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, Holliger, Jarrell, Hosokawa, Oehring and Finnissy, but the festival also offers an opportunity to hear numerous works by less familiar names, some of them younger or emerging composers, others well known in their home countries but less so in the UK. Tickets are priced from £40 for a full festival pass to £5 for some individual events.
On 14th March Total Immersion takes on the music of Villa-Lobos. There are two cinema features, one of which has already sold out, and three concerts. Of the latter, there is a chamber music recital given by students at the Guildhall School of Music that includes his playful work for flute and cello Assobio a Jato (‘The Jet Whistle’) ; a choral concert with the BBC Singers that includes some of the works inspired by Brazilian folk traditions, Latin sacred music composed for the Catholic liturgy and other devotional texts; and a final concert with the BBCSO and Chorus with its Parisian storm-inducing Chôros 10 as its centerpiece.
For those looking for something rather more recently written, on 1st March there are UK premières of Andy Scott’s Jumbo and Jeffery Wilson’s Three Haiku; on 9th March Steve Mackey’s One Red Rose at Wigmore Hall; Hoard Shore’s Cello Concerto Mythic Gardens at the Watford Colosseum on 11th; a series of works by Pelle Gudmundsun-Holmgreen played by the London Sinfonietta on 12th; works by Steen-Anderson, Christensen, Glerup and Worssae also on 12th; a new dramatic work, Anon, by Errollyn Wallen being toured from 14th March by WNO; and Fabian Panisello’s Cuadernos para Orchestra at BBC Maida Vale on 21st. Also worth attending is the Composition: Wales day at BBC Hoddinot Hall, Cardiff, which explores the works of emerging composers born or working in the principality.
In France Hector Parra’s new stage work Te Craindre en Ton Absence written in collaboration with Marie NDiaye receives its world première at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris on 4th March with subsequent performances on 5th, 7th and 8th. There are several world premières at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam: an, as yet, unnamed work by Kris Defoort on 13th; a new St. Luke Passion by James Macmillan on 15th.; and works by Willem Jeths and Sander Germanus on 24th. In the United States, finally, the world première of Peri Mauer’s At Home With Allen Ginsberg, Five Songs for Baritone and Piano takes place in NYC on 6th March; and string quartet ETHEL plays a series of new and recently written works by Vijay Iyer, Marcelo Zarvos, Nico Muhly and Son Lux at Trinity Wall Street on 13th.
For a day-by-day roundup of all March events, check out the CT Concert Diary.