Category: Concert News

October Festivals

If you are in Scotland today and are suffering from post referendum exhaustion you can cheer yourself up with the thought of the imminent arrival of Sound, Scotland’s festival of new music, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. The festival theme – new approaches to traditional music – will look at new ways of writing for traditional instruments and new…

September Concerts

September sees 80th birthday celebrations for Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birtwistle at the BBC Proms. On 6th Septemberthe Birmingham Contemporary Music Group under Oliver Knussen will perform Birtwistle’s Verses for Ensemble, Dinahand Nick’s Love Song and Meridian; on 8th the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Ben Gernon will give the London première of Maxwell Davies’ Concert Overture Ebb of Winter, Strathclyde Concerto No. 4 (for clarinet) and his…

Summer Festivals

The BBC Proms get going today. You can see my July picks in an earlier blog post. Looking further ahead, August concerts include the London première of Sally Beamish’s Violin Concerto on 1st; Berio’s Sinfonia on 5th; the UK première of Brett Dean’s Electric Preludes on 7th; Harrison Birtwistle’s Sonance Severance and Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra on 10th; Steve Reich’s Desert Music and It’s Gonna Rain on 13th; the world première of Benedict Mason’s Meld on 16th;…

July Festivals

You have to work a little to find the contemporary music amongst the long list of composers represented at the 2014 BBC Proms (18th July – 13th September). Sadly, there is no First Night of the Proms première this year, the organisers instead opting for a complete performance of Elgar’s The Kingdom. July does, however, see a number of interesting concerts, including the posthumous world…

Three June Festivals

Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic have big plans for their inaugural contemporary music festival, which has just got underway in New York: “We want the NY PHIL BIENNIAL to galvanize the whole city around an immersive contemporary music experience — to take a snapshot of where music is today,” says Gilbert. “We have followed the lead of the great visual…

May Concert Diary

Harrison Birtwistle turns 80 in July, with birthday concerts starting in earnest this month. One of the best places to enjoy the celebrations is at the Barbican, London.  There will be a concert performance of the opera Gawain on 16th May; the monumental Earth Dances, a work that has been compared to Le Sacre du Printemps, on 20th; two concerts of chamber music and songs, including the…

April Concert Highlights

It’s been a busy couple of weeks: leaving one of my jobs, moving house and preparing to leave the country. I shall be spending a month in the lovely city of Basel, continuing my research into French Composer Henri Dutilleux at the Paul Sacher Foundation. I hope my blog posts next month might reflect some of this local colour. My…

March Concert Diary

The London Ear Festival of Contemporary Music, run by composers Gwyn Pritchard and Andrea Cavallari, is now in its second year. Over four days, from 27th–30th March, there will be nine concerts that include a wide spectrum of contemporary music from twenty countries: fifty-one works, three festival commissions, eight world and several UK premieres. Well known composers include Xenakis, Kagel, Harvey,…

February Concert Diary

Peter Maxwell Davies described in a recent BBC interview how close he came to being struck with ‘the curse of the ninth’, having being diagnosed with leukemia that, without treatment, would have left him with just weeks to live, almost certainly preventing him completing his Tenth Symphony. As a result, and with extraordinary physical courage, the piece was largely written in hospital…

Happy New Year!

Christmas, for me, has been a time for reflection, for planning ahead and hatching plans for the year to come: compose more, travel more, get on with a planned writing project. New Year is the time, apparently, to turn these thoughts into resolutions. I don’t think composers need New Year resolutions, however: they need lifelong resolution. To continue to do…