLASSICAL ALBUMS OF 2017

 

 

 

 

BRIAN ELIAS: ELECTRA MOURNS

‘An outpouring of grief and outrage’ Financial Times ★★★★

Official charts

 

Bracing ChangeVARIOUS: BRACING CHANGE

'Totally compelling ... intriguing, vivid new music’ The Guardian ★★★★

Official charts

 

FluxVARIOUS: FLUX

'Showcases the incredible diversity of music written for dance ... compelling' BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'

Haunting electronica ... an ambitiously expansive piano trio ... [and] a succinct piece played by Onyx Brass with perfectly balanced wit and melancholy' The Guardian ★★★★

 

 

 

ShenanigansCOLIN RILEY: SHENANIGANS

'Every sound is precisely conceived. The performances sparkle with character' Financial Times

'Wry, understated and slightly bonkers' The Guardian ★★★★

 

 

 

 

JOHN MCCABE: SILVER NOCTURNES

'The finest performance of this work I have heard ... NMC's sound, mastered by David Lefeber, is superb' Gramophone

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2017

Official charts

 

Feature

Gareth Moorcraft is a composer and pianist from South Wales. He read music at Worcester College, University of Oxford, where he studied composition with Robert Saxton. He was later awarded an AHRC scholarship to study for an MMus degree in composition with Gary Carpenter at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM). Gareth is currently working on his PhD with David Sawer and Simon Bainbridge (also at RAM). His ongoing studies are generously supported by the Arts Council of Wales. He is one of the winners of the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize.

Gareth Moorcraft's piece Reflections (After Gibbons) features on the Philharmonia Composers' Academy album which is available to download here.

 

Can you share with us your top five contemporary composers and/or pieces?

Tricky! I don’t have a top five - it changes too often! Still, some pieces I keep returning to at the moment are:

Steve Martland - Crossing the Border (available on NMC)

Benedict Mason - String Quartet No. 1

Michael Finnissy - The History of Photography in Sound

Niccolò Castiglioni - Inverno In-Ver

Hans Abrahamsen - Schnee

 

Where and when was your first composition performed? What was it?

My first performance was part of a composition workshop during my first term at university, so I would have been 18 years old. It was a piece for piano and tape delay performed by a fellow student, who did an excellent job! I remember there was something wrong with the venue’s computer patch controlling the delay, so we had to react to some unexpected timings and looping effects during the performance! The results were actually very interesting - there was a good lesson in this experience, I think!

 

Any stories of unusual jobs you had prior to entering the music world?

I’m afraid not, I have always worked in music one way or another! Then again, perhaps a PhD in music composition is a fairly unusual thing to do.

 

You're stuck in a lift with three people of your choice (dead or alive)! Who are they and what would be the topic of discussion while you wait to get rescued?

Oh dear! Cage, Stockhausen, Handel (with an instrument each)? Perhaps we could redefine lift music.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a new quintet (for piano and winds) for the Presteigne Festival and I’m about to start a new work for the Britten-Pears Brass Performance Course in Aldeburgh. Next year, I’ll also be writing a new work for pianist Tom Poster as part of a residency at MusicFest in Aberystwyth and collaborating with UPROAR, a new contemporary music ensemble in Wales. So I have lots to look forward to!

 

If you could collaborate with anyone across any genre or art form who would it be and why?

I find the work of dancer/choreographer Jonathan Burrows very interesting. In a piece like The Stop Quartet, he finds a wonderful balance between spontaneity and order; it creates (for me) a mystery or secrecy which I find fascinating. I also enjoy the playful element of his work. I’d love to explore some of these ideas in a new music-dance piece.

I’m also really keen to write for viol consort in future; it’s one of my favourite ensemble sounds. I’d love to learn how to write for these historical instruments and try to find a new way to explore their unique sound.

CATEGORIES

ARCHIVE

All entries in chronological order
18 August 2016
Feature
27 July 2016
News
20 May 2016
News
25 April 2016
Feature
14 March 2016
News
8 March 2016
News
16 February 2016
News
12 February 2016
News
9 December 2015
News
16 November 2015
News

Pages