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:

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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

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




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Corrado Canonici: A roaring flame,

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Symphonies 2 & 3,

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Themes and Variations



All entries in chronological order
1 July 2014
3 June 2014
12 May 2014
24 April 2014
14 April 2014
19 February 2014
14 January 2014
7 January 2014
6 January 2014
9 December 2013