National Album DayIn celebration of National Album Day, we asked composers what the first NMC album they heard was and which is their favourite.

Take a look at their answers below...

#nationalalbumday   @albumdayUK


Dai Fujikura

First NMC album I heard - Jonathan Harvey: Bhakti
My favourite NMC album - Jonathan Harvey: Bhakti
Check out Dai Fujikura’s NMC album Secret Forest


Robin Haigh

First NMC album I heard - Harrison Birtwistle: Punch and Judy
My favourite NMC album - Simon Holt: a table of noises
Check out Robin Haigh's NMC album Next Wave 2




Howard Skempton

First NMC album I heard - 'I'm sure the first NMC album I heard was Mary Wiegold's Songbook.

My favourite NMC album - 'It's impossible to pick a favourite, but I'll definitely keep going back to Joe Cutler's Elsewhereness that I just received. That's my favourite at the moment!'
Check out Howard Skempton's NMC album Rime of the Ancient Mariner



Raymond Yiu

First NMC album I heard - Jonathan Harvey: Bhakti
My favourite NMC album - Julian Anderson: The Book of Hours
Check out Raymond Yiu’s NMC album A Countertenor Songbook


Colin Riley

First NMC album I heard - Howard Skempton: Lento
My favourite NMC album - Eliza Carthy & Moulettes: Rivers and Railways
Check out Colin Riley’s NMC album Shenanigans



Christopher Fox

Christopher Fox

First NMC album I heard - 'I'm old enough to have one of the very first NMC albums, a wonderful recital disc by Michael Finnissy including a tiny gem by Judith Weir, Michael's Strathspey, and other music by Howard Skempton, Chris Newman and Michael himself.'
My favourite NMC album - 'I like all the NMC records with my music, of course, especially EXAUDI's A Glimpse of Sion's Glory, but the one I have listened to the most is probably Richard Barrett's Vanity. It's a completely compelling piece of music, from beginning to end, and sounds as extraordinary as when I first heard it 20 years ago.'
Check out Christopher Fox’s NMC album A Glimpse of Sion's Glory


Tarik O'Regan

First NMC album I heard - Mary Wiegold's Songbook
My favourite NMC album - Helen Grime: Night Songs
Check out Tarik O'Regan’s NMC album A Celestial Map of the Sky


Andrew Hamilton

First NMC album I heard - Gerald Barry: Nua Nos 'It was life changing as a 17-year-old!'
My favourite NMC album - Gerald Barry: Nua Nos
Check out Andrew Hamilton’s NMC album music for people


Kenneth Hesketh

First NMC album I heard - Mark-Anthony Turnage: On All Fours
My favourite NMC album - Harrison Birtwistle: Punch and Judy
Check out Kenneth Hesketh’s NMC album Wunderkammer(konzert)


Claudia Molitor


First NMC album I heard - Michael Finnissy plays Weir, Finnissy, Newman and Skempton.
My favourite NMC album - I don't like to pick a favourite, but I can answer that the album I'm currently enjoying very much is A Glimpse of Sion's Glory with the wonderful EXAUDI singing Christopher Fox's music.'
Check out Claudia Molitor’s NMC album The Singing Bridge




Cheryl Frances-Hoad

First NMC album I heard - Ancora | Skempton, Guy, Muldowney
My favourite NMC album - 'I think that pretty much has to be my favourite album too - I still remember being totally gobsmacked by Howard Skempton's Lento.'
Check out Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s NMC album Flux


Mark Bowden


First NMC album I heard - Mark-Anthony Turnage: On All Fours - 'As a young, aspiring saxophonist I absolutely loved (and still do!) the four works on this album. I listened to them over and over again, driving my parents mad!'
My favourite NMC album - 'So many, but at the moment, my favourite NMC album is Helen Grime's Night Songs. Seven incisive chamber and orchestral works; vivid colours and beautiful melodies.'
Check out Mark Bowden's NMC album Sudden Light


Laura Bowler

First NMC album I heard - Harrison Birtwistle: The Mask of Orpheus
My favourite NMC album - Philip Venables: Below the Belt
Check out Laura Bowler’s NMC album In The Theatre of Air



Charlotte Bray

First NMC album I heard - 'I think probably Julian Anderson's Book of Hours, either that or Turnage's On All Fours.'
My favourite NMC album - Oliver Knussen: Autumnal - 'Every track is a gem, as is all of Olly's music. I also love Simon Holt's a table of noises.'
Check out Charlotte Bray’s NMC album At the Speed of Stillness






What's your first heard/favourite NMC album? Please let us know in the comments section below ...


NMC Halle


'The Hallé is very proud of its association with NMC, and the range and quality of projects we have been able to undertake through it.  There is nothing more exciting and worthwhile for an orchestra than bringing to life the works of living composers and presenting them before the widest possible public.'

John Summers, Chief Executive, Hallé Concerts Society


We're proud to continue our partnership with Hallé, our new September releases from Huw Watkins and Jonathan Dove making it 12 releases featuring the orchestra. The first album, Harrison Birtwistle's Night's Black Bird won a Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine Award and the second, Benjamin Britten's Britten to America was nominated for a Grammy!

In honour of this ongoing partnership, we're offering 20% off all back catalogue releases* featuring the Hallé using discount code NMCHALLE20




*Does not include the two new releases (NMC D224 and NMC D233). Offer expires 18 October 2018.


Discount valid on any of the following releases:

Related Recordings

A Celestial Map of the Sky,

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a table of noises,

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Apollinaire's Bird,

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Britten to America,

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Echo and Narcissus,

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Millennium Scenes,

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Night Songs,

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Night's Black Bird,

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Orion Over Farne

Dublin born composer Andrew Hamilton studied in Ireland, England and The Netherlands. His composition teachers included Kevin Volans, Anthony Gilbert and Louis Andriessen. In 2004 he was awarded the Macaulay Fellowship by the Arts Council of Ireland and from 2005 to 2006 he was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. Currently he is a visiting tutor in composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.


Andrew Hamilton's album music for people is available on NMC here.



What was your route into composing?

Very conventional: sang relentlessly, learned the recorder which I didn't stick with as I found it slightly upsetting (massed groups of six year old children playing Frére Jacques did not live up to my six year old concept of the transcendental ), started the violin at seven and started writing stuff down aged 10.


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

At 13 I wrote a piece for myself and the three other students in my music class and we played it in school assembly.  It was about a mountain in Ireland called Slieve Gullion, it did not go down well.

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?

I would choose my heroes Agnes Martin, Marcel Proust and Mozart. Proust and Mozart would keep our spirits up with hilarious stories but after a while we would need Martin to bring a bit of calm and silence to balance the situation.  I would like to ask them about the things that are not often discussed in social media and the PR side of the arts- how they dealt with the isolation and loneliness, the failures, passing fashions- i.e. the real stuff.  Hopefully, St. Francis of Assisi would be on the other end of the emergency line as he could cut through our ramblings and lack of organisation.


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

Lately I have been really inspired by the work of the choreographer/artist Yvonne Rainer. I would love to emulate the freedom, clarity and humour she brings to her work.


What do you listen to when you are not composing?

Mostly no music and then intense bouts of Mozart.


Debut Discs

We're finishing our Debut Discs Series 2 composer focus with David Fennessy.

Our Debut Discs Series 2 Appeal is still going and we still need your help to make Debut Discs 2 happen! Just click here if you'd like to donate.


David FennessyDavid Fennessy talks about his Debut Disc: ‘Although several works of mine have been recorded commercially in the past I have not yet had the opportunity to present a full disc of my music. This Debut Disc presents a valuable chance for me to display the broad range of my musical activities in recent years, from purely acoustic chamber works to pieces for large ensembles involving electronics. Although I approach each new work as a closed entity with its own arguments and set of rules, there is a thread which runs through these pieces to do with the hierarchies that exist within ensemble music making and also how that music relates to the outside world.

Music is for me all about relationships. An integral part of my process is the close collaboration with performers and the four works on this CD are the product of endless tryouts with the ensembles involved; their personalities are imprinted on the music. The result is, I believe, a level of commitment and passion in the delivery that speaks directly to the listener.'


About David Fennessy

David Fennessy first became interested in composition whilst studying for his undergraduate degree at the Dublin College of Music. He moved to Glasgow to study for his Masters Degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with James MacMillan and was subsequently invited to join the composition faculty where he has held a teaching post since 2005. He has developed a long-standing relationship with Ensemble Modern since 2006, including numerous commissions and premieres. Recent works have been performed by RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Rednote Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, and Psappha. In March 2017, he won the Scottish Award for New Music Small/Medium Scale work for Panopticon which will appear on his Debut Disc.


David Fennessy's Debut Disc is due for release in 2019.


Photo by Tanya Kiang.


Debut Discs

Next in our Debut Discs Series 2 composer focus is Linda Buckley.

Our Debut Discs Series 2 Appeal is still going and we still need your help to make Debut Discs 2 happen! Just click here if you'd like to donate.


Linda Buckley

Linda Buckley talks about her Debut Disc: ‘While being active as a composer for many years in live performance contexts, there has been little opportunity for presentation of this work in a tangible form through professional recording. I am delighted to have been selected for a Debut Disc - I feel it is the right time in my journey as a composer to make this album, which brings my music to a more wide-reaching pool of listeners, and as a milestone to showcase a body of diverse and cross genre work. Much of my work is rooted in landscape and atmosphere, exploring sonic connection between acoustic instruments and electronics, as well as being strongly connected to the voice and the Irish tradition of Sean-nós singing.'


About Linda Buckley

Linda Buckley is an Irish composer based in Glasgow who has written extensively for orchestra, and has a particular interest in merging her classical training with the worlds of post punk, folk and ambient electronica. Her work has been described as ‘fantastically brutal, reminiscent of the glitch music of acts such as Autechre’ (Liam Cagney, Composing the Island) and ‘engaging with an area of experience that new music is generally shy of, which, simplified and reduced to a single word, I’d call ecstasy’ (Bob Gilmore, Journal of Music). Awards include a Fulbright scholarship to New York University in 2016, and the Frankfurt Visual Music Award 2011 (Silk Chroma). She has worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Icebreaker, Fidelio Trio, Iarla O’Lionaird, Joby Burgess, Ensemble Mise-En and Crash Ensemble.


Find out more about Linda on her website. Linda Buckley's Debut Disc is due for release in 2020.

Photo by Shane Scollard.


Debut Discs


We continue with our Debut Discs Series 2 Composer focus with Edmund Finnis. Find out more about him and his forthcoming release below.

Our Debut Discs Series 2 Appeal is still going and we still need your help to make Debut Discs 2 happen! Just click here if you'd like to donate.


Edmund Finnis

Edmund Finnis talks about his Debut Disc: ‘The NMC Debut Disc of my music that is currently being planned comes at a very important stage in my development as a composer. Having built up a body of work ranging from solo instrumental pieces to works for full orchestra over the last decade, at this point I am eager to share my music with as wide an audience as possible, beyond the confines of the concert hall. Together with NMC we have chosen a selection of these pieces to record and release which will both demonstrate the breadth of my music to date and work well alongside one another as a coherent album. 
I am thrilled and honoured that the album will feature world-class ensembles and soloists including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, BCMG, LCO, Vikingur Olafsson and Mark Simpson, along with conductors who have demonstrated a deep understanding of my music: Ilan Volkov, Richard Baker, Robert Ames and Andrew Gourlay.
In recent years, my music has had an increasing number of international performances. I have found that many of the people who programme these pieces first come across them online, via my Soundcloud or personal website. With a first commercial release on NMC, a far greater number of people will become aware of my music and I'm hopeful that this will lead to many more live performances of these and other works of mine around the world.’


About Edmund Finnis

Edmund Finnis is a London-based composer. His music is performed internationally. He has enjoyed particularly close associations with both the London Sinfonietta – who have variously performed, toured and recorded six of his works, including three that they commissioned (Veneer, Unfolds and Seeing is Flux) – and the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO), with whom he was Composer-in-Association from 2013 to 2016. Recent works include The Air, Turning for orchestra and Shades Lengthen, a violin concerto that was shortlisted for an RPS Music Award. 


Find out more about Edmund on his website. Edmund Finnis's Debut Disc is due for release in 2019.


Photo by Marie Kaus.



All entries in chronological order
31 October 2014
27 October 2014
23 October 2014
20 October 2014
16 October 2014
13 October 2014
3 October 2014
12 September 2014
11 September 2014
6 August 2014