© Nick Seluk theawkwardyeti.com
Even after my roundup of a tumultuous year, 2016 had more bad news in store. December saw the deaths of George Michael and actress Carrie Fisher and a tragic Russian plane crash that included the loss of 62 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble.
As in 2016, 2017 promises to be a year of political change. In the US Donald Trump will take up his duties as President on January 20th, the Brexit negotiations will begin and there will be a round of crucial elections in Europe.
However we feel about events in the world, however, one thing is certain: just as in 2016, the arts scene will remain as vibrant as ever. There is much to look forward to, as my little preview, below, shows. There are the birthday celebrations of two of minimalism’s founding fathers, John Adams and Philip Glass; the usual round of festivals; and some notable premieres, including major new commissions from Harrison Birtwistle, Wolfgang Rihm, Simon Holt, Ryan Wigglesworth and Brett Dean.
In a world that seems ever more insecure, we forget that, in many cases, things continue to get better. Certainly I think it is fair to say that opportunities for artists have never been more prevalent.
I wish you and all C:T members a happy, peaceful and musically productive New Year!
5th–7th HK Gruber, Piano Concerto (world premiere). New York Philharmonic, David Geffen Hall, NYC.
11th Friday Night is Music Night: John Williams’s 85th Birthday. Watford Colosseum, Watford.
14th Hear and Now: Birtwistle’s The Last Supper. City Halls, Glasgow.
14–15th Ligeti, Le grand macabre Rattle/Sellars/London Symphony Orchestra (semi-staged performance), Barbican, London.
20th Philip Cashian, The Book of Ingenious Devices (BBC commission, world premiere). Barbican, London.
28th BBC Total Immersion Day: Philip Glass at 80. Barbican, London.
30th 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.
1st Thomas Adès, In Seven Days. Royal Festival Hall, London.
1st Harrison Birtwistle, Earth Dances (French premiere). Philharmonie de Paris.
3rd Michael Zev Gordon, Violin Concerto (BBC commission, world premiere). Barbican, London.
4th Composing in America, Ives, Cage, Carter and Feldman. BCMG, St. David’s Hall, Cardiff.
10th–19th Festival Présences. Paris, France.
10th Wolfgang Rihm, Gruß-Moment 2 – in memoriam Pierre Boulez (world premiere). Berlin Philharmonic, Philharmonie, Berlin.
24th–26th Peninsular Arts Contemporary Music Festival, Voice 2.0.
15th Mark-Anthony Turnage, Håkan (UK premiere). LSO, Barbican, London.
25th Timo Andres, Steady Hand for two pianos and orchestra (world premiere), part of John Adams at 70: Grand Pianola Music, Barbican, London.
27th–14th March Ryan Wigglesworth, The Winter’s Tale (opera world premiere). ENO, London.
2nd Huang Ruo, New Work (world premiere). Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
3rd Helen Grime, Piano Concerto (world premiere). Wigmore Hall, London.
3rd Composition: Wales. Culmination concert.
5th Helen Grime, Piano Concerto. CBSO Centre, Birmingham.
19th New London Children’s Choir 25th Anniversary Concert. Multiple premieres. Barbican, London.
25th Turning Points: Works by Ligeti. London Sinfonietta, Kings Place, London.
30th Afternoon Performance: MacMillan Conducts MacMillan. City Halls, Glasgow.
30th Genesis, seven new works to mark the fortieth anniversary of Ensemble Intercontemporain. Philharmonie de Paris.
Also in March (details not available):
LONDON EAR festival of contemporary music.
1st–9th Lucerne Festival at Easter.
19th Brian Elias, Oboe Quintet (world premiere). Britten Sinfonia, Wigmore Hall.
20th Panufnik Composers Scheme Workshop. LSO St Luke’s, London.
22nd Gavin Higgins, Dark Arteries, National Youth Brass Band, Barbican, London
24th Thomas Adès, The Exterminating Angel. ROH, London.
25th John Adams conducts Doctor Atomic. Barbican, London.
27th Georg Friedrich Haas, in vain. London Sinfonietta, Royal Festival Hall, London.
5th Simon Holt, Surcos (world premiere). Berlin Philharmonic, Philharmonie, Berlin.
6th BBC Total Immersion Day: Edgard Varèse. Barbican, London.
11th Ryan Wigglesworth, New Work Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
12th–28th Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
19th–26th Vale of Glamorgan Festival
22nd David Fulmer, New Work (world premiere), Sam Pluta binary/momentary: flow state/joy state ii (world premiere). New York Philharmonic, National Sawdust, NYC.
26th–4th June St. Davids Cathedral Festival.
28th Philipp Maintz, New Work. Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Philharmonie, Berlin.
Also in May (details tbc)
Prague Spring International Music Festival.
Bath International Music Festival.
York Spring Festival of New Music.
2nd Nordic Nights. Eivind Buene, New Work (2016) (world premiere); Rolf Wallin, New Work (2016) (world premiere). London Sinfonietta, Håkon’s Hall, Bergen, Norway.
5th Harrison Birtwistle, Deep Time. Staatskapelle Berlin, Philharmonie, Berlin.
9th–17th Charlie Parker, YARDBIRD (opera, European premiere). ENO, London.
9th–25th Aldeburgh Festival.
11th–6th Brett Dean, Hamlet (opera, world premiere). Glyndebourne, UK.
25th-–8th July Soundscape. Maccagno, Italian Alps.
Other June festivals (dates tbc):
Munich Opera Festival Nationaltheater and other venues in Munich.
St Magnus International Festival.
2nd&9th Philip Venables, Illusions. Hull and London, UK.
7th ALIVE Choral music by Eric Whitacre and Contemporaries. Milton Court Concert Hall, London.
7th–23rd Buxton Festival. A marriage of opera, books and music, including some by contemporary composers. Buxton, Derbyshire.
14th-9th September BBC Proms. Programme not currently available, but there will be premières aplenty. Royal Albert Hall, London.
21st–30st August Salzburg Festival. Salzburg, Austria.
22nd Kit Armstrong, Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. Konzerthausorchester, Berlin.
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.
4th–28th Edinburgh International Festival. Programme not yet available, but there is usually a good selection of new music.
24th–29th Presteigne Festival. Artistic innovation, musical discovery and, of course, new works in the Welsh Marches. Presteigne, Powys.
Other August festivals (dates tbc):
High Score Festival. Contemporary music festival and classes. Pavia, Italy.
Also in September (date tbc):
Oslo Contemporary Music Festival.
Warsaw International Festival of Contemporary Music. Not clear if there will be a festival in 2016.
Dates not yet available:
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.
18th–26th Lucerne Festival at the Piano.
Dates not yet available:
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Date not yet available: