Preview of 2016

The Shadows of Time, Le temps l’horlogeMystère de l’instant. Henri Dutillleux was a composer always interested in the concept of time. And, as I write this on a cloudy day in Nice, I can scarcely believe that another year has past. It is especially appropriate to find my mind turning to the composer whose music has much occupied me over the last few years, since 2016 – 22nd January to be precise – marks 100 years since his birth. There are a number of events in 2016 celebrating this important anniversary, including discovery days in February (at Royal College Music) and April (at the Barbican). Elsewhere you will find his name cropping up with much greater regularity in concert programmes. 

2016 will also see the 80th birthday of Steve Reich, the 100th birthday of Alberto Ginastera and Milton Babbitt, the 150th of Erik Satie and Ferruccio Busoni. You can also expect to hear more of their music this year. In the meantime, I offer you my picks of 2016. Entirely subjective and not comprehensive, they nevertheless give a snapshot of some of the treats in store for us. 

I also wish all readers and especially CT members a happy, peaceful and, above all, musical New Year!


9th UK premieres of: Joan Magrané Figuera’s …secreta desolación…, Salvatore Sciarrino’s Libro notturno delle voci for flute and orchestra and Jay Schwartz’s Delta – Music for Orchestra IV. BBCSSO, City Halls, Glasgow. 

8th–9th Pierre Henry Continuo ou vision d’un futur. Philharmonie de Paris, Paris.

10th Boston Symphony Chamber Players – Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Henri Dutilleux’s Birth. New England Conservatory Jordan Hall, Boston. 

12th Composers’ Workshop: Writing for Voices with Judith Weir and the BBC Singers.

13th Simon Rattle conducts Dutilleux’s L’arbre des songes and Métaboles. LSO, Barbican, London.

14th–16th Magnus Lindberg, Violin Concerto No.2 (US Premiere). NYP, New York, David Geffen Hall.

15th Desmond Clarke Viola Concerto (world premiere). Barbican, London.

16th Francesca Verunelli Secondo Quartetto (world premiere). Quatuor Zaïde, Philharmonie de Paris, Paris. 

22nd–23rd OPUS2016 Interactive Open Workshops. Barbican, London.


11th Dutilleux Day. The RCM presents a day of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Henri Dutilleux. 

11th&12th Samantha Fernando New Work in four movements (world premiere). London Sinfonietta, Southwark Playhouse London.

12th Louis Andriessen: La Commedia (UK premiere). BBCSO, Barbican, London.

13th Total Immersion: The Music of Louis Andriessen. A day of events exploring the music of the composer. Barbican, London.

21st Discovering Music 2: Anthony Payne. BBCSSO, City Halls, Glasgow.

24th Composer Portrait: Huw Watkins. BBCNOW, BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff.

24th&25th  Michel van der Aa The Book of Disquiet (UK premiere). London Sinfonietta, The Coronet Theatre, London.

25th Composition: Wales – Open Workshop. Hear the latest in composition in Wales, as composers worthy of wider exposure have the opportunity to hear their works performed by the BBCNOW.

26th–28th Peninsular Arts Contemporary Music Festival.

27th Hear and Now – Beamish/Payne/MacMillan/McCabe, including Scottish and UK premieres. BBCSSO, City Halls, Glasgow.


4th Contemporary Music For All. Programme of new music, including Hannah Kendall New Work (world premiere), London Sinfonietta, Kings Place, London. 

9th Lunatree: Arvo Pärt in context. Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. 

9th–13th LONDON EAR festival of contemporary music.

9th&16th London Symphony Orchestra / LSO Composer Focus: Thomas Adès. Barbican, London.

10th Enno Poppe Speicher (UK premiere). London Sinfonietta, The Coronet Theatre, London.

12th–20th Lucerne Festival at Easter.

13th Darren Bloom Dr Glaser’s Experiment (world premiere). LSO, Barbican, London. 

18th Gunther Schuller Dreamscape (UK premiere), George Benjamin Dream of the Song (UK premiere). BBCSO, Barbican, London. 

22nd John Williams Soundings (UK premiere), Andrew Norman New work (UK premiere). Los Angeles Philharmonic, Barbican.

23rd Gautier Capuçon and friends in a tribute to Henri Dutilleux. Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. 


3rd Music by Fausto Romitelli and new works made in collaboration with artists. London Sinfonietta, The Coronet Theatre, London. 

15th Concert Cursus: The composers from the Cursus 1 program – composition and computer music training taught at IRCAM – present their sketches for solo instrument and electronics at the close of the academic year. Centre Pompidou, Paris. 

23rd Shakespeare 400, with world premieres from Chiu-Yu Chou, Tom Coult, Nina Whiteman, Aaron Parker, Daniel Kidane. BBC Philharmonic, The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

27th&28th Composition: Wales. Open workshops and culmination concert. Hear the latest in composition in Wales, as composers worthy of wider exposure have the opportunity to hear their works performed by the BBCNOW.

27th–30th Franck Krawczyk Après (world premiere). NYP, New York, David Geffen Hall.

30th BBC SO Total Immersion: Henri Dutilleux. Several events exploring the music of the composer. Barbican, London. 


4th–10th Vale of Glamorgan Festival 

12th–4th June Prague Spring International Music Festival.

13th–29th Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

21st Joseph Phibbs new work (world premiere). BBCSO, Barbican, London.

23rd JACK Quartet Performs world and New York premieres by Cenk Ergün, Derek Bermel and Marc Sabat. 92nd Street Y, New York.

24th&31st World Premieres of more than 30 short works for solo violin. New York, National Sawdust.

25th Richard Dubugnon Caprice pour orchestre II. Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonie de Paris, Paris. 

27th–5th June St. Davids Cathedral Festival.

Also in May (details tbc)

Bath International Music Festival.

Northern Chords Festival.

The English Music Festival

York Spring Festival of New Music


1st DUETS IN A FRAME, including premieres from Francisco Coll, Tom Coult, Tansy Davies and Harrison Birtwistle. London Sinfonietta, St John’s Smith Square, London.

3rd Colin Jacobsen BTT (world premiere), Tyondai Braxton Arp Rec 1 (New York Premiere). National Sawdust, New York. 

5th World and New York premieres from Jennifer Higdon, Gabriel Kahane, Nico Muhly, Hannah Lash, Ashley Fure. Interlochen Orchestra, David Geffen Hall, New York. 

7th John Pickard Symphony No. 5 (world premiere). BBNOW, BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff.

10th-26th Aldeburgh Festival

11th Esa-Pekka Salonen New Work (world premiere), Per Nørgård Symphony No. 8 (U.S. premiere). NYP, David Geffen Hall, New York.

17th–26th St Magnus International Festival.

19th LSO Soundhub Showcase. Featuring new music by Yasmeen Ahmed, Ben Gaunt, Oliver Leith and Lee Westwood, performed by chamber ensembles from the LSO. Barbican, London.

26th Sir Peter Maxwell Davies The Hogboon (world premiere), LSO, Barbican. 

Other June festivals (dates tbc):

Munich Opera Festival Nationaltheater and other venues in Munich.


1st-–14th Soundscape. Maccagno, Italian Alps.

8th–24th Buxton Festival. A marriage of opera, books and music, including some by contemporary composers. Buxton, Derbyshire.

15th-10th BBC Proms. Programme not currently available, but there will be guaranteed premières aplenty. Royal Albert Hall, London.

22nd–31st August Salzburg Festival. Salzburg, Austria.

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. ‘Aix en Provence, France. 


1st–13th High Score Festival. Contemporary music festival and classes. Pavia, Italy.

5th–29th Edinburgh International Festival. Programme not yet available, but there is usually a good selection of new music.

25th–30th Presteigne Festival. Artistic innovation, musical discovery and, of course, new works in the Welsh Marches. Presteigne, Powys. 


8th–17th Oslo Contemporary Music Festival

Also in September (date tbc):

Beethovenfest, Bonn.

Warsaw International Festival of Contemporary Music. Not clear if there will be a festival in 2016.


22nd CONNECT. Christian Mason In the Midst of the Sonorous Islands (UK premiere)

Huang Ruo The Sonic Great Wall (UK premiere). London Sinfonietta, London.

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 2015 programme. Vienna, Austria.


Dates not yet available:

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Lucerne Festival at the Piano.


Date not yet available:

Spitalfields Winter Festival.

Originally posted at Composition:Today ©Red Balloon Technology