Nicolls, Sarah


Sarah Nicolls is a UK-based experimental pianist, at the forefront of innovations in piano performance.  She works with interactive technologies, such as body sensors and motion capture to augment the acoustic piano, bringing it into the realm of electronic music with visceral live performances.  Sarah also invented the ‘Inside-out Piano’, a sculptural feast of an instrument designed to be played inside and out.  She has recorded her own music on it and has been funded through the Athena Swan scheme to have the second prototype built by Pierre Malbos.  

In the rest of her concert career, Sarah is a frequent soloist with the London Sinfonietta, giving world premieres such as Larry Goves’ piano concerto Things that are blue... and Richard Barrett’s Mesoptamia.  She is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and features on several CDs.

Sarah is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University and has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Brunel Research Initiative and Enterprise Fund (BRIEF), the Athena Swan award and Arts Council England.  She writes about live electronics and compositional collaborations and has been published in the Leonardo Music Journal (LMJ20).  Artistic Director of the BEAM Festival, Sarah was also the Music Chair for NIME 2014, London.

Coates, Oliver


Oliver Coates is a cellist, composer and producer based in London. In the past year he has performed solo shows in China, Russia, Brazil, Egypt and Australia, and made his New York debut at Le Poisson Rouge. He was the first cellist to be awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award, in 2011, following previous winners including Gustavo Dudamel and Colin Currie, and is an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre. He made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2009 playing Britten, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven with Danny Driver, and has performed in a cello-piano recital partnership with Driver for 16 years. In the last few seasons, he has performed concertos with Britten Sinfonia, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Neojiba Youth Orchestra of Bahia in Brazil, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra and London Contemporary Orchestra. He has played as principal cello with Aurora Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Contemporary Orchestra, and currently devotes all of his time to solo and chamber music, and to writing all kinds of music.

He has released records on Prah Recordings and Slip, and collaborates with Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead (on The Master and There Will Be Blood), Mica Levi (on Under the Skin) and the visual artist Lawrence Lek (on the award-winning video piece Unreal Estate). With Lek, he presented the world premiere of a new work, QE3, at the Glasgow International festival in April. His new LP, Upstepping, came out on Prah in May 2016, he programmed the Southbank Centre’s DEEP∞MINIMALISM festival and released a collaborative record with Mica Levi on Slip/Warp.

His playing has been described as “world class” (The Guardian), “virtuosity in the extreme” (Seen & Heard), “remarkable ... reminiscent of a young Tortelier or Rostropovich” (broadcaster Henry Kelly) and “mind-blowing ... masterly in every way” (composer Anthony Gilbert).

Image Credit: 
Phil Sharp

London Sinfonietta

London Sinfonietta

The London Sinfonietta's mission is to place the best contemporary classical music at the heart of today's culture; engaging and challenging the public through inspiring performances of the highest standard, and taking risks to develop new work and talent.

The ensemble is Resident Orchestra at Southbank Centre with headquarters at Kings Place, and continues to take the best contemporary music to venues and festivals across the UK and worldwide with a busy touring schedule. Since its inaugural concert in 1968 - giving the world premiere of Sir John Tavener's The Whale - the London Sinfonietta's commitment to making new music has seen it commission over 300 works, and premiere many hundreds more.
The core of the London Sinfonietta is 18 Principal Players, representing some of the best solo and ensemble musicians in the world. The ensemble has just launched its Emerging Artists Programme, which will give professional musicians at the start of promising and brilliant careers the opportunity to work alongside those Principal Players on stage across the season.

The London Sinfonietta's recordings present a catalogue of 20th-century classics, on numerous prestigious labels as well as the ensemble's own London Sinfonietta Label. Most recently, a performance of Philip Cashian's Piano Concerto was released on NMC.

Brabbins, Martyn

Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music 2005-2007, he was Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1994-2005. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, a position which started in September 2009. After studying composition in London and then conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad, his career was launched when he won first prize at the 1988 Leeds Conductors' Competition. Since then Brabbins has regularly conducted all the major UK orchestras and is much sought-after in Europe, notably in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia.   
Brabbins’ symphonic engagements have included appearances at London's  South Bank in subscription with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, his Tokyo debut, with the Tokyo Metropolitan (where he returns in 2011); and visits to the Netherlands Radio Chamber in the prestigious Matinee series, the Residentie Orkest, Salzburg Mozarteumorchester and Lahti Symphony.  He is a regular guest with the City of Birmingham Symphony, Halle and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, and appears several times each season with the BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony orchestras in subscription and at the BBC Proms.

de Ridder, Andre

de Ridder
André de Ridder is a German conductor of classical music mainly working in Great Britain. De Ridder studied conducting with Leopold Hager at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna and with Sir Colin Davis at the Royal Academy of Music in London. The conductor is equally engaged in different genres of music, be it pop, electronic music or opera, ancient music or contemporary compositions. He performs regularly at leading festivals such as the BBC Promenade Concerts or the Edinburgh International Festival, the Holland Festival, the Venice Biennale, the Manchester International Festival or at the Sydney Festival.

Sound Intermedia

Sound Intermedia

Sound Intermedia - alias Ian Dearden and David Sheppard - is dedicated to realising visionary new art works through live performance and cutting-edge technology. Their trail-blazing initiatives and artistic collaborations continually push past the accepted boundaries of composition, sound design, live sound, music technology and interactive multimedia.

Internationally respected both as composers and performers, they collaborate with many of the world's most influential artists and organizations.


Larry Goves - Just stuff people do

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Sarah Nicolls piano
Oliver Coates cello
London Sinfonietta
Martyn Brabbins conductor
André de Ridder conductor
Sound Intermedia electronics


Literary references are at the heart of Larry Goves's music: written for regular collaborator Sarah Nicolls and scored for solo piano, electric piano, prepared piano, large ensemble, electronic sounds and live processing, Goves explains that Things that are blue... is "my notion of a romantic piano concerto seen through the twisted lens of Paul Auster’s surreal gumshoe landscape"; while the terminus wreck for solo cello is a a response to Paul Celan's poetry. Trends in personal relationships, performed by London Sinfonietta under Martyn Brabbins, is a response to modern life, relationships and internet dating.


'The ever-skilful Oliver Coates travels to wild sonic territories in The Terminus Wreck for solo cello, inspired by Paul Celan's poetry. With André de Ridder, the versatile pianist Sarah Nicolls and Sound Intermedia too, Goves has a fine line-up of musical collaborators.This is repertoire to explore, which yields its secrets with each fresh hearing' The Observer

Things that are… an eventful and gripping work, consummately well realised by Sarah Nicolls […] bolsters Goves’s standing on the new music scene – and in no small measure.’ Gramophone

‘A kaleidoscopic use of instrumental colour is the foundation of Larry Goves’ surprising and beautifully written music…Snake-hipped, microtonal melodies writhe, sigh and occasionally pump away rhythmically, much as one might expect from a piece with an opening movement entitled Threesome.’ Sinfinimusic

‘The disc’s most substantial work, Things that are blue, things that are white and things that are black takes as its starting point ‘a romantic piano concerto seen through the twisted lens of Paul Auster’…The work is one of the remarkable colour, energy and arresting strangeness, evoking the Escher-like crypticism of Auster’s timelines and the refined noir of the author’s urban landscapes, particularly through the dizzying interaction between live players and recorded sound.’ Tempo 69



      Supported by the RVW Trust




    This project has been made possible with the support of London Sinfonietta.


With thanks to the trusts, foundations and individuals who have invested in NMC’s Debut Discs series:
The Astor Foundation
The Boltini Trust
The John S Cohen Trust
The Fenton Arts Trust
Nicholas and Judith Goodison
Mercers' Charitable Foundation
The Stanley Picker Charitable Trust
The Radcliffe Trust
The Richard Thomas Foundation
RVW Trust
Jennifer Roslyn Wingate
& the individuals who donated through The Big Give Christmas Challenge December 2011


Things that are blue… was recorded live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London on 3 June 2010; Trends in personal relationships was recorded live at the same venue on 2 December 2012.

Recorded, produced and edited by IAN DEARDEN & DAVID SHEPPARD for Sound Intermedia

the terminus wreck was recorded at St Michael’s Church, Highgate, London on 14 January 2014.

DAVID LEFEBER Recording Engineer/ Producer


COLIN MATTHEWS Executive Producer for NMC

Catalogue number:
NMC D198
Release Date:
19 May 2014