Come along to ISM's event, The Empowered Musician, a day of discussion and discovery, with innovative musicISM eventians and leading music industry experts sharing their experiences, crucial insider knowledge and essential tips for success. It will take place on Thursday 4 October 2018 at Milton Court in London.

Speakers lined up for the event include NMC's General Manager Eleanor Wilson, Darren Henley (Arts Council England), Becky Farrell (IMG Artists UK) and Chris Carey (previously EMI and Universal Music) among others...


Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:

‘Today’s music industry and the advancements in technology, the growth of the digital space and the complexities of contracts, copyright and royalties amongst other vital components brings unique opportunities and challenges for the music profession like never before.

We invite all performers and composers working in every genre to join us on 4 October for inspiring, empowering and dynamic discussions about what it means to be a musician in 2018 and beyond: digital futures and streaming platforms, essential legal and business skills, how to make your music projects a reality, and how to stay well throughout your career.’


This event will bring together hundreds of musicians and leading practitioners from across the industry and will include live music from Fitkinwall, Beatbox Collective and Riot Jazz. You will have the opportunity to network over refreshments, lunch and post-event cocktails, all of which are included in the ticket price.


Find out more and book your ticket here.


We introduce you to the best recent releases from the contemporary classical world in our new playlist, NMC Curates. We will feature new music from the NMC Recordings catalogue and beyond, with new tracks added bi-weekly. Follow to stay updated.

NMC Curates


young compsersWe’re partnering with National Youth Choirs of Great Britain on their Young Composers Scheme, a new initiative which aims to annually identify and develop four talented composers aged 18-25 who are passionate about creating new music for vocal ensembles.
The scheme will run over one year and will offer residential courses, mentoring, workshops and performance showcases. Professional mentoring will be led by NYCGB Artistic Director Ben Parry and NMC composer Anna Meredith.
The deadline for applications is Monday 17 September 2018, for guidelines and application forms, visit the NYCGB page.

Oliver Knussen "irreplaceable mentor to his fellow composers"

We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of composer/conductor Oliver Knussen at the age of 66. Here is an extract from the obituary Colin Matthews (NMC's Executive Producer, and good friend of Olly's) has written for the Guardian.


Oliver Knussen, who has died aged 66, was a towering figure in contemporary music, as composer and conductor, teacher and artistic director. The relatively small size of his compositional output conceals music of exceptional refinement and subtlety – a few bars of Knussen may have more impact than whole movements by lesser composers.

Besides definitive interpretations of his own music, he must surely have given more first performances than any other conductor, alongside an outstanding body of recordings. He was the central focus of so many activities, and an irreplaceable mentor to his fellow composers, who constantly sought and relied on his advice and encouragement ...

But any sense of Olly (as everyone knew him) belonging to the establishment would have been an illusion. He was too big a figure to fit into any easily defined category. He had a voracious appetite for knowledge, with a special love for films – he was a Hitchcock obsessive and became friends with Jim Jarmusch – and painting: he had a fascination for obscure artists such as Joachim Patinir and Ivan Bilibin. But above all his consuming passion was for music. I can think of no composer into whom he could not offer insights, although his taste was very much for the 19th and 20th centuries. It was a love that could and did get in the way of composing: it was as if every bar that he wrote was measured against all the music that he knew, and this explains the almost painfully slow process by which his music was written, and the number of fragments left behind.

He had close friendships with most of the major 20th-century composers – Takemitsu, Hans Werner Henze, Elliott Carter (whose late works he championed), Mauricio Kagel, Harrison Birtwistle and Alexander Goehr, among many others. He even established a relationship with Karlheinz Stockhausen, and loved to tell the story of how, when he said to him “You can call me Olly”, the reply came back “You can call me Stockhausen.”

Although he leaves a wonderful legacy of performance, it is primarily as a composer that he would want to be remembered. It makes it all the more regrettable that, although he gave less time to conducting, due to the ill health which dogged his last years, this did not mean – as he said to me in hope only a couple of months ago – that he would have time to write the music that was in his head, and which would undoubtedly have taken him in new and rewarding directions.


Full obituary on the Guardian website here


Oliver Knussen

photo by David Sillitoe




Related Recordings


Related Recordings

Corrado Canonici: A roaring flame,

Related Recordings

Symphonies 2 & 3,

Related Recordings

Themes and Variations

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.



All entries in chronological order
16 October 2014
13 October 2014
3 October 2014
12 September 2014
11 September 2014
6 August 2014
22 July 2014
15 July 2014
1 July 2014
3 June 2014