Preview of 2015: Boulez at 90, CONTACT!, premières and festivals.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always relieved when the Christmas season comes to an end. The Christmas tree, such an attractive sight at the beginning of December, is, by now, dropping needles everywhere; the rich meals and endless chocolates are starting to pall; and, fun though it was, I’ve now had quite enough of the saccharine yuletide soundtrack. Bah humbug.

It’s now time to cast our clear-thinking, January eyes forward to see what 2015 will bring. Quite a bit as it turns out: Boulez’s 90th birthday celebrations, including a Total Immersion Day at the Barbican; Tansy Davies’s operatic debut Between Worlds in April; the New York Philharmonic’s CONTACT! series including new music from Italy, Nordic countries, Japan and Israel; and any number of festivals and other events. 

Here’s then is my little preview of 2015. It is not, of course, comprehensive; I will update CT’s own concert diary month by month as the year progresses, so do swing by every now and again for updates.

For now, I wish you a very Happy New Year!


10th Scanner New work & Naama Zisser Drowned in C (world premières). London Sinfonietta. Kings Place Hall One, London.

17th Hear and Now: Hans Abrahamsen. String Quartet No.1, Double Concerto (UK Premiere). BBCSSO. City Halls, Glasgow. London Sinfonietta. Kings Place Hall One, London.

21st James Dillon Stabat Mater Dolorosa (London première). London Sinfonietta. Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

26th–30th FOCUS! 2015: Nippon Gendai Ongaku, Japanese Music Since 1945. The Juilliard School, NYC.

28th Composer Portrait: Thierry Escaich. BBNOW. Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff.

31st Total Immersion Percussion, with a selection of works by various living composers. Four events in total. Barbican, London.


9th CONTACT!: New Music from Israel. Musicians from the New York Philharmonic. Lincoln Centre, NYC.

12th Concert of vocal music by James MacMilan, including two UK premières. Barbican, London.

12th–14th Birtwistle Responses: Of sweet disorder and the carefully careless

(U.S. première). BSO. Boston Symphony Hall Boston MA.

14th–15th Lachenmann’s Tableau, with Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle. Barbican, London.

25th Tokaido Road: A Journey after Hiroshige. London premiere of Nicola Lefanu’s acclaimed opera. Milton Court Theatre.

25th Composer Portrait: B Tommy Andersson. BBNOW explore a selection of B Tommy Andersson’s works, as part of his role as Composer-in-Association. Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff.

27th Georg Friedrich Haas Open Spaces (UK premiere), Mica Levi New work (world premiere). London Sinfonietta. Purcell Room, London.

27th-1st March Peninsular Arts Contemporary Music Festival.

28th Manfred Trojahn Herbstmusik/Sinfonischer Satz (UK Premiere) and Vito Žuraj Hawk-eye (horn concerto) (UK Premiere). BBCSSO. City Halls, Glasgow.


7th CONTACT!: New Music from Nordic Countries. NYPhil. Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.

8th Unsuk Chin Alice in WonderlandMultimedia staging by Netia Jones (UK Premiere). Barbican, London.

12th–14th Thomas Adès Totentanz (U.S. première). New York Philharmonic

Avery Fisher Hall.

20th Molly Joyce, world première and other works by Monk, Balter, Adams and Dennehy. Present Music. Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee.

21st Total Immersion: Boulez at 90. A number of events celebrating the work of the French composer. Barbican, London.

21st–29th Lucerne Festival at Easter

26th–28th John Adams Scheherazade.2 – Dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra (world première). Avery Fisher Hall, NYC.

28th Michael Gandolfi New work for organ and orchestra (world première). BSO. Boston Symphony Hall – Boston, MA.

Also in May (details tbc):

LONDON EAR festival of contemporary music. Currently showing the 2014 programme.


1st Composition: Wales – Culmination Concert. Composers worthy of wider exposure have the opportunity to hear their works performed by BBCNOW.

5th James MacMillan St Luke’s Passion (London première). Barbican, London.

11th-25th Between Worlds. Operatic debut from composer Tansy Davies, who collaborates with director Deborah Warner and librettist Nick Drake on this world premiere. ENO, London.

14th Jake Heggie Camille Claudel: Into the Fire for string quartet (European première). Barbican, London.

17th Esa-Peka Salonen Nyx (UK première) with NY Philharmonic. Barbican, London.

17th David Matthews Symphony No.8 (World première): BBC Philharmonic. Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

18th Music by five living composers. Musicians of the NY Philharmonic. Barbican, London.

22nd, 24th, 25th Georg Friedrich Haas String Quartet No 2

Atthis (UK premiere). Royal Opera House, London.

24th Christopher Rouse Prospero’s Rooms (UK premiere). BBCSO. Barbican, London.

24th Richard Ayres’ In the Alps. Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee. Present Music.

28th Ensemble Intercontemporain: Boulez at 90. Barbican, London.


8th–24th Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

11th CONTACT!: New Music from Italy. Musicians from the New York Philharmonic. SubCulture, NYC.

12th-23rd Vale of Glamorgan Festival

15th–25th Bath International Music Festival.

16th–25th July Peter Pan Richard Ayres. Richard Ayres and Lavinia Greenlaw’s new opera Peter Pan receives its UK première in a new production by Keith Warner.

19th Seán Doherty  New work (world première). Part of the Making Music’s Adopt a Composer programme. Barbican, London.

25th–30th Northern Chords Festival.

Also in may (details tbc)

Prague Spring International Music Festival. Currently showing the 2014 programme.

The English Music Festival 2015 programme should appear today.

St. Davids Cathedral Festival

York Spring Festival of New Music


5th CONTACT!: New Music from Japan. Musicians from the New York Philharmonic. Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, NYC.

6th Nico Muhly Sentences (world première). Nico Muhly’s new exploration of the life and ideas of Alan Turing. Barbican, London.

12th–27th Harrison Birtwistle The Corridor & The Cure (world première). Music theatre double bill. London Sinfonietta. Various Venues.

12th-28th Aldeburgh Festival

12th–28th Gregynog Festival (in France)

19th-24th St Magnus International Festival. Orkney Islands, Scotland. Programme not yet available.

Other June festivals (dates tbc):

Zeit für Neue Musik

Munich Opera Festival Nationaltheater and other venues in Munich.

Other June festivals (dates tbc):


3rd-–16th Soundscape. Maccagno, Italian Alps.

5th Jonathan Dove The Monster in the Maze: a new opera for children (UK premiere). LSO, Simon Rattle. Barbican, London.

10th–26th Buxton Festival. A marriage of opera, books and music, including some by contemporary composers.

17th-12th/9th BBC Proms. Programme not currently available, but there will be guaranteed premières aplenty. 2015 season accounted on 23rd April. Royal Albert Hall, London.

18th–30th/8th Salzburg Festival

Other July festivals (dates tbc):

Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. Various venues, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Tête à Tête Opera Festival. Described as ‘our most imaginative opera laboratory’, the festival focuses entirely on new music. 

‘Aix en Provence Festival. Some information available here. As yet, no contemporary music has been announced, but this might change.


3rd–15th High Score Festival. Contemporary music festival and classes. Pavia, Italy.

7th–31st Edinburgh International Festival. Programme not yet available, but there is usually a good selection of new music.

27th–1st/9th Presteigne Festival. Artistic innovation, musical discovery and, of course, new works in the Welsh Marches. Presteigne, Powys. 


10th–19th Oslo Contemporary Music Festival

4th–9th/10th Beethovenfest, Bonn.

Also in September (date tbc):

Warsaw International Festival of Contemporary Music. Still showing 2014 programme. Warsaw, Poland.


Dates not yet available:

Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Tres Cantos. Contemporary music festival in Madrid, Spain.

Sound. North East Scotland’s Festival of New Music. Various venues.

Wien Modern. Festival that focuses on contemporary music. Still showing 2014 programme. Vienna, Austria.


Dates not yet available:

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Lucerne Festival at the Piano.

Originally posted at Composition:Today ©Red Balloon Technology