Eloisa-Fleur Thom is a prize-winning violinist, director and curator. Highlights of her career so far have included performing J.S Bach's Concerto for two violins with the celebrated violinist Maxim Vengerov, and chamber music with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (LCO soloists). In the past few years Eloisa-Fleur has given performances at the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, the Ashmolean Museum's 'Stradivarius' exhibition, Leeds International Concert Series, St George’s Bristol, been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and collaborated with Rambert Dance Company & composer Kate Whitley. Eloisa-Fleur is the Artistic Director and Leader of 12 ensemble, a virtuosic un-conducted string orchestra of a dozen young elite musicians who are currently taking the London music scene by storm. They recently performed at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2016 alongside Max Richter. Eloisa-Fleur held a 2015/16 creative residency at Heima in Seydisfjordur, Iceland.
Richard Baker is a leading figure on the British contemporary music scene as one of the foremost composer-conductors of his generation. He studied composition in the Netherlands with Louis Andriessen and in London with John Woolrich, and first drew significant attention with two early works – a trio, Los Rábanos (1998), performed and broadcast widely by the Composers Ensemble, and the remarkable Learning to Fly (1999), a basset clarinet concerto premiered by the London Sinfonietta and Timothy Lines.
The position of New Music Fellow at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge (2001–3) inaugurated an important strand of work as a concert curator and programme adviser as well as supporting Richard's progress as a composer. Subsequent years yielded chamber music, a brace of short choral pieces and a number of songs and song cycles – notably Slow passage, low prospect (2004), commissioned by the Aldeburgh Festival for Christopher Purves and Andrew West, and Written on a train (2006) for Christianne Stotijn and a small ensemble led by Christian Tetzlaff.
London Contemporary Orchestra is a leading global orchestral group focused on playing, commissioning and developing new music and artistic output. Alongside working with well-known artists, LCO focus on developing a diverse next generation of players, conductors and composers by creating opportunities for them to work at the highest professional level.
Formed in 2008 by co-artistic Directors Robert Ames and Hugh Brunt, the LCO has collaborated with a wide array of musicians, artists, creative figures, platforms and venues such as: Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Jed Kurzel, Jonny Greenwood, Steve Reich, Justice, Terry Riley, Thom Yorke, Mica Levi, Actress, Beck, William Basinski, Richard Reid Parry, Goldfrapp, James Lavelle, Secret Cinema, Vivienne Westwood, Nike, Bill Morrison, Conrad Shawcross, Ron Arad, Hannah Perry, NTS, Boiler Room, DAZED, Resident Advisor, Meltdown Festival, The Barbican, Southbank Centre, The Roundhouse, Printworks, Tate Modern, BBC Proms etc.
LCO have a strong recording and performance record for film, television and music, having recorded soundtracks such as The Master, Alien: Covenant, Macbeth, Phantom Thread, Assassins’ Creed, You Were Never Really Here, McMafia, Suspiria, American Animals etc. performed live Moonlight, There Will be Blood and Under the Skin and featured heavily (strings and choir) on Radiohead’s 2016 “A Moon Shaped Pool”.
Upcoming projects include: A world tour of Phantom Thread performed live, a development collaboration with Erased Tapes label, a new organ concerto with Philip Glass, a studio album with Actress, a new collaboration with Hannah Perry and Mica Levi, a new live show of Become Ocean developed with Universal Assembly Unit etc.
The LCO is a winner of the RPS “best ensemble” award, the UK’s highest accolade for an orchestral group.
Robert Ames is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians questioning the conventions and rituals surrounding classical music. He is Co-Artistic Director and Conductor of the London Contemporary Orchestra and is also well known as an innovative programme curator. Robert has led the LCO in sell out concerts at The Printworks and Oval Space in East London, the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Centre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and BBC Proms at the Tate Modern and Royal Albert Hall.
Recent and upcoming conducting engagements include the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow New Music Ensemble, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Aarhaus Symphony Orchestra, Kazakhstan State Symphony, Belarusian State Symphony, Symphony Orchestra of India, Wordless Symphony Orchestra, City Of London Sinfonietta, London Electronic Orchestra and The Manchester Camerata.
Robert has worked closely with many leading figures in new music, including Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Bryce Dessner, Mica Levi, Nico Mulhy, Richard Reed Parry, Terry Riley, Anna Meredith and Steve Reich. He is also passionate about championing music from the leading composers of his own generation, premiering works by Shiva Feshareki, Claire M Singer, Emilie Levenaise Farroush, Catherine Lamb and Edmund Finnis amongst others. He has also collaborated with a variety of artists in other fields including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, architect-designer Ron Arad and Sculptor Conrad Shawcross. Recent forays and collaborations have also taken him into the world of pop working with artists such Actress, DJ Shadow, Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke, Jamie XX and Frank Ocean.
Possessing a rare combination of passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has been heralded “Iceland’s Glenn Gould” by the New York Times (Anthony Tommasini, August 2017). Before lighting up the international scene in 2016, Ólafsson won all the major prizes in his native country, including four Musician of the Year prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards, and the Icelandic Optimism Prize.
Benjamin Beilman has won praise both for his passionate performances and deep rich tone which the Washington Post called “mightily impressive,” and The New York Times described as “muscular with a glint of violence.” The Times has also praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence,” and the Strad described his playing as “pure poetry.” In a 2018 feature in The Boston Globe, David Weininger remarked that Beilman’s “playing already has its own sure balance of technical command, intensity, and interpretive finesse.”
Beilman began playing violin at the age of five and went on to study with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy.
He plays the “Engleman” Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Britten Sinfonia is an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London, has residencies across the east of England in Norwich, Cambridge (where it is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the University) and Saffron Walden, where the orchestra becomes Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall in Autumn 2016. The orchestra also performs a chamber music series at Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Proms. The orchestra’s growing international profile includes regular touring to North and South America and Europe. The orchestra made its debut in China in May 2016 with a three-concert residency in Shanghai, as well as performances in Beijing and Wuhan.
Founded in 1992, the orchestra is inspired by the ethos of Benjamin Britten through world-class performances, illuminating and distinctive programmes where old meets new, and a deep commitment to bringing outstanding music to both the world’s finest concert halls and the local community. Britten Sinfonia is a BBC Radio 3 broadcast partner and regularly records for Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion.
- 01. The Air, Turning9'02"
- 02. Elsewhere7'55"
- 03. Parallel Colour: I1'57"
- 04. Parallel Colour: II1'49"
- 05. Parallel Colour: III1'50"
- 06. Parallel Colour: IV4'15"
- 07. Parallel Colour: V1'42"
- 08. Parallel Colour: VI2'42"
- 09. Parallel Colour: VII1'54"
- 10. Between Rain12'24"
- 11. Four Duets: I1'57"
- 12. Four Duets: II2'21"
- 13. Four Duets: III2'36"
- 14. Four Duets: IV2'20"
- 15. Shades Lengthen: I1'50"
- 16. Shades Lengthen: II4'43"
- 17. Shades Lengthen: III5'04"
- 18. Shades Lengthen: IV3'33"
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Ilan Volkov conductor
Eloisa-Fleur Thom violin
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Richard Baker conductor
London Contemporary Orchestra
Robert Ames conductor
Mark Simpson clarinet
Víkingur Ólafsson piano
Benjamin Beilman violin
Andrew Gourlay conductor
Edmund Finnis is a ‘hugely gifted composer’ (Sunday Telegraph) and his multifaceted output ranges from intimate music for soloists and duets to immersive electronic pieces, music for film, ensemble and choral music, and works for large orchestra. This album demonstrates the breadth of Finnis' music to date with world-class ensembles and soloists including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, BCMG, London Contemporary Orchestra, Víkingur Ólafsson and Mark Simpson, along with conductors who have demonstrated a deep understanding of his music: Ilan Volkov, Richard Baker, Robert Ames and Andrew Gourlay.
Finnis' compositions are beautiful and iridescent, and explore in detail the potential embodied in each of the instruments he writes for. Two examples of this are the title track The Air, Turning which draws on the idea that music is just vibrating air and the sensation of sound moving around us and Elsewhere, written for violin with reverb, that delicately spins melodic shapes like spiderwebs, with light bowing and whispy flautando effects.
This is a stunning release from a young composer with a unique and compelling soundworld.
With special thanks to Christoph and Marion Trestler, The RVW Trust, The Hinrichsen Foundation and the Royal Academy of Music for their support of this recording.
Thank you to the Trusts, Foundations and individuals who have invested in NMC’s Debut Discs series:
Stanley Picker Trust
The Steel Charitable Trust
James and Anne Rushton
Parallel Colour was commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, with financial assistance from the following individuals through BCMG’s Sound Investment Scheme:
Richard Bratby & Annette Rubery
Alan S Carr
Alan B Cook
Gareth Llyr Evans
Amanda Cadman and Peter T Marsh
Kim and Kay Prior
Maureen and William Scott
Michael and Sandra Squires
Owen G Watkins
Doreen and Harry Wright
The Air, Turning was commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Elsewhere was commissioned by Daniel Pioro. Between Rain was commissioned by the London Contemporary Orchestra. The first performance was given by the London Contemporary Orchestra, conducted by Hugh Brunt, at the Roundhouse, on 23 August 2014. Four Duets was commissioned by Mark Simpson with generous financial assistance from the Fidelio Charitable Trust. Shades Lengthen was commissioned by London Music Masters, supported by The Boltini Trust.
Shades Lengthen, Between Rain and Elsewhere were recorded at All Saints Church, East Finchley, London on 14-15 April 2018. Parallel Colour was recorded at CBSO Centre, Birmingham on 6 May 2018.
DAVID LEFEBER Recording Engineer & Producer
Four Duets was recorded by the BBC at BBC Maida Vale Studios, Studio 2, London on 28 May 2013.
PHILIP BURWELL Recording Engineer
JANET TUPPEN Producer
The Air, Turning was recorded by the BBC at City Halls, Glasgow on 23 February 2017.
HYWEL JONES Recording Engineer
DOUGLAS TEMPLETON Producer