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Gallery CafeOn Tuesday 12 December we welcomed NMC friends and industry colleagues to the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green for our annual Friends event/office-warming party.

With a mincepie and a glass of wine in hand, our guests were welcomed by our Executive Director Anne Rushton, who highlighted key events and acheivements in 2017 (see our Roundup of 2017 blog), and the launch of our education resources for schools. Anne also announced our first releases in 2018, which include Next Wave 2 (pre-order available here), and albums from Brian Ferneyhough, Philip Venables and Andrew Hamilton.

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca HepplewhiteThe first performance of the night was of Colin Riley's lyric piece Something In Our Minds Will Always Stay from his recent release on NMC, Shenanigans, expertly played by cellist Rebecca Hepplewhite. Christopher Fox then talked to Colin Riley about his influences and compositional style and you can listen to the full interview (complete with the party 'ambience'!) below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second performance of the night was from Retorica (Philippa Mo and Harriet Mackenzie) who played John McCabe's Spielend from their portrait disc on NMC (available here). It was followed by Colin Matthews in conversation with Christopher Austin to discuss John McCabe's latest release on NMC, Silver Nocturnes, as well as Imogen Holst's legacy album String Chamber Music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Wave 2 composer Robin Haigh with RAM students, Joshua Hickins and Thomas Jones

 

NMC trustee Jackie Newbould with Harriet Mackenzie and Monica McCabe

 

NMC's Label Assistant Rachel Wilmot and Development Assistant Lucile Gasser

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

 

News

 

In 2017, without our supporters we would only have been able to release 4 of our 13 new albums. So, we wanted to say a special 'Thank you for helping us to #KeepTheMusicGoing!' for #GivingTuesday. On Tuesday 28th November 2017, we opened our #KeepTheMusicGoing playlist to you and you added your tracks, which were the soundtrack to our day in the office. We had a great time listening to your suggestions and the almost 4 hours of music you gave us in total! The playlist is now closed but you can listen to it here or with the player below.

 

 

 

Every year, NMC has to fundraise almost 70% of its income from private sources, such as charitable trusts and individual donors. Revenue from sales income and our Arts Council grant covers only a small proportion of our costs, and we rely on our many funders to help us release exciting, innovative, and bold new music from the British Isles.

Our charitable status means we can embark on projects based on artistic merit, rather than commercial return alone. It is the generosity of our supporters that enables us to release all the exciting new music you find in our store every year, and preserve it for generations to come. 

We're looking forward to hearing your suggestions and to a day filled with music curated by you!


If you want to find out more about the ways in which you can support NMC’s work, please click here.


What is #GivingTuesday?

#givingtuesday is the day to do good stuff for charity. On the day you can choose to support any charity you want in any way you want. Whether you bake good stuff, make good stuff, donate good stuff, tweet good stuff or even say good stuff ‐ how you support your favourite cause is totally up to you!

#givingtuesday arrived in the UK in 2014. Since then, the day has gone on to become one of Britain’s biggest days for charities, raising millions of pounds for good causes. #givingtuesday now runs in over 70 countries around the world including the US, Canada, Russia, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Australia and Brazil.

Click here to discover more about #givingtuesday.

 

 

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.

Feature

Born in Sydney, Australia, Lisa Illean graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2015 with the Corbett and Hurlstone prize for outstanding achievement and is currently a Soirée d'Or Scholar on their doctoral programme. Lisa Illean's music has been described as 'exquisitely quiet shadows shaded with microtunings' (The Sydney Morning Herald) and 'a compelling exercise in stillness and quietude' (The Australian). Her ensemble works have been performed by the BBC, Sydney and Melbourne symphony orchestras, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Scordatura, Octandre Ensemble and Explorensemble, among others. She is one of the winners of the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize.

Lisa Illean's piece Januaries 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?

There have been moments when a piece or a composer has meaningfully altered how I make sense of sound: this happened the first time I heard Luigi Nono live, and the first time I heard a longer Feldman work live too … the physicality of the sound, the presence of those playing and the collective experience of the audience were all part of this mix.  Some improvised music that I’ve heard in Melbourne or London has also had this effect. But I’m wary of making lists.

I’ve recently been listening to/playing a lot of ‘old’ music; enjoying its mysterious lucidity, and the quietly unfolding sense of drama that a different, eddying approach to time affords.

 

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

From the year we began working together, my first piano teacher encouraged me to write down really short pieces I would play myself. I suppose I was seven or eight, so they were super simple, odd things—but also strangely meticulous pieces, given that their harmony was so intuitive and irreverent.  I just loved discovering sounds; and the richness of acoustic sound, with all the grains of detail staining it.  Apart from to my family, only one was ever performed: in a student concert at the opera house in Sydney.  That was a nice moment.

 

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

I worked for a violin luthier/magician for a year between studies…

 

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?

Probably three great friends… ideally Emma would have her projector in tow, so we could settle in as for a long international flight and watch The Long Goodbye and The Passenger back-to-back.

 

What are you working on the moment?

My next project is a work for voice and electronics, for (terrific soprano) Juliet Fraser.  I’m making sketches at the moment, and my flat is a jungle-installation of microphones and instruments.

 

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

I have a good friend who’s a visual artist and I’m really looking forward to when we will make something together. His work is often about the perception of time, which is on the surface quite an unstable thing, but also underpinned by simple, cyclical patterns. Over the years we’ve built up an understanding of one another’s work, and a love of making good food together… we’d probably eat very well!

Feature

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Donghoon Shin studied composition at Seoul National University with Sukhi Kang, then with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His music has been performed and commissioned by prominent orchestras, ensembles and festivals such as London Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Festival d'Automne a Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Recherche, Tong-young International Music Festival, TIMF Ensemble, Exaudi Ensemble and Plus-Minus ensemble. He is one of the winners of the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize.

Donghoon Shin's piece The Hunter's Funeral 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?

Gyorgy Ligeti, Olivier Messiaen, George Benjamin, Julian Anderson, Unsuk Chin

 

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

My first attempt at writing music was when I was 10. After hearing Schubert’s song Heidenröslein, I composed a terrible imitation and played and sang it in front of my family.

 

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

I worked as a librarian for 2 years in South Korea. It’s really a good place to compose. If there are not many kids in the library.

 

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?

It would be good if I could show my scores to Ligeti and ask for his advice. Of course, I know he is quite notorious with his tough teaching style and I’ve heard many stories from my previous teacher Unsuk Chin who studied with him. However, it would be worth showing my scores to the composer whom I admire the most. Even though he says ‘it’s all rubbish!’ as he did many times to his students.

I’d like to ask Borges how lonely he was in his late years and read something for him.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing a 10 minute orchestra piece commissioned by LSO through the Panufnik Scheme last year.

 

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

Perhaps writing an Synth Guitar Concerto for Pat Metheney or a double concerto for Synth Guitar and Synthesizer for Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays? Why? Because they were my musical hearos when I was a teenager.

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