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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2012 ISSUE 60 £4.50

MUSO END OF TRANSMISSION? The future of John Cage’s radio works

STARTING SCENES Cutting it as an indie promoter

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PERCUSSION FOCUS DUELLING DYNAMOS Maraca2 go head-to-head

A DIFFERENT BEAT Beyond the perimeters of classical rhythm

On the pulse Simone Rebello talks learning and leadership

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New Piano syllabus now available Featuring over 150 brand new pieces across all 8 grades, the syllabus will be valid from January 2013 and is supported by a set of teaching resources, including: • 8 new volumes of Piano Exam Pieces, available with or without CD • A book of Teaching Notes for all pieces featured in Grades 1 to 7 • Recordings of every piece available on CD or as audio downloads Available from music retailers worldwide or www.abrsm.org/shop

Grade

Piano Exam Pieces 2013 & 2014

1

Piano

Exam Pieces ABRSM Grade 1 Selected from the

2013 & 2014 syllabus

Grade

8

Piano Exam Pieces 2013 & 2014

Piano

Exam Pieces ABRSM Grade 8 Selected from the

2013 & 2014 syllabus

Grades

1–7 Teaching Notes on Piano Exam Pieces

2013 & 2014

1 Grade

ABRSM’s autumn conference season will feature a detailed exploration of the new syllabus – the perfect opportunity to pick up exam preparation hints.

Piano

Exam Pieces Recordings of the complete

2013 & 2014 syllabus

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View the full programme at www.abrsm.org/conferences

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T (0)20 7636 5400 For further information on the 2013 & 2014 E abrsm@abrsm.ac.uk Piano syllabus visit www.abrsm.org/piano2013 www.abrsm.org

@abrsm facebook.com/abrsm

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ABRSM: Royal Schools of Music ABRSM:the theexam examboard boardofofthe the Royal Schools of Music

Supporting and promoting the highest standards of musical learning and assessment since 1889.

20/07/2012 13:50:35


piano 13 QUEEN ELISABETH COMPETITION

BRUSSELS — BELGIUM

06 May > 01 June 2013

D E A D L I N E F O R A P P L I C AT I O N S : 1 5 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 A G E L I M I T 3 0 Y E A R S ! ! ! [candidates must have been born after 15 January 1983]

06 > 11/05

First round FLAGEY

13 > 18/05

Semi-final FLAGEY

Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie - dir. Michael HOFSTETTER

27/05 > 1/06

Final B R U S S E L S C E N T R E F O R F I N E A R T S [ PA L A I S D E S B E A U X - A R T S ]

National Orchestra of Belgium - dir. Marin ALSOP WWW.QEIMC.BE Q U E E N E L I S A B E T H I N T E R N AT I O N A L M U S I C C O M P E T I T I O N O F B E L G I U M I N F O : R U E AU X L A I N E S 2 0 , B - 1 0 0 0 B R U S S E L S ( B E L G I U M ) T E L : ( + 3 2 ) 2 - 2 1 3 4 0 5 0 – FA X : ( + 3 2 ) 2 - 5 1 4 3 2 9 7 – I N F O @ Q E I M C . B E

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MUSO AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 12, ISSUE 60

Cover story 27 ON THE PULSE

Solo sensation Simone Rebello talks percussion, plans and passions

Profiles 21 BIG NOISE

Composer Leah Kardos on the unconventional techniques behind her debut album 24 TWO-MINUTE TALK

Regulars 6

EDITORIAL

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NEWS

15 WHAT'S ON

Our pick of unmissable events for the months ahead 19 FEEDBACK

Comment and live reviews 32 CENTRE STAGE

Profiling flautist Lisa Friend and Hannah Stone, harpist to royalty

Mallets at the ready: meeting dynamic duo Maraca2 35 DIGGING DEEPER

Beyond classical: six percussionists discuss the extremes of their art

Features 38 WIRED WORLD

What will happen to John Cage’s pieces for radio if analogue gives way to digital? Mark Gotham imagines a possible future 41 BE PREPARED

Safeguarding your instrument: practical advice for performers on the move

43 PRODUCTS

DVDs, books and paraphernalia 46 PLAYTIME

CD reviews, interviews and previews 52 LISTINGS

From orchestras to opera companies: the pick of the new seasons

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50 IN FOCUS

From clubs to pubs: why it’s an exciting time to be a classical music promoter 54 PERSPECTIVES

Toby Deller looks at the challenges facing the contemporary ensemble

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24 MARACA2

Katja Ogrin

19 ORCHITECTURE

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35 PIONEERING PERCUSSIONISTS

Kiran Ridley

27 SIMONE REBELLO

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Welcome to the final issue of Muso magazine. After 10 years and 60 issues bringing students and young musicians interviews with some of the world’s biggest classical stars, gossip and advice, news and reviews, this is the last edition of Muso to roll off the presses. Despite loudly voiced opinions to the contrary in our early days, we’ve proved that there’s a demand for coverage of classical and contemporary music that is youthful, accessible and even witty; but all good things come to an end, and it’s perhaps appropriate that we finish on our 60th, shall we call it our ‘diamond’ instalment! Though Muso itself is no more, readers may be interested to know that our sister publication, the fortnightly Classical Music magazine, will be keeping the Muso spirit alive, casting an eye over

life in conservatoires and music departments and giving student readers a chance to contribute news and views, as well as running a student reviewer competition. A special Muso young performer supplement will appear twice a year, with the first inside the 6 October issue of CM, and existing Muso subscribers and web visitors, plus music students, via their music departments, will be offered a special reduced price student package, including a full subscription to CM print or digital – for details, visit musolife.com. With its news, expert opinion, jobs listings and more, CM is a great place to start if you’re thinking of working in classical music. Subscribers will be contacted about the changes to their arrangements by post. If you do not receive your letter by 20 August, call Frances

MUSO CONTACTS EDITOR Lauren Strain lauren.strain@rhinegold.co.uk DESIGNER & HEAD OF DESIGN & PRODUCTION Beck Ward Murphy rebecca.wardmurphy@rhinegold.co.uk ADVERTISING SALES Tel: 020 7333 1733 HEAD OF ADVERTISING Myles Lester ADVERTISING MANAGER John Ward john.ward@rhinegold.co.uk

ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Ceri Wood ceri.wood@rhinegold.co.uk

MANAGING DIRECTOR Mark Owens

Lauren Strain / Editor

ONLINE PUBLISHER Derek B Smith

PRINTED BY MARKETING EXECUTIVE Cambrian Printers Ltd Frances Innes-Hopkins Llanbadarn Road, Aberystwyth, frances.innes-hopkins@rhinegold.co.uk Ceredigion, SY23 3TN SUBSCRIPTIONS Penny Mills penny.mills@rhinegold.co.uk T: 020 7333 1738 (Please ask for Penny) F: 020 7333 1736

Innes-Hopkins on 020 7333 1720 or email frances@rhinegold.co.uk. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this typically eclectic final issue, in which we delve into the world of percussion (p27), consider the shaky future of John Cage’s works for radio (p38), hear of Leah Kardos’ experiments in recording the sound of bones (p21), find out why it’s an exciting time to be a classical music promoter (p50), and consider the challenges facing the contemporary ensemble (p54). Thankyou for your enthusiasm, your feedback and, in many cases, your writing – and, of course, for reading.

MUSO Rhinegold Publishing Ltd, 20 Rugby Street, London, WC1N 3QZ Tel: 020 7333 1720 Fax: 020 7333 1765 muso@rhinegold.co.uk www.rhinegold.co.uk COVER: SIMONE REBELLO

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior permission of Rhinegold Publishing Ltd. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not of the publisher, editor, Rhinegold Publishing Ltd or its employees. We welcome letters but reserve the right to edit for reasons of grammar, length and legality. No responsibility is accepted for returning photographs or manuscripts. We cannot acknowledge or return unsolicited material.

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CONTRIBUTORS Simon Benger John Robert Brown Simon Jay Catling Toby Deller Matt Evans Richard Fontenoy

Mark Gotham Andrew Green Francesca King Murray McLachlan Frances Morgan Francesca Treadaway

ISSN Number 1476-9212

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Untitled (Cliburn Competition) by Ed Ruscha, 2011.

May 24 - June 9, 2013 Fort Worth, Texas USA Applications due October 15, 2012 W W W. c l i b U R n . O R g

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I 817.738.6536

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NEWS

Violinists Benjamin Beilman (21, United States), Hyeyoon Park (20, South Korea) and Alexandra Soumm (22, France) (pictured, L-R) have been named London Music Masters (LMM) award holders for 2012-2015. The international violin awards, which are given every three years to three outstanding violinists between the ages of 16 and 25, are career development programmes designed to assist winners in furthering international careers while serving as positive role models, reaching new audiences and enriching their communities.

The awards were set up to complement LMM’s music education programme, the Bridge Project. Each winner regularly attends the three primary schools in Lambeth and Pimlico taking part in the initiative, to mentor schoolchildren aged between 4 and 8 years. The winners each receive an award package tailored to their career needs, including a financial award of £10,000 to enhance musical development, recitals, concerto performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, concerts at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in the

Dan Carabas

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Julia Wesely

Christian Steiner

London Music Masters awards help three violinists perform, progress and inspire

US and the opportunity to premiere new works by contemporary composers commissioned by LMM. The winners of the first round of LMM awards (2009-2012) were Jennifer Pike, Agata Szymczewska and Elena Urioste. Beilman, Park and Soumm will each be presented in recitals at Wigmore Hall, London, in October. Soumm performs on 16 October; Park on the 18th; Beilman on the 20th. All concerts begin at 1pm. www.londonmusicmasters.org

Star violinist Charlie Siem appointed visiting professor at Leeds College of Music One of the UK’s brightest young classical talents and past Muso cover star Charlie Siem has been named visiting professor at Leeds College of Music (LCoM). The versatile violinist, who followed his debut for Warner with a dramatic disc of Bruch and Dvorˇák last August and is set to release a new CD in 2013, is ‘thrilled’ with his new position, commenting: ‘I look forward to being able to contribute and to share with [LCoM]’s students my advice and experiences, challenging them to not only improve their playing but to help them understand and deal with the immense pressure of performing.’ ‘We look forward to welcoming Charlie to the LCoM family,’ added the college’s director of curriculum and research, Randall Whittaker. ‘His view of music making embodies the vision

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of Leeds College of Music as the UK’s leading progressive Conservatoire.’ Siem is fast establishing himself as an international soloist, having appeared with orchestras around the world including the Royal Philharmonic, London Mozart Players, Israel Camerata and the Bergen Philharmonic. He is almost as in demand in the world of fashion as he is as a virtuoso, having appeared in US Vogue, Italian Vogue, GQ and V Man magazines. He was the global face of the Alfred Dunhill label’s 2011 ‘Voices’ campaign, and he has been photographed by Mario Testino. Muso suspects Leeds College of Music may soon be receiving an even greater number of applications than usual... www.lcm.ac.uk

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NEWS

University of Manchester student becomes the Hallé’s youngest ever assistant conductor

Freshly graduated music student Jamie Phillips, 20, will take up the position of assistant conductor with the Hallé Orchestra in September, making him the youngest ever occupant of the role. Phillips, who will have just concluded his studies with the University of Manchester conducting department’s Mark Heron at the time of going to press, will take over from fellow Manchester alumnus Andrew Gourlay, who signed with music agency Intermusica earlier this year. ‘I am absolutely delighted to be given this role and feel very privileged to be able to work with Sir Mark Elder,’ Phillips said, referring to the Hallé’s celebrated music director, with whom he will be working closely. As well as helping Elder prepare and conduct concerts in Manchester and around the country, Phillips will also act as music director and conductor of the Hallé Youth Orchestra. Elder himself commented: ‘We are all very thrilled to welcome Jamie into the Hallé family, and look forward to working with him closely over the coming years.’ ‘[Jamie] was the unanimous choice of the selection panel from an extremely talented field,’ added the Hallé’s chief executive John Summers. ‘Jamie follows a number of outstanding conductors who have held this role, from Edward Gardner in 2002 through to Andrew Gourlay.’ Phillips, originally from Birmingham, seems to be making a habit of being the ‘youngest’: he was the youngest competitor in the 2011 Besançon competition for young conductors in France, when he reached the semi-finals, and was the youngest of three finalists in the Salzburg Festival’s young conductors award 2012. www.halle.co.uk

Fifty Shades phenomenon helps Tallis Scholars to the top of the charts The Tallis Scholars’ recording of Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium, for 40 unaccompanied voices, reached the top of the UK Official Classical Singles Chart in July thanks to a surge in downloads by readers of EL James’ erotic fiction trilogy Fifty Shades. The 16th-century choral work features on the ‘playroom’ iPod of the books’ male lead, Christian Grey, a wealthy entrepreneur who seduces naïve literature student Anastasia Steele and encourages her to enter into a BDSM relationship with him. The books’ astonishing success – the first instalment, Fifty Shades of Grey, in June became the fastest-selling paperback to hit one million sales – has led to an unexpected spin-off achievement for the Tallis Scholars’ track, which climbed from Number 20 to Number 13, then 8, then 7, before toppling Luciano Pavarotti from a three-week reign in the top spot on 16 July. ‘I am delighted to have introduced so many of my readers to this amazing 16th-century piece of music, it is absolutely wonderful and the recording from the Tallis Scholars is particularly special,’ the author enthused. The Tallis Scholars’ director Peter Phillips seemed pretty pleased with the news too, commenting: ‘I am thrilled that Spem in alium has attracted such a large new audience. It is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human brain, an extraordinary and moving piece... After performing

Spem in alium for nearly 40 years I still cannot conceive how Thomas Tallis set about writing it. Even with 21stcentury computers it would be a daunting task. For me it ranks alongside the best works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and confirms Tallis as England’s greatest composer. It’s on my iPod!’ The Official Charts Company’s managing director Martin Talbot observed that the news reflects a new trend in the way people are coming to, and purchasing, classical music. ‘It’s fantastic to see Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars enjoying chart success off the back of the Fifty Shades of Grey publishing phenomenon,’ he said, ‘coming just months after the Military Wives became the first choir to top the Official Singles Chart. It shows the changing ways in which classical fans are buying their music – track by track, as well as album by album.’ The track is also selling well in the US, Canada and Australia, Sweden and The Netherlands. What do you think of the Tallis Scholars’ surprise hit? Tweet your thoughts to @musomag www.thetallisscholars.co.uk

Six finalists from more than 50 applicants selected for Australia’s inaugural National Young Composers’ Award Applications from more than 50 composers under the age of 30 have been whittled down to just six finalists for Australia’s inaugural National Young Composers’ Award. Sebastian Phlox and Melisande Wright from South Australia, Annie-Hui-Hsin Hsieh and Melody Eötvös from Victoria, Daniel Manera from New South Wales and Nicole Murphy from Queensland will compete in a concert on 13 October at Soundstream: Adelaide New Music Festival for two lucrative cash prizes ($5,000 and $2,000) to go towards the commission of new works, which will be performed at the 2013 Soundstream Collective. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will receive $1,500 cash. A selection committee comprising composer and lecturer John Polglase, composition lecturer David Harris and clarinet lecturer and Soundstream

Collective musician Peter Handsworth judged the submissions based on the strength, refinement and clarity of the creative concept, expressive intentions and performance instructions, and, according to the festival’s artistic director Gabriella Smart, came to ‘unanimous’ decisions. ‘The overwhelming response we have had from young composers around Australia, including those who are studying overseas, is testament to the fact that there is a need to support our next generation of composers with tangible benefits,’ Smart added. ‘It was pleasing to see such a strong response, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to the call for scores.’ Smart established Soundstream: Adelaide New Music Festival in 2008 to celebrate the creation of new Australian music. www.soundstream.org.au

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NEWS

COMPETITION CORNER

Sinfonia Cymru announces professional pathways Sinfonia Cymru, in partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, has announced a new Professional Pathways award. The awards will be offered annually to exceptional musicians studying in Wales ‘who demonstrate the high quality of musical talent that Sinfonia Cymru exists to nurture and support’. The first winners, violinist Máté Rácz and oboist Sam Baxter, were introduced before Sinfonia Cymru’s concert on 16 June. Each will receive financial assistance towards the cost of their studies and will be offered regular professional chamber orchestral experience throughout Sinfonia Cymru’s 2012/13 season (for which 28-year-old Polish violinist Bartosz Woroch, currently a member of the Young Classical Artists Trust, has just been announced as guest leader). www.sinfoniacymru.co.uk

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Knussen and Collon among names honoured by Critics’ Circle

The Critics’ Circle Awards 2012 have been announced, with composer and conductor Oliver Knussen (pictured, left) winning the award for Outstanding Musician and exceptional young artist awards going to pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, Aurora orchestra conductor Nicholas Collon (pictured, right), and bass Matthew Rose. Knussen was given the award, said the citation, as ‘not just a superb composer, but also an inspiring champion of the music of our time. ‘His compositions, stretching back 45 years to

the premiere of his teenage First Symphony, are vibrant products of a supremely fertile musical imagination. Just as important, however, has been his work as a conductor, preparing and performing hundreds of premieres with meticulous care and peerless insight. ‘He has been a beacon and mentor for an entire generation of composers, and an exhilarating guide through the tangled complexities of modern music for audiences both in Britain and abroad.’ Knussen is artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival, which opened on 8 June with a double bill of his operas Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop!, and he celebrated his 60th birthday on 12 June. The second annual Critics’ Circle Music Awards were voted on by the 76 members of the Music Section of the Critics’ Circle ‘on the strength of the special impression that the artists make in the UK both through live performances and recordings.’

will shortlist 10 composers for a workshop day in late autumn 2012, where composers will be able to work closely with Sinfonia musicians and composer Huw Watkins. Afterwards, one of the composers will be selected for the At Lunch commission. To apply, and to see a short film about the project, visit the Britten Sinfonia website:

Clarinettist and composer Mark Simpson and mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley have been selected for representation as Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) artists. The members of the jury at the final, which was held at London’s Wigmore Hall on 25 May, were ‘impressed by their passionate, communicative and distinctive musical personalities’. Huntley studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Benjamin Britten International Opera School. In 2011 she won third prize at the Das Lied competition in Berlin, and the Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera Voice Fellowship at the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition. Simpson won both the BBC Young Musician and BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer of the Year competitions in 2006, and in 2011 graduated from St Catherine’s College, Oxford with first class honours in Music. He is currently studying for an MMus in composition with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and studies clarinet privately with Mark van der Wiel. YCAT provides opportunities and management for exceptional young artists with the potential for international performing careers. Both winners can be heard at YCAT’s presentation concert at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London, on 24 September at 7.45pm.

www.brittensinfonia.com

www.ycat.co.uk

www.criticscircle.org.uk/music/

Britten Sinfonia seeks unpublished composers to write small-scale work The Britten Sinfonia, in partnership with Wigmore Hall, is offering unpublished composers the chance to write a new work for the orchestra’s At Lunch series. The winning work, to be written for the combination of oboe, harp and string quartet, will be premiered during the Britten Sinfonia at Lunch concerts in Cambridge and Norwich and at London’s Wigmore Hall in April 2013. From the applications received, Britten Sinfonia

Mark Simpson and Anna Huntley are latest recruits for Young Classical Artists Trust

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Abingdon Summer School for Solo Singers Pencots, 3FB t: 01903 879591 Northmoor OX29 e: neil@aims.uk. 5AX t: 01865 300884 com w: www.aims.uk.com. (higher for ww, br e: admin@ and Neil Jenkins, abingdonsummerschoolf artistic dir; Penny for 2 cond (ug). Held perc). Also places w: www.aotos.org.uk. orsolosingers. Jenkins, admin. co.uk; the.herfords@btinternet. in Somerset. Singing classes for Dates 15–21 Jul development course Professional choral and solo com 2012. Fees £200; w: www. at Dauntsey’s singers. Classes in half-price bursaries School, Devizes. opera, oratorio, art available. abingdonsummerschoolf Max no of participants song, music theatre, The Arts Centre 14. Dates 19–25 cabaret, parlour Liverpool Community co.uk. Lindsay Herford, orsolosingers. Aug music, Gilbert & College, Myrtle St, Beauchamp House 2012. admin. Open to Sullivan etc; classes Liverpool L7 7JA those aged 18+. International vocal technique. in t: 0151 252 4315/6. 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Nont: 01732 885048 Asian Music Circuit residential courses e: owen-iris@bryceo. ACE Foundation during Easter fsnet.co.uk Jan Bryce, Events Asian Music Educational Day holidays: adult chmbr Babraham, Cambridge Courses Annual 2-day w/end course organiser. w/end; Floor, Unit E, West Circuit, Ground CB22 3AP beginner-gr 5 jr Point, 33–34 Warple t: 01223 499707 strs and wind. place at All Saints jazz course takes Way, London W3 e: ace@acefoundation. Residential courses Pastoral Centre. 0RG org.uk w: www.acefoundation.or t: 020 8742 9911 during summer Dates Apr. f: 020 8749 3948 holidays: singing g.uk. e: jasel@amc.org.uk Trevor Barlow, Steve w/end; jnr orch; Alston Hall Residential w: www.amc.org.uk. snr orch; advanced strs; Jasel Nandha, educ Keable, Stu Hanna, Bingham, Russell gr 5 theory; jazz Alston Lane, Longridge, College offr. Inst and vocal Rohan Platts, course week; adult early Preston PR3 w/shops dirs. Sunday courses music. For residential 3BP t: 01772 784661 internationally renowned with courses, students f: 01772 785835 inst or type of inst, focusing on one camp in grounds artists from e: alstonhall.general2@lan across Asia. inc courses for br, of Beauchamp House; cashire.gov.uk ww, hp, folk, jazz adults w: www.alstonhall.com. may use local Association and orch studies. B&Bs if preferred. of British Choral Anne Russell, Most courses held at Sawston Dates Apr (Easter programmes co-ord; Directors (ABCD) courses), Jul-Aug Village College, Sarah Wilcock, 15 Sawston, Cambridge. (summer courses). business development.. Sherborne DT9 4AS Granville Way, Dates Varies. Fees Fees £112–415. Open to those t: 01935 389482 £45+. aged 19+. Courses e: rachel.greaves@abcd.or Bela Bartók Centre include music Advance! Oundle g.uk w: www. appreciation, chmbr for Musicianship abcd.org.uk. Rachel for 6 Frognal Court, music, choral Greaves, gen sec. St, Oundle PE8 4ED Organists, 4 New 158 Finchley Rd, singing; viol, sax Annual convention. t: 01832 274919, London and rcdr-playing NW3 5HL t: 020 Wide range of w/ also fax e: information@oundlefe w/ shops. Dates Various. shops and seminars e: agneskory@googlemail 7435 3685 for choral dirs and org.uk w: www.oundlefestival.or stival. Amadeus Chorus Fees Various. .com w: www. trainers of all levels. bbcm.co.uk. Ages and Orchestra g.uk. Non-members Robert Quinney, 2-adult. Professional, Summer School welcome. Dates 24– dir; Graham Williams, amateur and children’s Foxholes 26 Aug 2012; admin. Course for Alderley, Wotton-u-Edge, Farm, pre-convention conducting newly elected or comprehensive music classes focus on Gloucs GL12 in-service university, course 7RR t: 07957 257716 23–24 Aug; also cathedral or school Kodály system, Sary educ, inc the f: 0118 970 0816 short courses org scholars. Dates Apr. system, history e: macamadeus@btintern throughout the yr. analysis and perf Fees tbc. AIMS International skills. amadeusorchestra.co.uk. et.com w: www. Association of Music School and occasional intensiveRegular classes Teachers of Singing Barn End, Castle Mackenzie, dir; Odaline Philip holiday Training Course Lane, Bramber BN44 courses. Summer de la Martinez, 71 music courses abroad pres. For players SN10 1PS t: 01380 Avon Rd, Devizes (Budapest, St Petersburg). aged 18–30, min 739185 gr 8 e: pennypricejones@btint Benslow Music Trust Benslow Lane, ernet.com Hitchin SG4 9RB t: 01462 459446

AIMS INTERNATION

AL MUSIC

SCHOOL at Eastbourne College AUGUST 19th – 26th 2012

The sixth Summer School for Jenkins will take place once Singers run by Neil & Penny Eastbourne. again in Eastbourne There will be College, a variety of singers, with classes for choral the Gloria, Puccini’s large groups performing Karl Jenkins’ Messa di Gloria Penitente with and Mozart’s Brian Kay and Davidde will work on Nigel Perrin. Partsongs, close-harmony, Smaller groups madrigals, and G & S choruses, the music for Compline and a sung Mass. Solo singers can choose from classes studying of vocal music from Early Music every branch song, Cabaret and Music Theatre. and Oratorio up to ArtOpera scenes for which singers There will be 6 fully staged Bowman and audition in advance. Ian Partridge James will give one-day and the week will commence Masterclasses, Catherine Wyn-Rogers. with a Gala Recital given by Comments from this year’s students ‘virgin’ - my first include: “...I am time, but certainly an AIMS not my last. I was in absolute heaven!” totally inspired and “...Once again it performing, and appreciating wonderful was a wonderful week of learning, Theatre critics would music and wonderful have the heading’Triumph’. singing.” “... the administration: I cannot but totally it is faultless ...” admire “...The concerts the masterclasses have been wonderful, enlightening, the warm-ups and vocal fun. Thank you for technique making the week such a fulfilling experience...”classes huge For details of fees for Residents and Non-Residents contact: Address: AIMS, Barn End, Castle West Sussex, BN44 Lane, Bramber, Telephone: 01903 3FB 879591 Email: neil@AIMS.uk.com Full details are shown on the website: www.AIMS.uk.com

Residential Courses Day Courses Saturday Talks Summer Schools Concerts

www.benslowmusic.org T: 01462 459446 E: info@benslowm usic.org

Benslow Music, Benslow Lane, Hitchin, Hertfordshire,

A Company limited by guarantee. Registered Reg Charity No 313663 in England No 408404.

SG4 9RB

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REQUIEM

The 50Th AnniversAry seAson 2012 • 13

BY

CANDLELIGHT National Youth Choir of Scotland Christopher Bell - conductor

Mozart

The Magic Flute Massenet

Werther

Friday 24th August, 10pm

Wagner

The Flying Dutchman

Fauré – Requiem Paul Mealor – Crucifixus

Gilbert & Sullivan

The Pirates of Penzance

Saturday 25th August, 10pm

Mozart – Requiem Paul Mealor – Crucifixus

New Opera 2012

The Lady from the Sea Clemency In the Locked Room & Ghost Patrol Verdi

La traviata Britten

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Scottish Opera is core funded by

scottishopera.org.uk Registered in Scotland Number SCO37531 Scottish Charity Number SCO19787

St Giles’ Cathedral . Edinburgh

Book Now: edfringe.com . 0131 226 0000 Untitled-2 1

THE JOHN KERR AWARD FOR ENGLISH SONG

06/07/2012 11:52:02

londonmusicmasters

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instruments of change

londonmusicmasters series

For the Promotion of the English Song Repertoire 1600-1900

presenting the 2012 -2015 LMM Award Holders at Wigmore Hall

First Prize £2000 + Recital at Finchcocks Second Prize £1000 Audience Prize £500 Accompanist Prize £500 Judges Julie Kennard. Ian Partridge CBE and Dr. Geoffrey Govier

alexandra soumm (violin) adam laloum (piano)

Final 21st October 2012 at Finchcocks Keyboard Museum, Kent

tuesday 16 october 2012 | 1pm performing: grieg, prokofiev, strauss

Closing entry date: 31st July 2012

hyeyoon park (violin) nareh arghamanyan (piano) Participants must be aged between 18 and 35 at the date of the final. Further details, rules and application forms may be obtained by downloading from our website

www.johnkerraward.org.uk

thursday 18 october 2012 | 1pm performing: beethoven, prokofiev, saint-saëns arr. ysaÿe

benjamin beilman (violin) yekwon sunwoo (piano) saturday 20 october 2012 | 1pm performing: prokofiev, schubert, kreisler

or by contacting maureen.lyle@googlemail.com

please contact wigmore hall box office for tickets 020 7935 2141 | www.wigmore-hall.org.uk

The John Kerr Award Trust is a registered charity No.1121245

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WHAT'S ON

OUR PICK OF UNMISSABLE EVENTS FOR THE MONTHS AHEAD AUGUST

place the following day, kicking off with another of his tributes to the master, Improvisation on the Bourée from Cello Suite No 3 in C, BWV 1009, before barrelling through a Well-Tempered Clavier snippet to Carpenter’s hybrid arrangement of Bach and Mahler, Syncretic Prelude and Fugue in D.

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VENUE CADOGAN HALL, LONDON TIME 1PM PRICE £10-£12/PROMMING ON THE DAY FOR £5

©

Paul Foster-Williams

LUDUS BAROQUE

VENUE CANONGATE KIRK, EDINBURGH TIME 7.30PM PRICE £16/£12

Ludus Baroque are joined by sister sopranos Sophie and Mary Bevan, countertenor Tim Mead, tenor Ed Lyon and baritone William Berger (pictured) for a performance of Handel’s oratorio The Triumph of Time and Truth.

What better than an hour of chamber music in the afternoon? The esteemed Eschers perform Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor and Hugh Wood’s fourth of five works in the form – a piece recently selected for the Royal Philharmonic Society and BBC Radio 3’s Encore scheme, which is designed to give repeat performances and broadcasts of works by living British composers.

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PROM 51: GLINKA, HOWARD AND SHOSTAKOVICH

Nottingham hosts an event of epic proportions, bringing together more than 1,000 artists aged 18-30 from around the world for a festival spanning almost every conceivable art form, from dance to spoken word, theatrical installations to film – and even, we’re promised, ‘gastronomical events’. Muso readers may want to check out young composer, cellist and vocalist Ayanna Witter-Johnson, a Manhattan School of Music scholar who’s worked with Nitin Sawhney and a project facilitating collaboration between UK grime artists and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

PROMS

VENUE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON TIME 7.30PM PRICE £7.50-£36

Emily Howard’s Calculus of the Nervous System, a work inspired by mathematician (and Byron’s daughter) Ada Lovelace as well as by ideas of memory and what the human brain may be capable of, provides both the composer’s Proms debut and the highlight of this particular programme. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons also deliver Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan y Lyudmila and Shostakovich’s Symphony No 7 in C (‘Leningrad’).

SEPTEMBER 1

PROMS PROM 66: CAMERON CARPENTER PLAYS BACH

VENUE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON TIME 4PM PRICE £12-£16/PROMMING ON THE DAY FOR £5

The organ world’s most outrageous proponent presents an all Bach programme, interrupted only by his own 12-minute Improvisation on B-A-C-H. His Bach bender continues at the same time and

Jack Liebeck

The sixth instalment of this annual festival of new works by young composers showcases everything from a staging of Rumpelstiltskin set in a marriage guidance counselling office (by 22-year-old Toby Young) to the rather more serious premise of Alexander Campkin’s Three to Midnight, a story of a trio of very different people facing death told through music and dance. Elsewhere, this year’s Stephen Oliver Award winner Laura Bowler presents her work The Sandman, while a Tête à Tête commission teams composer Charlotte Bray with librettist Kate Kennedy in a production inspired by Elizabeth Bowen’s short story Making Arrangements. Scottish Opera bring back their opera for toddlers, SensoryO, and percussionist Joby Burgess shows up as a Chinese-speaking male soprano in Kally Lloyd-Jones’ direction of John McLeod’s Thrashing the Sea God.

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PROMS

VENUE VARIOUS, NOTTINGHAM TIME VARIOUS PRICE VARIOUS

©

VENUE RIVERSIDE STUDIOS, LONDON TIME VARIOUS PRICE £6/£4 (CONCESSIONS) PER SHOW

PROMS CHAMBER MUSIC 6: ESCHER STRING QUARTET

©

2-19 TETE A TETE: THE OPERA FESTIVAL

Henry Fair

7-16 WORLD EVENT YOUNG ARTISTS

20-23 HATFIELD HOUSE CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL VENUE HATFIELD HOUSE, HERTFORDSHIRE TIME VARIOUS PRICE VARIOUS

A brand new chamber music festival curated by cellist Guy Johnston (pictured) launches in his home county of Hertfordshire. Johnston has chosen his artists wisely for this inaugural event, with the Aronowitz Ensemble, The Sixteen and Jack Liebeck among the top billings. From an opening concert led by the Navarra Quartet in a programme of Haydn, Chausson and Schubert to a family-oriented lecture about Einstein and a children’s concert, there should be something for everyone at this celebration of the small-scale.

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th Thi os s o e w ffer ho a ar pp l e no ies t a to lre yo ad ur y m firs em t ye be ar rs of of me th m e IS ber M sh . O ip ffe an re d nd is o s n on ly 31 ava Au ila gu ble st to 20 12 .

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MAXIMISE * YOUR POTENTIAL *With an ISM membership you’ll have access to a professional development programme to help you develop your skills. We’ll also keep you up-to-date through regular e-news and local events to keep you in touch with what’s going on now.

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WHAT'S ON

The eighth instalment of this intimate festival counts the world premiere of Paul Carroll’s The Fall of Troy, a prequel to Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, among its highlights. A recital by pianist Meng Yang Pan, a no-doubt vibrant performance by the zesty Jazz Dynamos and a collaboration between vocal group Vox Cantare and Arborea Musica to perform Bach’s St John Passion contribute to a varied programme; while the Commonwealth Orchestra provide the finale with Albinoni, Vivaldi and more.

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APHEX TWIN W/ HERITAGE ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR

VENUE BARBICAN, LONDON TIME 7.30PM PRICE £25-£35

First developed in 2011 for the European culture congress in Poland, Aphex Twin’s Remote Orchestra concept receives its UK premiere at the hands of the Barbican. The work sees the worshipped electronic artist command a 28-piece string section and 12-strong choir – the Heritage Orchestra and Choir – using remote control. The evening will also feature the piece Interactive Tuned Feedback Pendulum Array, which expands on Steve Reich’s original Pendulum Music.

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BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES: NORTHERN MOODS

27-30 DARBAR FESTIVAL VENUE SOUTHBANK CENTRE, LONDON TIME VARIOUS PRICE VARIOUS

A festival taking its name from the word for an audience chamber in the Maharaja’s court where guests assembled to listen to music turns the Southbank Centre’s own Purcell Room into a ‘darbar’, where listeners will be immersed in explorations of Hindustani and Carnatic musical traditions. Interspersed with ragas and talks, the programme’s 14 events include violin duo The Mysore Brothers, flautist Pandit Rajendra Prasanna and one of India’s only female classical pakhawaj soloists, Chitrangana Agle-Reshwal.

VENUE ST DAVID’S HALL, CARDIFF TIME 7.30PM PRICE £10-£27.50

In their first concert under new principal conductor Thomas Søndergård (pictured), the BBC National Orchestra of Wales tackle Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel and Magnus Lindberg’s Expo. Soprano Inger Dam-Jensen, described by the Financial Times as possessing a ‘glittering allure and intensity’, is soloist.

OCTOBER 4

ENGLISH TOURING OPERA: ALBERT HERRING 18-21 ST ANDREWS VOICES

VENUE LINBURY STUDIO THEATRE, ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, LONDON TIME 7.45PM PRICE TBC

One in a season of operas presented by English Touring Opera in collaboration with Aurora Orchestra, Britten’s Albert Herring features Mark

VENUE VARIOUS, ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND TIME VARIOUS PRICE VARIOUS

Yet another new festival springs up in the form of a celebration of the voice in all its musical

incarnations. Classical concerts and late-night events intermingle in a programme that spans everything from beatboxing to cabaret, lieder to opera and folk song. Tenor and festival patron Ian Bostridge opens proceedings, performing Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise; young baritone Ben McAteer performs works by Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Vaughan Williams, and actress Eleanor Bron joins eclectic ensemble Counterpoise (violin, trumpet, saxophone and piano) as narrator. Elsewhere, an array of singers from Scottish Opera – Marcus Farnsworth (baritone), Rosie Aldridge (mezzo soprano) and Nadine Livingston (soprano) delight with a selection of arias, duets and ensembles from Puccini, Mozart and Rossini.

NOVEMBER

Philippe Stirnweiss

VENUE ST PETER AND ST PAUL, FRESSINGFIELD, SUFFOLK TIME 7.30PM PRICE EACH CONCERT £12 ADVANCE/£15 ON THE DOOR

Wilde in the title role. After a first performance at the Linbury Studio Theatre, the set of works – also comprising Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse and a paired staging of Viktor Ullmann’s short opera The Emperor of Atlantis with the Bach cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden – tours nine towns and cities across the country into November.

©

25-29 FRESSINGFIELD MUSIC FESTIVAL

8-18 SONICA VENUE VARIOUS, GLASGOW TIME VARIOUS PRICE VARIOUS

Glasgow-based arts producer Cryptic has secured a strong line-up of creators working within sonic arts – with a visual element – for its first ‘Sonica’ experiment. Producing high quality, cutting edge work by artists both local and international, Sonica aims to provide a UK platform for further performances of exceptional and rarely-seen work as well as act as a showcase for the best emerging talent. There are too many fantastic and phantasmagorical-sounding events to list here, but highlights include the Netherlandsbased 33 1/3 Collective with the UK premiere of their digital interpretation of Bartók’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle; a ‘laser experience’ by Australian audio-visual performance artist, Robin Fox, and a musical installation for four cellos by Lithuanian composer Justé Janulyté, performed by the Gaida Ensemble. Meanwhile, there’s a ‘pocket-sized’ multi-media opera by Claudia Molitor, Remember Me, which is apparently ‘staged inside a desk’ – we’re certainly interested to see how that works! With offbeat, immersive opportunities galore, Sonica is not to be missed – and if you don’t live in Glasgow or can’t make the trip, Sonica-affiliated events will be taking place as part of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Sound Festival in Aberdeen and November Music in the Netherlands.

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Live reviews

Babur in London, a new opera by Switzerland-based composer Edward Rushton and librettist Jeet Thayil, tells the tale of a terrorist plot in modernday London, where four young people grappling with their beliefs – Nafisa, Saira, Mo and Faiz – plan from their basement to commit a bombing in the capital. They are making their final preparations when they are visited by the ghost of Babur, the first Mughul Emperor, who tries to convince them not to go through with it, telling them that suicide bombing will only hinder their chances of entering paradise. Two of them go on to discover this, while Mo is

NEW LONDON ORCHESTRA + THOR MCINTYRE-BURNIE: ORCHITECTURE 23 + 24 June The House Mill, London The conical roofs of the old brick buildings that stand on Three Mills Island are a reminder of east London’s agricultural and industrial past, jutting out amid a landscape of mega supermarkets, new-builds, Victorian gasworks and the notoriously busy Bow interchange road. The stretch of the River Lea that houses the mills, the oldest of which was built in 1776, has always been something of a haven away from the bustle of nearby Stratford; while the mills themselves have had a new lease of life as TV and film studios, the towpaths around saw only the more intrepid cyclist or walker. More recently, though, the presence of the Olympics site just a few minutes away has prompted a rather rushed regeneration of the area, with public art vying for attention with 2012-themed guided tours – of which we spot at least two taking place as we approach the House Mill. With all that going on, an afternoon of highlights from Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ symphony and Dvorˇák’s Slavonic Dances in a beautiful 18th-century building sounds as if it might be little staid. But sound artist Thor McIntyre-Burnie’s Orchitecture is no ordinary orchestral performance. Devised with the New London Orchestra (NLO) and including members of the local Newham Youth Orchestra, Orchitecture is a new sound work that ‘explodes’ the conventional structure of

an orchestra into a three-dimensional sonic experience that the audience, in a sense, creates for themselves: with the musicians in front of us, we are able to walk through the orchestra, building up our own sound picture as we go. What’s immediately appealing about Orchitecture is that this feat isn’t achieved by high-tech means, but by the simple method of placing musicians all over the labyrinthine building, tucking them in nooks and crannies to be discovered by wandering listeners. There’s a kind of tonal logic to the configurations of players – bass and percussion take the bottom floor, while trumpets peal out from the highest attic room; cellos and woodwind occupy the closest thing the Mill has to a mid-point, a long, low-ceilinged room a few stories up. But as we creep across weathered boards and up time-worn stairs, dodging some fearsome-looking old cogs and levers, we find one French horn tucked in a side room, a first violin on a landing and three clarinets in what looks like a store cupboard. We find ‘sweet spots’ where the music seems to vibrate through the floor – the wooden interior adds a lovely resonance – and enjoy pockets of quiet, too, as sections await their cues. Cues, of course, must come from somewhere, and each sub-group has a TV monitor on which they can see conductor Ronald Corp, who is present in the Mill’s biggest room; they can also hear instructions from him on discreet earphones. While this approach means that there’s occasional hesitancy, even a few mistakes, these moments of slippage and dissonance are part of the piece’s charm, and make a serious point

forceful, brought musical precision and clarity to the role of Saira. She and Damian Thantrey (Faiz) worked particularly well together. The rather minimal staging was effective; a bizarre-looking collection of items including crates, a bath tub and a wall made up of empty water bottles comprised the set, with the wall being used to help project atmospheric lighting (by Matt Haskins) and video (Ian William Galloway). This was an interesting piece of musical theatre centred around an important contemporary issue. Whether Rushton’s score is that captivating by itself is debatable – but it certainly acts as a sturdy vehicle for Thayil’s poetic drama. Simon Benger

Chris Jones

15 June Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

shot during a police raid and Saira carries out the bombing. Using only a small force (five vocalists and five instrumentalists), the work could be described as a small-scale chamber piece à la Pierrot Lunaire, with Rushton’s instrumental textures creating splatterings of colour behind soaring and expressive vocal lines. Musical director Tim Murray and his chamber group of players did well to express the tensions of the score, and Omar Ebrahim performed the role of the ever-sozzled Babur well – but I felt the pick of the four protagonists was Amar Muchhala as Mo; he had a sort of steeliness about him that perfectly suited the role. Kishani Jayasinghe (Nafisa) handled the technical demands of the score well, while Annie Gill, though perhaps a little less

©

THE OPERA GROUP: BABUR IN LONDON

about its aims, too. Since the advent of recording, classical performance has reached such a high level of perfectionism that the human interactions and relationships – and happy accidents – so crucial to all music-making are overlooked in favour of a seamless, sublime and, for the audience, largely passive musical experience. McIntyre-Burnie, whose previous works have explored flocks of birds and voices of protestors in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, directed our attention back to those relationships, as well as reminding us of our own active role as participants in shaping what we hear. The NLO brought his ideas to life with energy and sensitivity. Frances Morgan

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N AT I O N A L CHILDREN’S ORCHESTRA

SUMMER 2012 CONCERTS Under 13 Orchestra

Saturday 25 August 2012 7pm at Colston Hall, Bristol

Saturday 18 August 2012 7pm at Leeds Town Hall

Peter Stark guest conductor

Roger Clarkson conductor

Box Office 0117 922 3686 www.colstonhall.org

Box Office 0113 224 3801 www.leedstownhall.co.uk

Programme to include

Programme to include

Telephone 01934 418855

Arnold

Tchaikovsky

Email mail@nco.org.uk

Homage to the Queen: Suite

Overture to Romeo and Juliet

Shostakovich

Barber

Symphony No. 10

Adagio for Strings

Photo: Araminta de Clermont

Main Orchestra

Website www.nco.org.uk Registered Charity No. 803026

Photo: Alex von Koettlitz

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A Leading Progressive Conservatoire

20/06/2012 09:03:31

“Leeds College of Music has driven my creativity and passion for music” – Rebecca, Classical Music alumna

BA (Hons) Music Leeds College of Music offers an exciting and distinctive degree with specialisms in Jazz, Classical, Popular Music and Production. Combined and two-year accelerated pathways are also available.

Course Enquiries +44 (0)113 222 3416 enquries.assistant@lcm.ac.uk www.lcm.ac.uk Twitter: @LeedsMusic

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BIG NOISE

The melody

of memory

Composer Leah Kardos talks to Matt Evans about the shapes and spaces within sound Photos © Jez Brown With its labyrinthine ambience, evocative melodies and organically nurtured beats, Leah Kardos’ Feather Hammer is a subtly powerful debut. The album’s appeal is as hard to encapsulate as the music itself – melodically bold, but with a dreamlike quality, its gaze falls as often on hazy objects in the distance as on the subjects nearer the lens. Perhaps its defining expression occurs at the climax of Houses, as piano lines entwine amid a field-recorded fug of creaking floorboards, stifling walls and traffic noise spilling through open windows – being finally interrupted by a ringing phone. It is a moment that blurs the borders between memory and reality, between the world and the filters we lay over it. ‘I’m struck by these moments that are, to me at least, quite poetic,’ says Kardos. ‘I listen to music all the time, I walk around with iPod headphones in, and the sounds from the outside world penetrate my private world. Sometimes it just works really well, and I love that. It invites me to consider a narrative. When I was recording the piano through the wall and the phone went off, I was forced to stop. It invites you to think, well, what happened? What does it mean? What happened next?’ The daughter of a blues guitarist and a singer, Kardos was born and brought up in Australia before relocating to England. She originally trained as a pianist, but found herself drawn to composition and audio engineering. ‘I got really fascinated with the sonic properties of music,’ she says. ‘It was nice to focus on the waveform, not the notes on the page. Feather Hammer began as little bits on the score, but the composition was really made after I had a waveform. I was combining audio with audio rather than combining a harmony with a melody. What can you achieve playing with sound and positioning sound in different ways, drawing the ear and perhaps suggesting priorities? How does

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24 October – 4 November, 2012

L’ARLESIANA Francesco Cilèa

24, 27, 30 Oct | 2 NOv

LE RoI mALgRé LuI Emmanuel Chabrier

25, 28, 31 Oct | 3 NOv

A VILLAgE RomEo ANd JuLIEt Frederick Delius

26, 29 Oct | 1, 4 NOv

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BIG NOISE

that communicate ideas? How does that make you feel? There’s a whole area of psychoacoustics that I’m fascinated with, that’s linked to timbre and tone, not necessarily harmony and rhythm. But I’m very interested in scores too.’ Listeners may detect the influence of Debussy or Chopin in Kardos’ piano work, but her rich sound world extends beyond the classical. She cites Aphex Twin as a key influence on Feather Hammer, along with the Kronos Quartet’s take on Terry Riley’s The Cusp of Magic, and Graham Fitkin’s electronic work with Ruth Wall. The beats are all hand-crafted from shoes striking piano strings, abused furniture, and other visceral sound sources. ‘We tried to record snapping bones – I got someone to manipulate my back and crack my bones, but it just sounded like a chicken bone being broken. I like making use of tiny sounds and making them really big, taking the wooden hinge on the music stand and giving it the most priority. I like celebrating the sounds that exist around the notes. A lot of the ambiences are from microphones that are so far away that what you’re hearing is just a hint or a tiny shadow of a note, not necessarily the note itself.’ Despite this, Feather Hammer is ultimately a piano suite, one that explores its creator’s personal and sometimes complicated relationship with her instrument. The instructional DFACE (Practise this Video) is a direct evocation of the beginnings of a musical life, and will stir the memories of anyone who has ever placed their fingers on the keys. ‘I drew a big map on a piece of butcher paper, with my church background and the language of chords, and improvisation and muscle memory – all these ideas about an instrument that’s a part of me,’ Kardos explains. ‘My hands made a lot of the decisions – I’d reach out and hit this ninth chord or an augmented sound combined with a minor chord. Some of those shapes come from practising Chopin or Poulenc when I was younger. I think it naturally evokes the feeling of memory. The dreaminess is something that people naturally associate with the sound of hearing a piano through three or four walls. You instantly associate that with childhood.’ Originally a Bandcamp release, Feather Hammer came to the attention of experimental classical/electronic label Bigo & Twigetti, and Kardos has since adapted the album for live performance. ‘I didn’t expect many people to hear it,’ she says. ‘It was a personal exercise in expression, and it really amazed me that it was as popular as it was, and that people wanted to come to the shows and hear it in different forms. If I had known that it would be released by Bigo & Twigetti, if I’d known that it was going to be performed at the National Portrait Gallery, it would have changed how I made it. It wouldn’t have been so carefree.’ Kardos remains as fascinated by process as by result – her next project, with pianist Ben Dawson, will find her dissecting the lifespan of a score. ‘I’ve written three preludes for him and I’m going to record him rehearsing and sight-reading and then record him properly,’ she details. ‘Then

I’m going to remix or reinterpret or cannibalise those recordings and make three other recordings. It’ll be released as an EP of the whole works, of the process of creating the music, learning the music, and what can be made with the remnants. I really like the full-circle idea.’

Feather Hammer is out now on Bigo & Twigetti. www.leahkardos.com www.bigoandtwigetti.co.uk www.bigoandtwigetti.bandcamp.com

‘ We tried to record snapping bones – I got someone to manipulate my back and crack my bones, but it just sounded like a chicken bone being broken’

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TWO-MINUTE TALK

DUELLING DYNAMOS

©

Katja Ogrin

Virtuoso duo Maraca2 talk to Lauren Strain about percussion as a pair

You met studying at Birmingham Conservatoire (where you are now both visiting tutors). What took you to Birmingham, and how did your experiences/tutors there shape you as musicians? Jason Huxtable: I auditioned at a variety of colleges but Birmingham was the natural choice. It is definitely the biggest musical city outside of London. Simon Rattle was still with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) when we entered way back in 2000, and there was an impressive range of musical activity all over the city. It was an exciting time. Tim Palmer: We were the only two percussionists in our year so it was natural that we worked regularly together, and the duo grew out of this. We were encouraged by our tutors to develop the group, actually studying as a duo at postgraduate level, which definitely paid dividends in terms of getting repertoire together and getting known.

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What led you to percussion in the first place? Jason: I started as a pianist but found my calling when I started learning drum kit at 13. The caretaker in my school played the bass and formed a band with me on keyboard. The drummer didn’t come one day so I volunteered to play, after looking over enviously for weeks. I had never played the kit before but seemed to be able to do it. I formed bands with my friends at school and got the bug when I did my first rock tour in Bulgaria at 16. Tim: I used to play several instruments: violin, trumpet, euphonium and piano, and singing. My first real group that I performed in was the Northamptonshire County Junior Wind Band. I played euphonium and distinctly remember coming home with an obliterated lip after a threehour onslaught! I saw the guys at the back of the band having fun (in between counting their bars rest) and was immediately intrigued. I started to learn percussion with two very inspirational

teachers, and one evening while playing my euphonium was asked to move to the back of the band to help out – this was a good enough experience to convince me to drop all other instruments and focus on percussion. What continues to inspire you as a percussionist? Jason: Inspiration can come from anywhere but, as I get older, it tends to come not only from percussionists. When I was younger I remember seeing the greats and being inspired to push myself and perhaps one day be in their shoes, but now my inspiration is much more varied. Seeing people with energy, passion and dedication in their field is always an inspiration and pushes me onwards to achieve more. I still love watching great drummers, though. Pete Erskine and Jojo Mayer are just faultless in my book. Tim: I am a massive fan of both the Safri Duo and

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TWO-MINUTE TALK

PercaDu. Safri were responsible for the early development of a lot of mainstream percussion duo repertoire and PercaDu are an amazing Israeli ensemble. You’ve given numerous UK and world premieres. Are there any that stand out? Jason: A few stick out in my mind. We performed Jacob ter Veldhuis’ Goldrush concerto for the first time in England back when we were studying. Tim: We have formed a strong relationship with Stephen Whibley, an amazing percussionist and composer who has written for us a few times now. His piece Blue Motion is probably a work we are known for around the world, and it has been a critical element in gaining us notoriety in the US, where we now work regularly. You’ve toured extensively. Where have been your favourite places both to visit and perform? Jason: The first big international percussion event we played at was in Argentina, all the way down in Patagonia. I’m not quite sure how we managed to perform after the crazy Latin partying but this ended up being a turning point in our career as a duo. We have very fond memories of the people we met over the course of that week and are planning to revisit next summer, which will be great. Tim: Representing the UK at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis in 2009 was a great day. It was the final concert in our first extended tour of the US and all our friends we had made over the trip came along to watch. We performed Espiritu Libre by Stephen Whibley with the percussion ensemble from the University of Southern Mississippi, which brought the house down. You perform in a wide range of settings, from giving traditional recitals to appearing on classical themed cruises and at corporate events. Is it important to be adaptable? Jason: I think it is essential to be able to cater for your audience. Performing music is essentially entertainment and we are sensitive to the fact that different people will be entertained by different repertoire and performance tones. To put it in business terms, you have to understand the customers’ needs and deliver. Tim: Over the years we have done many of the P&O classical themed cruises, and recognise that most of the audience may have never heard a percussion duo before – and want to be reassured that they are not in for an unending battery of drums. The percussion family is capable of much more subtlety so we like to focus on the tuned percussion elements. In contrast to that, the audience at a hardcore percussion event are already very knowledgeable and want to see the instruments pushed to their limits. There, our eight-mallet chorales make way for the 20-minute minimalist marathons! You support Sabian Cymbals, Innovative Percussion and Marimba One marimbas. How does being commercially supported help you as artists? Tim: Logistically, transporting instruments overseas is a huge headache and our companies help with making sure instruments are available, which is a huge bonus. They also assist financially

when we travel to conventions and percussion events, which allows us to be present and visible. On an artistic front, we have access to the best sounds. Many of the UK’s biggest names in percussion (for example, Colin Currie and Evelyn Glennie) are associated with instrument companies, and it makes a huge difference to us. Jason: The UK is still very small in terms of percussive activity compared to the US. When we went to the University of North Texas a couple of years ago we were blown away by the number of people studying marimba – about 150 at that college alone! We are part of a group of UK players continuing to gain awareness of the possibility of making a career as a tuned percussionist, and our endorsers see the long term importance of that.

‘Being a musician is about being a communicator of music in every way’ You work hard as educators as well as performers. Tell us a little bit about your outreach work. Jason: I love the educational side of our activities. Working with the community outreach wing of Walsall FC has been a particular highlight. Sometimes, as a performer you don’t see the impact you have made to an audience once you leave the venue but, working with children, it is so clear the positive influence you have made. I still bump into people who say, ‘You were the one who played in my assembly!’ Tim: We work regularly with local artistic centres and did a great project last year with the Symphony Hall (Birmingham) called Sounds Like Summer. It is important to us to work as part of our community and be active at all levels in Birmingham. Being a musician is about being a communicator of music in every way. Performing and teaching are both very important outlets. Percussion looks like the most phenomenally fun range of instruments to be able to play (and it’s certainly among the most thrilling disciplines to watch as a spectator), but I imagine it starts off as one of the more difficult disciplines to learn, with a lot of groundwork to be done in terms of developing rhythm and timekeeping, etc., before you can move on to the exciting stuff. Would you say this is true? Jason: I don’t think percussion is any more daunting than any other instrument. In fact I think it is perhaps one of the most instantly enjoyable and accessible instruments going. Once you get serious it can get quite daunting when you realise the sheer range of instruments and world cultures to learn about – in some ways starting

off is the easiest bit! Tim: All the rhythmic development and timekeeping is something that you never completely learn. These skills constantly develop over time so no one should feel put off from starting or moving on to the ‘exciting’ stuff. Do you think there are certain practical factors that make it difficult for young people to take up percussion, e.g. the cost of it, the space/ environment required if you’re wanting to learn drums – and even the fact that there’s little opportunity for more than one or two pupils to participate in something like a school band rhythm section...? Tim: I suppose there are difficult hurdles to jump in terms of the cost of the instruments and the difficulty in transporting them, and I think this is definitely a factor as to why there are so few percussion ensembles active around the country compared to string quartets, etc. But I think being a drummer or percussionist is always going to have its inherent appeal and I don’t feel that there is a critical problem with uptake. Getting a job as a percussionist in an orchestra is harder now than ever before, so I think this indicates the level of competition and participation. Jason: I think what we are doing now is important in encouraging uptake and participation. Going around schools and showing what is possible is a way of getting people into percussion. Showing percussionists who are studying at college that playing in a percussion group is a realistic way of shaping your career is also important. There are many small groups developing in UK conservatoires, so I hope that some will come out and start hitting the international scene. What are your proudest moments? Jason: Playing at the important festivals like Cheltenham Jazz, BBC Proms and Glastonbury is always great, but the most important achievement is to continue to make a living in my chosen profession and have the opportunity to entertain, educate and inspire on a daily basis. Tim: As a student, I always had a keen interest in the music of Joseph Schwantner and wanted to perform his Percussion Concerto. Unfortunately, the work was written for such a large scale orchestra that a piano reduction wasn’t available at the time. I decided to commission an orchestral reduction for two pianos. I used this arrangement to enter the Conservatoire’s concerto competition and since then the arrangement has been published by Schott Music and is now frequently played worldwide. What do the next few months hold for Maraca2? Tim: We have a busy summer preparing for a concert at Symphony Hall, Birmingham in September. It is part of a new concert series called ‘Beyond Classical’ – a series of free gigs that take you beyond formal classical concerts to the laid-back atmosphere of the bar. Our concert is on 8 September at 3.30pm so come along!

Maraca2 appear at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on 8 September. www.maraca2.com

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17/07/2012 16:39:57


NEW RELEASES ‘NMC’s website is like entering an overstocked sweetshop for the intellectually and musically curious.’ CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE

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This new series is launched with debut releases by Huw Watkins, Dai Fujikura, Sam Hayden and cover artwork by BA (Hons) Graphic Design students from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design.

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CD / mp3 / FLAC NMC D175

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NMC SUPPORTS EMERGING COMPOSERS WITH DEBUT DISCS SERIES

Symphonies Nos 2 & 3 ‘Knussen’s musical language is complex and post-serial, yet he has the knack of conjuring clarity, wit and emotion’ The Times Philharmonia / Tilson-Thomas London Sinfonietta / Knussen

Second & Third String Quartets ‘[Finnissy draws] directly on Haydn’s “Lark” quartet in No 2 and a Brucknerian structure as a model for No 3 ... fascinating essays’ The Sunday Times Kreutzer Quartet

ROB KEELEY

MELVYN TAN piano

www.nmcrec.co.uk/debut-discs

SAM HAYDEN: PRESENCE / ABSENCE Trio EKL · ELISION / Ughetti · ensemble mosaik / Poppe

mp3 / FLAC NMC DL3009

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As a pianist Rob Keeley has premiered pieces by, among others, Birtwistle and Finnissy. This new release of his own jazz-tinged compositions includes works for oboe, guitar, piano, saxophone and horn. Including Richard Watkins, Andrew Sparling, Rob Keeley, Melinda Maxwell, Darragh Morgan & Jonathan Leathwood

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Works by Skempton, Meredith, Beamish, Fitkin, Turnage, Cutler, Causton, Yarde & others Digital release of all 20 new pieces commissioned to celebrate the talent and imagination of the UK’s musical community as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. www.nmcrec.co.uk/new-music-20x12

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20/06/2012 13:06:34


COVER STORY

On the pulse Soloist, ensemble player and teacher Simone Rebello talks to Simon Benger about an early passion for percussion and passing on the baton to her students I meet Simone Rebello in the foyer of the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester. It’s somewhere I haven’t been for a while, and as we walk into the large open space of the refectory, where students and teachers hang out between classes, I am surprised to see some changes, including a bright and welcoming entrance to the new Brodsky restaurant, which opened a couple of years ago to offer a space for staff, students, visitors and concert-goers to meet. I am interested to see such a stylish addition to the college – as a Manchester native, I remember coming to watch concerts here with my dad when I was younger, and recall the space having a sort of vast and imposing concrete starkness about it. While that’s still present, it’s been relegated to the background and covered with lights and flowing wall installations. There’s a warmth and friendliness to this place that suits somewhere people convene to discuss music. As the two of us sit down to do just that, I apologise to Rebello for being something of a novice when it comes to percussion – she jokingly tells me she’ll tut every time I say something glaringly inaccurate, and we giggle. While I get the feeling her students might receive sterner treatment for more serious misdemeanours, Rebello is very relaxed and down to earth, and is perfectly at home in the RNCM, where she herself studied before graduating with a distinction and a number of prizes. Following a successful career both as an international soloist and member of a number of ensembles including BackBeat and Equivox, she returned to the college in September 2010 as head of percussion. ‘At first I wanted to play instruments that everyone else wanted to play!’ she tells me of her first forays into music – she did not start playing percussion until the age of 11. ‘I went to an allgirls school and everyone wanted to play the flute or the clarinet. So I put my name on the list and it never got to me.

‘When I was much younger, there used to be a big concert at Fairfield Hall in London for primary schools, featuring a percussion band and lots of singing, and I was so jealous of the children who played the xylophones. I used to go home and use my mother’s knitting needles to pretend I was playing! I put it to one side for a while, but when I discovered that a friend of mine was playing percussion and I realised I wasn’t getting anywhere on the flute or clarinet list, I just figured I’d give it a go.’ Learning just one instrument involves a great deal of discipline and hard work – so how does somebody get to grips with several of them? Rebello explains that a love of diversity – as well as excellent guidance from her first teacher – helped her develop quickly across a range of both tuned and untuned percussion. ‘When I started playing, I liked the fact that there were lots of different disciplines – it wasn’t just one thing, like playing violin. My teacher, Peter Thorpe, was absolutely brilliant and he rotated me around the disciplines. One week he’d come and we’d do snare drum, and the next we’d do glockenspiel or xylophone, and the next we’d look at the timpani. I liked the fact that everything was in these little compartments; of course they did cross over, but I liked that you could just go in and out of them.’

This structured approach – combined with a level of thoroughness – meant that, when she joined Croydon Music Service at a young age, Rebello was soon performing with some of the best groups there. ‘Peter was so organised and so disciplined that everything he did made sense,’ she says. ‘It meant I could get thrown into a wind orchestra and I was able to just about hold my own, as I had a scrap of knowledge on each of the disciplines. I did play other instruments; I played the piano from when I was five, and I had four very unsuccessful years playing the violin – I wouldn’t say hideous, but I wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire! While I don’t consider it essential, having that keyboard knowledge does help with tuned percussion, and I think that because my teacher took me through them all at the same time, I was ideally placed.’ You need only watch a few YouTube clips of Simone in performance – including a firecracker rendition of Xenakis’ highly original work for three djembes, Okho – to see how at home she is with contemporary percussion music, and with taking centre stage. It comes as a surprise, then, to learn that when she first arrived as a student at the RNCM she was determined to become an orchestral player. ‘I had a very fixed idea in my head that I wanted to be an orchestral player –

‘I was so jealous of the children who played the xylophones. I used to go home and use my mother’s knitting needles to pretend I was playing!’ MUSOLIFE.COM

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COVER STORY

and by the time I left, I wanted to be a solo player, which I’d never really thought of before. That’s not to say that I went off being an orchestral player, it’s just that I got introduced to lots of different types of playing – solo, ensemble, duos, quartets. The head of the school [of wind, brass and percussion] at the time, Tim Reynish, was very generous with giving me some opportunities with concerti and various concerts. From then on, I just felt that I wanted to become a soloist – my dream had changed. It was the right thing for me to do, but I’m glad I’ve got all my orchestral knowledge because 20 years later I’ve come back as the head of the department, so I need to know one end of a bass drum from the other!’ Following a formative spell as a percussionist for Foden’s Brass Band – which she balanced with teaching and work with Live Music Now – Rebello embarked upon a solo career, which has included global touring and several recordings, not least Fascinating Rhythm (1993) and A Secret Place (1995). In 1995 she co-founded the percussion quartet BackBeat, a group that would go on to receive international acclaim. Initially made up of herself, Damien Harron, Chris Bastock and Richard Charles, the group won a number of prestigious competitions in the late 1990s as a result of their exciting and innovative performances. ‘When I recorded my second album [A Secret Place],’ Rebello explains, ‘some of it was with percussion ensemble, and I was beginning to think that this might be the next direction for me to go in. With solo percussion and percussion and piano, there was still a long way to go. It’s not like we were running out of repertoire, but I just felt that, once I’d done that album, I really liked the idea of percussion with percussion. I was playing with Chris in Foden’s at the time. We knew Richard through the brass band connection, and the fourth person, Damien, was a colleague of Richard. The first performance we gave was at one of my solo gigs, so I gave a solo and then the rest was done with the group. I felt that this was going to work, so I started doing less with the piano and more with the new group.’ When I ask if she can pinpoint why BackBeat were so successful – the competitions at which they made their name included the Royal Over Seas League Competition (1997) and the Osaka International Chamber Music Festival (1999) – Rebello says, ‘it’s often the look of the thing. We’d do quite a lot of it from memory, we’d have a big interaction between us. You’ve got to understand that a lot of people will come to a gig and not leave if you give them something good to look at. ‘When the quartet went to Japan,’ she continues, ‘we were aware of the country’s great marimba tradition so we knew there was an audience for percussion. But we still had no idea whether we were going to set the world on fire or just go down like a wet weekend. I remember us talking, just before we went on to do our first round, discussing whether we should turn it down a bit. We went backwards and forwards on this, but in the end we just thought, “This is who we are. We’re going to just do it, and if they like it, hurrah! If not, then no problem.” Fortunately, they loved it! But we had no idea, and just had to go for it.’

How the performance looks and feels, its mood and dynamic, is almost as important as the music itself, she seems to be suggesting – if not more so. ‘For me, Evelyn Glennie is the marker, because she plays amazingly, but can present it right too. Your presentation has to be engaging; informative but not too much like a lecture. I wouldn’t say the onus is on you to “educate the audience”, which is a phrase I’ve always hated, but if you want people to understand what you’re doing it’s nice to be able to interact with the audience and let them know a little bit about the type of music you perform.’ Dame Evelyn Glennie is never very far away from the conversation, and Rebello speaks with a deep respect for the musician who first set the course for solo percussionists back in the 1980s. She recalls with clear excitement a number of meetings throughout her career and during her days as a student at the RNCM. Glennie ‘broke on to the scene a few years after I started playing percussion,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t ask for a better role model, or anyone who was more inspirational. The first time I met her was at a masterclass at BBC Young Musician

‘I wouldn’t say the onus is on you to “educate the audience”, which is a phrase I’ve always hated, but if you want people to understand what you’re doing it’s nice to be able to interact’

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20/07/2012 10:35:21


Antonio Vivaldi Sonatas for Violin and Basso continuo Op. 2

for violin, harpsichord (piano) and violincello Editor and Notes on interpretation: Bernhard Moosbauer Realisation of the basso continuo: Jochen Reutter Level: intermediate UT 50176

The most important violin sonatas from between Corelli and Bach • Vivaldi‘s Sonatas for violin and basso continuo (Op. 2) in one volume • Urtext based on the original 1709 edition from Venice and the important Roger edition (Amsterdam, 1711) • With detailed information on the works and performing them in practice • Practically oriented performance material including piano score with a realised basso continuo, violin solo part and a separate figured bass part • For professionals, students and enthusiasts

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Sonata II

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RV 31

Sonata II RV 31

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20/07/2012 12:39:27 14:08:50 06/07/2012


COVER STORY

‘We had no idea whether we were going to set the world on fire or just go down like a wet weekend ’

of the Year. While there was no category for percussion at the time, the main music colleges organised masterclasses with a student from each in an attempt to get everybody on board that percussion deserved a place within the competition. The masterclass was done at the RNCM in my first year and was taken by Evelyn, and I was incredibly lucky to take part in it.’ In what seemed like fate, Glennie returned to the RNCM to give another masterclass just as Rebello was making her own comeback as head of the percussion school. ‘I’d met her on a couple of occasions over the years, but it was so special to welcome her back here,’ she enthuses. ‘She gave what was almost a masterclass in giving a masterclass. It was brilliant and she really managed to engage the audience. It had humour but very straight directions for the students.’ Rebello’s couple of days a week at the RNCM are balanced out with lots of performing work, and her commitments are as varied as ever. While BackBeat’s membership has changed over the years, the group continues to perform regularly, and Rebello also plays with a number of other ensembles, particularly her trio Equivox (with pianist Peter Lawson and saxophonist Rob Buckland). Formed in 1999 after Rebello had

worked with Lawson and Buckland individually, the group offers her a refreshingly different artistic outlet to BackBeat, focusing more on jazz works by composers like Chick Corea, Barbara Thompson, Bob Mintzer and Jason Rebello (Simone’s cousin). ‘The interesting thing for me is that when it was just me and Rob, I had to do all the accompanying stuff, for obvious reasons. Having Peter there as well, I’m freed up completely – both for taking solo bits as well as for getting on to untuned percussion as well. They’re both brilliant musicians, so I don’t have to back up at any point.’ There’s also her work with other groups such as vocal organisation Young Voices and Birmingham-based contemporary music group Ex Cathedra; and her talents even extend to the world of presenting (she has introduced an array of concerts, including the recent RNCM Festival of Brass). Ensconced within the walls of the RNCM but with the freedom to work on other projects, Rebello seems happy with the way things are going. ‘The main thing,’ she concludes, ‘is trying to put what I’ve learned in my 20 years since finishing as a student at the RNCM into practice for my students now. The RNCM encourages all

its staff to be doing gigs and to be as visual as we can be, so it works very nicely in that kind of way. I’m finding all the areas that I want to work in, and I’m finding that I can do all the things I want to do without jeopardising anything. ‘For me, I’ve always said that if I’m not doing something properly, then I shouldn’t really be doing it. I’m still finding my feet of course, so I think the next two years will be really important for me because I’ve never done anything like this before – I’ve never worked for an institution such as this, so it’s kind of a leap of faith. I wasn’t sure at first how I’d feel about coming back to the same place I studied as a student. I feel like everything I’ve done since then has been on a very ad-hoc basis – you roll up, do the gig, and then “bye!” – so it’s interesting to be working in such a structured environment. But I always knew how special it would be to come back here and how much the college did for me to help me become the musician I am. ‘I know what my teachers did for me to set me up, to lead me with my eyes wide open into the real world – and I’m really keen to ensure that’s something that we carry on.’

www.simonerebello.com

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LISA FRIEND

The daughter of violinist Rodney Friend, it perhaps seemed only natural that flautist Lisa Friend would find herself making a career in the world of music – but her many achievements, from a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music (RCM) to tours around the world, ensure she has earned her status in her own right. After picking up the flute aged five, at 16 Lisa travelled to New York to study with the New York Philharmonic’s Renée Siebert, and then to Connecticut to learn from flautist Julius Baker. Then came the RCM, followed by the Paris Conservatoire, with two of the Philharmonia’s Martin Music Scholarship awards to help her along. Though this journey has given Lisa a firm grounding in the canon, she’s not afraid to experiment – and her debut solo album, Deep In My Soul, released earlier this year on Signum Classics, features a mixture of arrangements for her trio and her own original works. Toting a Verne Powell gold flute, Lisa has performed alongside some of the world’s finest orchestras including the Prague Philharmonic and Liverpool Philharmonic – and if she weren’t busy enough, she also holds her own well-received summer school, the next instalment of which takes place early August this year. In addition to her solo work, Lisa plays with her father in a duo, and in a trio with Martin Radford (cello) and Mark Kinkaid (piano). She is currently in the studio, working on some new compositions. www.lisafriend.com

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HANNAH STONE

Hannah Stone was appointed Royal Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales in June 2011. Her engagement cemented a longtime commitment to her instrument that has taken her from her home of Swansea via the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to the Guildhall School, where she obtained her Master of Music degree. Her current post gives her the opportunity to promote the harp around the UK, and perform in prestigious venues at home and abroad. One such engagement is at St Asaph Cathedral, North Wales, this September, when Hannah will give the world premiere of a new work by Karl Jenkins as part of the North Wales International Music Festival (22-29 September). The work was commissioned by the festival to celebrate the event’s 40th anniversary as well as the granting, earlier this year, of city status to St Asaph by the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee year. Hannah’s recent achievements include winning second prize at the Franz Josef Reinl Competition in Vienna, and being appointed principal harpist with the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra in 2010, touring Europe throughout that summer. She is a versatile player, and her repertoire spans everything from fiendishly difficult concerti by Mathias and Dittersdorf to jazz and show music via solo centrepieces from Spohr to Hindemith.

Hannah Stone plays St Asaph Cathedral on 25 September. For tickets, visit www.nwimf.com. www.hannahstone.co.uk

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DIGGING DEEPER

A DIFFERENT

BEAT Matt Evans meets the multidisciplinary percussionists who are ripping up the rulebook

PATTI CUDD: connoisseur of the contemporary Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and percussionist with the Zeitgeist and red fish blue fish ensembles, among others, Patti Cudd is an authoritative presence in new music. She has worked with many renowned modern composers, including Pauline Oliveros, John Zorn and Morton Feldman, and embraced some of the most challenging pieces that contemporary music has to offer. ‘My most demanding musical experiences have in most cases become the most rewarding,’ she says. ‘I’ve spent a number of years working on pieces from the New Complexity School such as Michael Finnissy’s Hinomi and James Dillon’s Tire Tike Dha. Brian Ferneyhough’s Bone Alphabet was a piece that took about nine months before I was able to play through the entire work.’ Cudd has been a percussionist since she was six years old, when her brother gave her a traditional cardboard-box drumkit. She spent her early years surrounded by polka, jazz, Hendrix and Alice Cooper, but it was as an undergraduate that she found her calling. ‘I had a teacher who inspired me, loaned me numerous records of 20th-century composers and modern ensembles. Another professor performed in a new music ensemble. I spent the

next five years going to nearly every performance they gave, as well as other new music concerts in the Twin Cities. I saw how dedicated they were to their art and realised it would take many hours of practise and hard work to achieve my goal.’ Having made the transition from student to teacher, Cudd takes a holistic approach to education.

‘My most demanding musical experiences have become the most rewarding’ 'Music is one of the few pursuits in which one must simultaneously make use of one’s physical, intellectual, and emotional-psychological abilities. I believe one must educate the whole person – mind and body. While it is important to study art for art’s sake, it is also equally important for students to recognise, experience, and value the role of art in the community, whether by tutoring elementary students, performing at a rehabilitation facility or organising a fundraiser for the local community arts centre.’ www.patticudd.com

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PATRICIA ISLAS (TEAM ISLAS): marimbas and martial arts Comprising a classically trained marimbist/ vibraphonist and a drummer well versed in jazz, Indian traditional music and death metal, Team Islas have to be one of the world’s more unlikely and intriguing percussion duos. Based in Texas, Patricia Islas and husband Doug Bush have recorded with experimental electronic artist Imogen Heap, performed with jazz musicians Gregg Bissonette and Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez, and released their own selftitled album of original compositions. ‘Music is a language,’ says Islas. ‘Just like Spanish or Japanese or sign language, it’s a way to communicate ideas and emotions across other language barriers. It can be very powerful. It can inspire and motivate and energise. It can create connections. Being someone who can fluently communicate in the language of rhythms and notes is something I aspire to, and it will continue to be a lifelong goal.’ Islas cites the likes of Keiko Abe, Björk, Michael Camillo and Chick Corea as influences, but she also takes inspiration from a surprising, nonmusical source.

‘Being someone who can fluently communicate in the language of rhythms and notes is something I aspire to’ 36

‘For five or six years Doug and I studied a Filipino style of martial arts called Kali that emphasises weapon based fighting with sticks and knives. What a perfect martial art for drummers! Not only did it influence my outlook on practising and the mental side of playing percussion, but it also affected how I taught music as well. ‘My teacher studied from a contemporary of Bruce Lee. As the founder of Jeet Kune Do [a

Kiran Ridley

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www.davedanford.co.uk

martial arts system and life philosophy], Lee emphasised the ‘style of no style’ by combining the best parts of many different styles of martial arts. I guess that’s probably a good way to explain what we are trying to do with Team Islas. By blending parts of different styles of music together we get a sound that works best for us.’ www.teamislas.com

Sherry Muldoon

An accomplished classical soloist, performing percussion concertos with the Welsh Sinfonia among others, Dave Danford is also a producer, composer and arranger working in myriad genres. His adventures in dance music have seen him collaborating with big names such as Judge Jules and Darren Tate, while Adran D and Crossfire Percussion Duo explore folk-rock and new rhythmic composition, respectively. ‘I’m always listening to a huge range of music, including classical, dance, rock, drum‘n’bass and folk,’ Danford tells me. ‘There’s no shortage of quality new music at the moment. There will always be room for innovation. ‘That’s not to say that we shouldn’t revisit things from the past, but this should be done in a contemporary way that engages with modern and, dare I say it, young audiences. ‘Every professional musician has a responsibility to ensure that our tradition keeps going, and any risk of alienating audiences needs

to be avoided at all costs.’ Danford is steeped in musical tradition, both formal and folk. As a child, he would attend the monthly Cardiff ceilidh run by his aunt and uncle. ‘Different bands would come and perform on a loud soundsystem,’ he remembers. ‘As soon as I was old enough to stand I would spend the entire night in front of the stage watching the musicians. I just knew playing music was something I wanted to be a part of.’ His enduring fascination with folk music, the way it fits into the modern world and the connections it forges between people can be heard in his work with folk/techno fusion act Taran and his own folk-rock project, the aforementioned Adran D. ‘I love every second of being on stage with Adran D,’ he says, ‘because when it comes down to it we’re six friends giving our absolute all and having a brilliant time doing it. ‘The most rewarding musical experiences are ones that are shared with fellow musicians.’

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DAVE DANFORD: folk roots and fusion

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DIGGING DEEPER

BRIAN ARCHINAL: music as architecture Type Brian Archinal’s name into Google and one of the first things you’ll see is a remarkable performance of David Lang’s The Anvil Chorus, played on scrap metal and car parts. This is a percussionist driven to experiment. ‘I doubt it now more than ever, if I can make a living from the things I am doing,’ says Archinal. ‘I wonder if I will be playing Michael Maierhof’s splitting 25.1, for prepared plastic cups and guitar strings, when I am 35. I don’t really want to think about it, I just want to depend on my musical/ technical foundations to help guide my interests of the moment.’ Now based in Switzerland, Archinal has studied with acclaimed percussionists Christian Dierstein and Steven Schick, and performed with the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), Ensemble Phoenix, and red fish blue fish. ‘My favourite performance moment is performing Iannis Xenakis’ Pleiades with red fish blue fish in 2010,’ he says. ‘We played it without a click track or conductor. Of course this quadruples the work, but in the end there is a special, communal connection I have never felt since those rehearsals and that performance. Everyone is at the edge of their being, but all together and all focused on arriving together to create powerful shared experiences.’ With his 2010 debut solo album Self | Space, Archinal sought to explore the ‘architectural’ possibilities of recorded music, and approached the stereo field as an entity in its own right. This questing, conceptual approach epitomises his whole practice, not only in the recording studio, but also on stage. 'I want to be part of a new generation of percussionists who believe that gesture and sound take an equal importance in the live performance of music. Gesture can have a narrative or perhaps musical meaning, a reason to look or move a certain way, or a concept to support or distract from the sound. Gesture is an incredibly powerful tool that can be descriptive or expressive. It must not say anything literally, but it can help drive an interpretation.’ www.brianarchinal.com

YASUAKI FUKUHARA: adventures in acid To watch Yasuaki Fukuhara whirl across the xylophone during a performance of Rieks van der Velde’s Flying Mallets is a joyous thing indeed. However, it could all have been very different, as Fukuhara originally trained in a field far removed from music. ‘I studied experimental psychology at university in Japan. After graduating, I knew I wanted to become more involved with music. One evening, just before a concert, I took the decision that music was going to be the focal part of my life.’

NICK PARNELL: reared on rock’n’roll Australian vibraphone virtuoso Nick Parnell has achieved international renown interpreting the music of Bach, Debussy and Gershwin on one of the most mellifluous instruments in the world, yet he draws inspiration from an altogether less refined source. ‘It may sound strange, but my greatest musical inspiration is rock guitarist Slash. On one level, what he plays has nothing to do with classical music. But there is a passion in his playing that inspires me to play the vibes with 110% commitment, no matter what the style of music.’ This percentage-busting rock’n’roll approach has some painful consequences. ‘My teacher had a saying, “practise until your hands bleed”. This was good advice, which I followed quite literally. I often used to get blood all over my mallets and had to clean them at the end of practise sessions. ‘I’ve had quite a few physical problems – due not only to playing, but also moving equipment.

In Japan, Fukuhara studied with Midori Osato and played with the Tokyo City Concert Brass. He later moved to Britain, where he joined the acclaimed brass ensemble the Fairey Band as principal percussionist and soloist. This demanding role requires that he perform in a range of styles. ‘In the future, genre distinctions might only be used for dividing merchandise in CD shops. Latin music, classical music or rock music is all ‘music’. Performers of classical music may learn from rock music performers and vice versa. If a player thinks that “I am a classical music player therefore I never listen to rock or pop music”, he or she may lose the opportunity to learn about music in general.’

Fortunately, I married a physiotherapist and Pilates instructor. So I’ve been able to study in depth how the body works and how to get the best out of it.’ Parnell has performed with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the English National Ballet and the Russian Ballet Company, studied with Evelyn Glennie and Uffe Savery (of Safri Duo), and has even been honoured by the Australian government. ‘You need to inject yourself into the music by bringing your own life experiences and ideas to the process,’ he says. ’This is what makes every performer sound different. The challenge for me is to find a way of interpreting this music on an instrument it was never intended for. ‘The vibraphone has only been around for less than a century. It has not been used to any significant extent in classical music – not because it is not capable of producing beautiful and meaningful classical performances, but because the right people, who are able to think in new ways about how to approach it, haven’t come along yet.’ www.nickparnell.com

Fukuhara has even had to adapt his technique to dance music, as part of Fairey’s ‘Acid Brass’ project. ‘Extending my repertoire has been very challenging,’ he says. ‘I am studying orchestral percussion, so acid music is an unknown quantity for me. Regardless of genre, I aim to perform to the highest possible level and give a good performance. I am exhausted after most performances. I welcome this feeling because I equate feeling tired with giving all my energy to my playing. If I do not feel tired, I feel disappointed and I worry whether my performance was up to standard.’ www.majestic-percussion.com/europe/artists_ fukuhara.html

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END OF

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Rex Rystedt Seattle 1984, courtesy of John Cage Trust

Many of John Cage’s works rely on context as much as content to get their message across. In the composer’s centenary year, Mark Gotham considers the potential impact on his music of a future of digital switchovers

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Early September is a fitting time for looking back. This year especially we will reflect on a short but fascinating summer, packed full of sporting and cultural festivities. At the same time, we may also look back on the life and work of the inimitable John Cage, whose centenary falls on the fifth of the month. Though some find anniversary celebrations rather tedious and meaningless, their popularity among programmers and promoters continues to be well founded. Very often, such focussed revisiting of a composer’s oeuvre reinvigorates the performance profile of their work, and not just in the short term: musicians will continue to perform works they have added to their repertoire, and the following generation may encounter that music earlier in their careers. Cage has always been something of a special case, but his work is receiving extra attention this year, including a dedicated Prom on 17 August. It is perhaps ironic, then, that plans are afoot that may mean an end to the authentic performance of some of Cage’s most iconic works. If and when the UK’s current digital switchover for TV is applied to radio, works like Cage’s Imaginary Landscape No 4 (1951), for 12 radios, will possibly face the unusual prospect of a last performance. In the piece, performers are required to tune their radios to frequencies according to numbers specified in the score. The result is therefore a largely unpredictable mixture of static noise with varied broadcast content, including spoken word and music of whatever style and genre happens to be playing. Without analogue radio broadcasting, the piece becomes a historical idea, locked into a specific time and passing into the past along with the machines on which its existence relies. We could, hypothetically, transcribe the work for future ages by programming some randomised combination of noise with samples of (digitally) broadcast content, but really this would be a different piece.

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WIRED WORLD

It is inevitable that some of the work that best observes its present also risks a short lifespan, doomed to increasing irrelevance as that social – and, here, technological – context becomes ever more remote. The future relevance of Imaginary Landscape No 4 partly depends on the future of music reproduction. As long as we continue to encounter music via randomised playlists, at least the eclectic aspect of this and other Cage works will have an enduring resonance. It seems, however, that the ‘noise’ component would play a greatly reduced role. Perhaps this is a timely reminder that we can be too fixated on, well, the fixity of music. As a temporal art, music is transitory by nature. It does not have a physical existence in the way that paintings and sculptures do. Performance is ephemeral and however one conceives of a score, it is under-determinate of the musical result, especially in works that deliberately incorporate indeterminate elements – a tradition with which Cage is intimately associated.

over these concerns. I also very much doubt that any of this would have bothered Cage himself, who constantly undermined the notion of ‘the composer’ in favour of chance-based processes and anarchic ‘happenings’. Cage was not the sort of person to hold on to a work in the face of inexorable external forces (notwithstanding such seemingly contradictory acts as putting his authorial stamp on silence itself!). In fact, Cage might well have been excited by a kind of mystical cyclicism that links the theoretical end of Imaginary Landscape No 4 to its earliest performances, which were fraught with complications. Rehearsals for the premiere seemed straightforward enough, but by the time of the late-night performance, most radio stations within range had gone off air, leaving a dim chance of hitting any at the prescribed frequencies. The result consisted almost exclusively of various shades of static. That first performance, then, was an ominous precursor of what any post-switchover performances might be like.

‘WITHOUT ANALOGUE RADIO BROADCASTING, THE PIECE BECOMES A HISTORICAL IDEA, LOCKED INTO A SPECIFIC TIME AND PASSING INTO THE PAST ALONG WITH THE MACHINES ON WHICH ITS EXISTENCE RELIES.’ An emphasis on the immediacy and singularity of musical experience is behind projects such as site-specific installations conceived for a particular space at a certain time – and there is much to be said for such experiments. However, many creative artists do quite legitimately need to believe in a longer future for their work, whether as part of their motivation or as justification for the time and effort they will expend on it. Cage’s radio music is not the only repertoire to (potentially) lose the environment upon which it depends. One iconic example is the electronic music written by Stockhausen and others for the composer’s ‘spherical concert hall’ concept – a distribution of loudspeakers – which was designed and built for the 1970 World Expo in Osaka, Japan. Although this structure could be rebuilt, more than four decades have followed in which no one has done so. Of course there is a huge logistical undertaking to consider here – but other improbably expensive ventures, including more by Stockhausen, have been known to be revived, and frequently. Indeed, in August, as part of the London 2012 Festival, Birmingham will be treated to a performance by the Birmingham Opera Company of the infamous Helicopter String Quartet, a work that has been put on (or rather, ‘taken off’) several times since its premiere in 1995, despite the obvious practical difficulties. In any case, I doubt that those responsible for planning the switchover are losing any sleep

Worse still, the third performance was given in a hall impenetrable to radio signal – and therefore comprised total silence. Cage had intended the piece to be very quiet – in fact, he claims that he wrote his other two main radio pieces, Speech (1955) and Radio Music (1956), ‘to please the people who were disturbed over Imaginary Landscape No 4 because it was so quiet’ – but he did not mean it to be silent. That silent performance was an unexpected precursor of another of Cage’s works gestating at that time: the even more iconic 4’33’’, which premiered just a few months later in August 1952. 4’33’’ continues to be ‘performed’ frequently and shows every sign of continuing to shock, provoke and inspire audiences both present and future. In an unusual turn, it was even recently championed as a prospective Christmas No 1. The absence of any practical limitation to its performance is obviously helpful in keeping it in the public consciousness – but the attraction clearly amounts to more than that. Who knows what the future holds for performances of Cage’s other music – or what effect his centenary will have? At least the Halberstadt performance of As Slow as Possible is set to run for another 628 years...

To find out how and where the life and work of John Cage is being celebrated near you, visit: www.johncage.org

ENGAGE WITH CAGE Celebrations of John Cage’s centenary are going on all over the world. Here’s where to get involved in the UK: › PROM 47: CAGE 17 August, 7.45pm Royal Albert Hall, London An immersive programme put together by conductor Ilan Volkov sees a huge cast of musicians performing a detailed evening of Cage’s works, beginning with 101 and ending with Branches. John Tilbury plays the Concerto for Prepared Piano and Orchestra, while the centrepiece is a half-hour merger of Atlas eclipticalis/Winter Music with Cartridge Music. www.bbc.co.uk/proms › ONE / OO DAYS – A CAGE EXCHANGE 5 September – 14 December Global A 100-day period of interaction with Cage’s works, influences and effects begins on his birthday and continues into December. The project, spearheaded by the ‘made in art’ collective and collaborators, invites artists from anywhere in the world to set up any kind of public interaction – from music to poetry via theatre, visual art exhibitions, publications and more – that engages with Cage’s oeuvre and ideas. To express an interest in organising a happening, visit: www.madeinart.weebly.com/one--00-days.html › SILENCE & TRANSMISSION 20 September, 7.30pm An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway, Scotland Stornoway’s multi-arts An Lanntair centre hosts Peter Urpeth (on piano, radio and phonographs) and ensemble for an evening programme including 4’33’’ and Imaginary Landscape No 5. www.lanntair.com › GETTING NOWHERE: A CAGE CENTENARY FESTIVAL 14-17 November University of York An international festival and conference organised by students and staff of the University of York, Getting Nowhere comprises events ranging from performances to papers and panels and promises four packed days of talks, tea breaks and evening concerts. The proposal process – for performances and 20-minute papers – is open until 1 August. Participants will be notified on 3 September. www.gettingnowhere.org

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BE PREPARED

WATCH YOUR BACK

What is your instrument to you? Is it a companion, your hobby, or your livelihood? Chances are, it’s all three – making it a valuable item indeed. Sorting out insurance is one of a musician’s less exciting responsibilities, and it can be difficult to know what kind of cover you need. Muso lends a hand > WHAT DO YOU DO?

First of all, think about what stage of your career you’re at. Perhaps you’re of school age, still living at home and practising mostly within the house but taking your instrument out a couple of times a week to your teacher’s place or an after-school band. Maybe you’re about to move to college or university, taking your instrument with you to a student house or halls that might not be as secure an environment as your set-up at home. Or maybe you’re embarking on a professional career, stepping up from recitals at the conservatoire and the odd local gig to your first national or even international tour. Your circumstances affect where you need to take, and what you need to do with, your instrument – and therefore how vulnerable it is to damage, loss or theft.

> WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?

The type of instrument you play affects the kind and level of insurance you’ll need to get. Unless they were to scale an ingenious high-tech operation, thieves are very unlikely to steal your harp – but a quick snatch of a clarinet case is a simple enough feat. ‘There are different rates for different instruments to reflect the risk that you have,’ explains Paul Crump of specialist music insurers New Moon Insurance Services. ‘So for example a piano is a lower risk than a flute. Bows are more susceptible to damage than a double bass, and the smaller the item the more vulnerable. Obviously it’s very difficult to walk out of somewhere with a double bass under your arm!’ After the type of instrument comes the price – and how that value measures up, proportionately, against your own finances. ‘Look at the risk that you actually have in your financial position,’ Crump says. ‘Somebody who has a thousand-pound flute, that might be their life savings and that means it’s very important that they insure it. But for somebody else, that might be their third or fourth flute, and they’re not that bothered about it. So it’s not easy to say, yes, definitely insure a flute, don’t insure a piano, or insure to this value – individuals should assess their own risk and say, well, if I lost that, or if it was stolen, or if I dropped it and it was damaged, could I afford to repair it, replace it? Could I afford to hire out another instrument while it’s being repaired? And if the answer is yes, then they don’t need to insure, but for a lot of people the answer is no.’

> WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

Don’t just think about the value of your property in monetary terms – consider how you would feel if you lost a family heirloom, or a trusty steed that’s seen you through some particularly taxing exams. ‘Most people have selected their instrument, they’ve played on it for years, it may have been passed down the family,’ Crump comments. ‘It may not actually be a very financially valuable instrument, but emotionally the attachment to it is almost priceless. We had somebody who had a £5,000 bow, but it was from her grandma, it had been passed down the family to her. She was just as upset at having that damaged as somebody would be who had a £50,000 bow.’ It’s almost impossible to quantify sentimental value, of course – and if something feels irreplaceable to you, then when it’s gone, it’s gone, whether you’ve got insurance or not – but at least the knowledge that you can afford to repair or partway replace a treasured instrument will soften the blow of something happening to the original.

> WHERE DO YOU GO?

Think about where you’re likely to take your instrument, and how it’s going to get there. If you’re undertaking a global tour, consider the journeys in between the locations you’re playing as well as the dates themselves. Insurers tend to offer ‘home’ and ‘worldwide’ cover, though ‘there are some insurers who offer European cover,’ Crump says. ‘But they don’t actually define what Europe is. Obviously somewhere like France is straightforward, but some Eastern European countries, are they Europe? Or are they worldwide? Musicians need to understand this when selecting their covers – it can become quite subjective, so make sure the policy covers your requirements and if in doubt, always go worldwide.’

> WHY GO SPECIALIST?

You might wonder why you can’t just get your instrument covered as part of your contents insurance. But as with any specialist area, it always helps to work with people who understand your specific needs – and music insurance providers have developed and tailored their policies to suit the reality of musicians’ lives and demands. ‘A true specialist insurer understands how the musician will use their instrument, and has the cover required for those circumstances,’ Crump says. ‘If you have an insurer who understands what you’re talking about, and also where to get items repaired quickly, and how to help you, that must be an advantage. Specialist policy will automatically include such things as hire costs. Effectively the customer will get enhanced protection, wider cover and extensions which enable them to carry on playing their musical instrument. If you speak to your general insurer, they will tell you that you are covered, but actually most people aren’t covered for the real risks, which as a performer is when you’re actually playing the instrument, or when you leave the instrument in an orchestra pit or rehearsal room, etc. Most household policies require you to have what they call forcible/ violent theft, where someone has to actually break down the door – whereas our policy, in those circumstances, will allow theft cover without force or violence.’

> WHAT IF THINGS CHANGE?

You may have no plans to start touring right now – but musicians’ career paths can often take unexpected turns. A specialist music insurer will understand that your circumstances are always evolving, and that you may need to tweak or extend your policy at any time.

> WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO THINK ABOUT?

It’s becoming increasingly common for venues to request that performers provide their own public liability insurance – that is, insurance against damages awarded to members of the public because of an injury or damage to their property (mic stands and eyes don’t mix). ‘If you start performing at weddings or social events, you will find now that the venues insist that you have liability insurance,’ Crump explains. ‘Somebody who plays the harp might want to supplement their income as a student by doing the occasional wedding, and they’ll be put in a hotel or similar – and those are the people that are now asking for the individual to have public liability cover. There’s no need to buy it if you don’t need it, but it’s nice to know you can come to us if you do.’

MUSOLIFE.COM

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Rambert Music Fellowship A unique opportunity for a post graduate level composer to work in music for contemporary dance, beginning in October 2012.

András Schiff

Rambert Dance Company is Britain’s leading contemporary dance company. We create and tour a varied repertoire throughout the UK, and we are seeking an exceptional individual to work with our Music Director, choreographers and dancers. The successful candidate will be an exceptional creative personality, collaborative and communicative. She or he will be able to make the most of the opportunities we offer, for the benefit of the company’s music programme. The part-time fellowship is grant-funded for one year. We are particularly interested in hearing from those who also have experience as an animateur.

G R E AT P E R F O R M A N C E - L I V E !

For a job description and application form, please visit rambert.org.uk or send an A4 SAE for 90p to Celeste Holder, Rambert Dance Company, 94 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 1SH.

Box Office: 01256 844244 www.anvilarts.org.uk

Closing date for applications: Noon on Monday 13 August 2012 Interviews held: Monday 3 September 2012

The Anvil, Churchill Way, Basingstoke, Hants. RG21 7QR

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PRODUCT REVIEWS FILM BY AVAILABLE

Everything Everywhere All the Time Pierre-Alain Giraud Out now to view at icelandiccinema.com for €3; double DVD package out later this year via Bedroom Community

‘That’s concentrated evil!’ scowls Ben Frost, waffing about a small plastic bag of volcanic ash. The 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull caused havoc for the Whale Watching Tour – Frost’s collaborative jaunt around Europe with his Bedroom Community labelmates Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon and label founder Valgeir Sigurðsson – leaving Nico and Sam stuck in New York, Ben stranded in Iceland and Valgeir waiting patiently in an empty Barbican Hall, Skyping. A rescheduled London concert went ahead six months later – but after a long time apart, the players were disappointed with the show. Violist Nadia Sirota describes the touring gang as ‘a group full of aggressive personalities’– and you quickly understand that Pierre-Alain Giraud’s film is not a portrayal of a hunky dory Von Trapp jolly, but an honest presentation of the reality of putting on a complicated event, using complicated ideas and co-operating with complicated people. Frost frequently clashes with the tour manager, and the agitation when the group realise just how out of practise they are is palpable (the first soundcheck devolves into an unstructured workshop). Frost, struggling to meld his more loosely schooled musical background with Muhly’s classical training, exclaims that getting their attitudes and practices to synchronise is ‘like forcing two different species to fuck’. ‘[Classical music], it’s a language that is based on data, in a way,’ he continues. ‘It’s translation of data. I don’t have that data set.’ Later, Amidon describes one of his performances as ‘a form of acting’, demonstrating how he can make his eyes soften as he sings ‘stories of love and loss’ while in his head he’s actually wondering what might be for dinner tonight, or what film they’re going to watch on the tour bus. This is quite a startling admission for an audience to swallow, especially given the nature of Amidon’s exceptionally intimate folk music, and although he’s goofing around a bit here, it’s still a subtly wry statement about the banality of touring – which, he says, ‘reduces one to the state of a small child whose needs are wireless and food.’ Still, there’s plenty of backstage humour, and it’s warming to see that, despite their spats or the differences between these disparate musicians’ crafts, the magnetism that drew them together in the first place – Frost was so taken by Iceland and his instant bond with Sigurðsson that he moved there from Australia after only two days of working with him – is still very strong. Interspersed with live footage (one disc of the forthcoming double DVD package will be a full concert) and a fascinating look inside Reykjavík’s Greenhouse Studios, this is an interesting insight into the processes and personalities of four of contemporary music’s most engaging figures. Lauren Strain

MUSOLIFE.COM

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All products on this page are available from the RhinegoldSHOP at shop.rhinegold.co.uk

BOOK BY FROM PRICE AVAILABLE

Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music Tricia Tunstall WW Norton & Co £17.99 Out now

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The Oxford History of Western Music, College Edition Richard Taruskin and Christopher H Gibbs Oxford University Press, USA £50 Out now

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PRODUCTS

Music as Alchemy: Journeys with Great Conductors and their Orchestras Tom Service Faber and Faber £18.99 Out now

Changing Lives provides a guide to the origins of the now legendary ‘El Sistema’ music education programme and its extraordinary results, leading to an assessment of how the concept is surviving its transplantation from Venezuela to a US context, not least in connection with Sistema headliner Gustavo Dudamel’s own transfer to the music directorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Perhaps the most difficult challenge faced by Tricia Tunstall here was to reduce the raw passion and vibrant colour we associate with El Sistema to the considered confines of a ‘mere’ book – like caging a tiger. Indeed, I feared the worst on first sight of a rather tired-looking dust jacket and something of an academic feel to the page design. However, what makes Changing Lives work extremely well is a combination of plentiful engaging interview material and an evocative sense of place/event as Tunstall travels from scenes of deprivation in Venezuela to gleaming international concert halls, and to schools in North America now lapping up El Sistema. Tunstall has a keen eye for descriptive detail, not least when it comes to individual reactions to those familiar, riotous performances by the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. The book is perhaps a shade too long, but its chief virtue is that Tunstall doesn’t overanalyse. She allows El Sistema largely to speak for itself via interviews with figures ranging from its founding father José Antonio Abreu and Dudamel himself to young musicians with personal stories to tell of lives transformed and horizons lifted. One line, from an 11 year old who lives near a huge Venezuelan rubbish dump, sums things up: ‘Before I used to get in a lot of fights... but now, when I get really angry, I grab my arm as if it were my violin and start practising my fingerings.’ Moments like this are amazing. Let’s hope that before long we have a British counterpart to this book – and may our native temperament not prove to have caged that tiger.

Aimed at the college music student, this single volume condenses Richard Taruskin’s six-volume history into a most attractive and useful textbook – though ‘condensed’ is hardly the appropriate adjective for a tome of more than 1,200 pages. Supplementary resources include a free companion website, three anthologies of scores (sold separately), and an 18-month subscription to Oxford Music Online. The latter is a real bonus, for it constitutes a portal to Grove Music Online, The Oxford Companion to Music and The Oxford Dictionary of Music – thus, the content of all three of these extras is available for instant electronic search, providing a truly helpful modern-age reference tool. (The availability of this online feature endures for eighteen months, or until 31 December 2016.) Though the event did not mark the origin of music, nor the appearance of any particular musical repertory, the book’s account begins with the first literate repertory in the West, connected to the Catholic Church: Gregorian chant. As with the rest of the text, the description is commendably clear, well-written and wideranging in its references, placing works and events within their global cultural, social, and political contexts. Period maps, diagrams, illustrations and musical examples appear in generous abundance. Chapter summaries, key terms, study questions and a glossary are provided – and a tasteful use of colour enhances the pages. Most musicians will have their favourite ways to test such a publication, whether it's looking up a particular topic or era about which one is expert (Josquin or Jazz, Monteverdi or Mahler), or seeing how up-to-date and broadminded the contributions are. It is in this that the Oxford History excels. Begin, for example, with the subject of Rock‘n’Roll, to see a timeline that mentions Elvis Presley, the Vietnam War, Terry Riley’s In C, the Stonewall Riots, Miles Davis and Bitches Brew, Henryk Górecki’s Third Symphony and the founding of IRCAM through to Pärt, Reich, Glass, John Adams’ Doctor Atomic and other topics, and you’ll understand what I mean.

If the conductor is the alchemist, what does that make the orchestra? Base metal? Merely the equipment for turning a worthless substance into gold? A journalist and broadcaster, Tom Service explains that his fascination with the figure of the conductor began in childhood. But his book does not descend into fawning reverence, ignoring or belittling the contribution of the musicians. What could have been a series of hagiographies is actually an intelligent account of the working methods of six conductor-orchestra partnerships – the London Symphony Orchestra (Service also chucks in Gergiev’s World Orchestra for Peace), the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmoniker, and the Budapest and Lucerne Festival Orchestras. Service communicates the differences in result and process well, and is alert to those moments where an orchestra appears to be acting against received wisdom – the Berlin Phil works because, not in spite, of the fact that its musicians play like soloists; Gergiev’s famously trembling hands are not a nightmare to follow. And he listens to what the musicians have to say, too. There is an occasional fondness for hyperbole. One performance may have been the result of ‘psychokinesis’; another was ‘a huge existential voyage from one way of being to another’. On another occasion, ‘there was not a single musician on stage who did not give themselves completely to their performance, musically, intellectually, and physically’, and an audience for Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique weren’t ‘just watching something happen to a fictional hero on a journey to the destruction of his body and soul, but going through it all ourselves’. Admittedly this is a problem afflicting many critics when lost for words faced with superlative performance, perhaps especially when writing in long form – but I do wish they’d get it looked at. Service, however, is much more attentive to the inner workings of an orchestra than most allow themselves to be, and that is refreshing.

Andrew Green

John Robert Brown

Toby Deller

MUSOLIFE.COM

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PLAYTIME

STAR CD

CD ARTIST LABEL AVAILABLE

46

Brahms Piano Music Leon McCawley SOMM Out now

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Architecture of Loss Valgeir Sigurðsson Bedroom Community 24 September

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Scarlatti Sonatas Irina Zahharenkova Classical Records Out now

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Chopin: The Complete Preludes Vanessa Perez Telarc Out now

Peter Dickinson described Leon McCawley’s Gramophone Critics’ Choice-winning recording of Barber’s piano music as ‘admirably and intelligently delivered’ – a phrase that suggests not only great playing, but also a sensitive approach. It is a judgment that lends itself easily to McCawley’s latest recording, a collection of Brahms’ works for piano. The record opens with the Op 24 Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, which, although undoubtedly a work of brilliant craftsmanship, is renowned for being difficult to present convincingly, perhaps due primarily to its uncompromising length. McCawley’s reading has a real air of authority, however: the theme is played with a harpsichordlike crispness to expose the melody, while each of the following variations is stylish and precise. In the closing fugue, McCawley really communicates what is some of Brahms’ finest overtly contrapuntal writing. The 16 Waltzes Op 39 are quite a different proposition, and pay homage to the classical Viennese tradition of Schubert (whose own set of waltzes for piano clearly inspired these pieces). The pieces, miniature dances, are subtle and full of invention, conditions that very much favour McCawley’s style. McCawley closes the collection with the Six Pieces Op 118, one of Brahms’ final sets of piano works. The romantic storminess of Nos 1, 3 and 6 is put across with real force, and I equally like that he doesn’t dwell too long on some of the lusher moments in the set, particularly in the A major Intermezzo, which is often played quite schmaltzy.

For someone whose collaboration credits include names as disparate as Nico Muhly, CocoRosie and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Valgeir Sigurðsson’s teaming with New York choreographer Stephen Petronio to score his dance piece Architecture of Loss suggests a kinship with a man whose own CV (work with Beastie Boys, Nick Cave and Wire) indicates a willingness to embrace the initially incongruous. In his choreography, Petronio has demonstrated dance’s temporal nature; the memory of the result was all he had to show for the creative process it took to get there. Listened to separately, Sigurðsson’s soundtrack remains strongly connected to that message. The Icelander introduces lightly fingered piano motifs and strings only for them to soon dissolve; some return, others remain only as vestigia. A tension is held throughout, even as the composer gradually alters the landscape, substituting more orthodox instrumentation for the sort of subtle electronic embellishment he perfected during eight years working with Björk. Sometimes he uses overt thematic devices: Reverse Erased and Big Reveal, for instance, have the sense of ticking time in their stoical, forwardly moving march, while the abrasive coda to World Without Ground erases its previous violatinctured elegance. Architecture of Loss’ most pleasing aspect, though, is how fully- realised it feels, with Sigurðsson, on what is effectively his third solo LP, finally sounding confident in his own voice after more than a decade contentedly working in the shadows of others.

The colossal range of mood, style and characterisation in Scarlatti’s iconoclastic keyboard sonatas never ceases to amaze. There are well over 500 of them, largely composed in relative musical isolation at the court of Queen Maria Barbara in Spain, from 1729. They contain transcendental leaps, runs, arpeggios, evocations of guitars, drums, trumpets, courtly ceremonies, dances and much more. Emotionally, the range is universal – and the gifted Estonian pianist Irina Zahharenkova has selected 16 of the lesser performed sonatas for an impressive disc that shows just what a remarkably varied and original master Scarlatti was. Zahharenkova has razor-sharp clarity and is therefore able to make a strong impression in the brilliant passagework that is so demanding in this music. But she can be elegant, teasing and flirtatious, too, especially in the slower sonatas – such as in the D major K145 and the most famous piece on the disc, the Sonata in D minor K213. It is perhaps Zahharenkova’s study of the harpsichord that is responsible for her stylistic integrity here. Certainly her wild and wonderfully flexible rhythmic daring reminds one of the very best historic performance practice artists. Decisions relating to phrasing, pacing and shaping are always tastefully considered and realised – but never boringly academic. Her wide range of tonal colour and touch is also admirable. The playing across tracks eight to 11 does not quite match the spontaneous creativity of the rest of the recital, but overall this is a most valuable addition to the catalogue.

Chopin’s extraordinary 24 Preludes amount to a monumental pianistic edifice that is one of the cornerstone works in the piano repertoire. There have been literally dozens of admirable recordings made of this tragic masterpiece over the decades – so it is extremely courageous for the Venezuelan virtuoso Vanessa Perez to tackle it head on. Certainly Perez’s approach is bold and fearless. She has technique in abundance (listen to the F sharp minor and D minor preludes) and the confidence to project her ideas. In quieter, more reflective moments, her Chopin can also be improvisatory and searching. However, Perez’s chief weaknesses are evident in the ‘easier’ preludes, such as those in A major and B, A and E minor. Here and elsewhere she indulges in too many accents. Chopin’s lines need to sing, float and glide with seamless effortlessness – Perez needs to listen more carefully in practise and eliminate her ‘bumps’ and weak beat stresses. Her funky, off-beat left-hand stresses in the dynamically charged G sharp minor prelude are original, but ultimately would be more appropriate in Ginastera or Villa Lobos. Make no mistake, this is powerhouse piano playing – but Chopin needs a little more delicacy, intimacy and vocal evocation if it is to soar to the heights it can reach under the hands of a Rubinstein, or a Claudio Arrau (who has expressed admiration for this artist). As ‘fillers’ we have a technically impeccable rendering of the posthumous prelude No 26 in A flat, along with the great Op 49 Fantasie and Op 60 Barcarolle.

Simon Benger

Simon Jay Catling

Murray McLachlan

MMcL

MUSOLIFE.COM

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PLAYTIME

YOUR REVIEWS

CD ARTISTS LABEL AVAILABLE

Ancient Future Willits + Sakamoto Ghostly International 6 August

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Nonparallel (In Four Movements) Damian Valles Experimedia Out now

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Random Roads Collection PROJECT Trio Tummy Touch Records Out now

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Veni, Veni Emanuel: MacMillan Series Vol I Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, James MacMillan, Colin Currie, Gordon Nikolic Proper Note Out now

Christopher Willits and Ryuichi Sakamoto team up for a second collaboration, following 2008’s Ocean Fire. Here, Sakamoto’s compositions meet Willits’ glitch and loop manipulations in six movements that precess magisterially from softly sculpted textural weightlessness to solidly grounded swathes of languid, ribcage-juddering bass baths. Ancient Future compresses a huge amount of listening into slightly over half an hour, and time is of the essence. Sakamoto’s piano notes are seized and held hostage to the burn and crackle of electronica; they are rewound and probed, and prodded and massaged under the digital microscope. Acoustic elements seemingly transform themselves before the ears from keyboard to strings, with all the effortless confidence of a conjuring trick. Ancient Future pulls off one astonishing musical deception on the ears after another. Not least of these is the impression that the sounds are emanating from every point on the stereo picture until they seemingly resonate from the interior world. It’s worth pondering just how much more impressively immersive Ancient Future would be in a surround-sound mix. Organic rhythms pulsate with a very human energy, while ghosted melodies wriggle and writhe like questing thoughts seeking answers. The balance achieved between acoustic airiness and the occasionally claustrophobic digital grounding in physical presence is so precise that the music frequently gets right below the skin – often feeling like it’s bypassing the act of hearing along the way.

Nonparallel (In Four Movements) is constructed entirely from randomly selected samples, which Damian Valles has taken from original vinyl copies of the Nonesuch label’s extensive back catalogue of avantgarde classical and computer music (originally released in the Sixties and Seventies). Although the composers whose material Valles manipulates include such luminaries of the era as Charles Ives, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter and Stefan Wolpe, it seems like an immense challenge for even the most dedicated of musicologists to identify a single one of the included fragments. The hiss and crackle of the old records forms an integral part of the resulting crawling, crepitating whirr of glitch and thrum. One result of the intensive slicing, dicing and processing is that it sometimes feels like Valles has slung the sounds bodily into a wind tunnel, there to be shredded on the blades of a turbine stropping through trails of smoke and light, the flickering strobes allowing for detailed examinations. Ramping up the volume reveals layers of sound as all-encompassing as any real or imaginary soundtrack – but one that is played back at a glacially unfolding speed that emphasises the dense, widescreen resolution of what Valles has so painstakingly built. The distance from the source material is such that Nonparallel’s whole is not so much greater than the sum of the parts involved, but transcendently extrapolative of them. The samples are churned and blended into a mixture that exemplifies the notion of 100% recycled sound.

PROJECT Trio is a three-person band formed in 2005, comprising Greg Pattillo (beats and flute), Eric Stephenson (cello) and Peter Seymour (double bass). Their new album, Random Roads Collection, gathers together some of the highlights from their first three albums in a useful set. The pieces included push the boundaries of conventional classical chamber music, with the band embracing quirky elements of jazz, funk and hip-hop. The tracks are surprisingly distinctive, each demonstrating the instruments’ vast range of capabilities. Of specific note are the cheeky Dup Dup and Sweet Pea, as well as the upbeat and rodeoesque Grass. Three Movie Scenes, which incorporates three contrasting and convincing ‘mini-pieces’, is particularly interesting in its instrumental reach. But what really makes Random Roads Collection exciting is Pattillo’s talent on the flute – and his ability to seamlessly blend the conventional and the, well, unconventional (for which he’s become quite famous). He mixes beatboxing with the more traditional capacities of the instrument to produce a winning combination, both in the lively works such as Grass and on the quiet, atmospheric numbers such as Cherry Blossoms and Arco:Pizz (the latter of which works better than the disc’s lengthier pieces, such as Visual Machine). This collection of interesting urban sounds is captivating, and anyone who enjoys jazz and funk but is seeking a different take on conventional chamber music should check it out.

James MacMillan is one of today’s most prolific composers. This first release in a four-part series with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, for whom he is principal guest conductor, features A Deep but Dazzling Darkness for solo violin, small ensemble and tape, Í (a Meditation on Iona) for strings and percussion, and the title work, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, a concerto for percussion and orchestra, premiered by Evelyn Glennie in 1992. Each of the discs in this new MacMillan set includes a world premiere, and for this first it’s A Deep but Dazzling Darkness (2001). Interpreted by Serbian violinist Gordan Nikolic, a haunting opening courtesy of tape orchestration gives way to a successful execution of MacMillan’s emotive and climatic lines. Í (a Meditation on Iona), meanwhile, boasts colourful percussion – and, despite a slight tension from the lack of harmonic resolution, it is tranquil and communicative. On this occasion, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel features the playing of Colin Currie. As with Í (a Meditation on Iona), this piece is heavily influenced by MacMillan’s Catholic faith, and is divided into eight short virtuosic sections, which alternate between expectancy and celebration. The brass and woodwind sections excel; the fragments of melody are dance-like, with the mediaeval ‘hocket’ compositional technique at play. The sleeve notes state that ‘the music of James MacMillan may often be heard and understood on more than one level’ – and that is certainly the case here.

Richard Fontenoy

RF

Francesca King

Francesca Treadaway

MUSOLIFE.COM

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RHINEGOLD MUSIC, DRAMA & EDUCATION GUIDES

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PLAYTIME

BRIEFLY NOTED CD ARTISTS LABEL AVAILABLE

Meraner Curmusik Musica Saeculorum, Philipp von Steinaecker ORF Out now

Meraner Curmusik is a beautiful and instantly feel-good collection of musical arrangements, from popular waltzes to opera extracts by Wagner, Puccini, Lehár, Johann Strauss II and Mascagni. With it, director Philipp von Steinaecker and his ensemble Musica Saeculorum have recreated the atmosphere of the 19th-century European spa town ‘musical amusement’, where small orchestras would entertain audiences in ballrooms or casinos, or from the comfort of the guests’ beach chairs. The fact that this 13-track disc is the result of one long live recording encapsulates this atmosphere all the better. (FK)

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!BlurMyEyes EP Aaron Roche New Amsterdam Records Out now

A certain impression of incoherency is given when a record is listed as ‘classical/folk/noise’. But up-and-coming Brooklyn-based visionnaire Aaron Roche's ethereal and melancholy !BlurMyEyes EP is far from incoherent: the composer successfully blends the realms of classical and folk in an avant-garde mix of pure, unadulterated noise, and the choice orchestration sources a sort of apprehensive magic that enables this record to stand alone in character. The sense of trepidation and climax roused by Roche’s haunting vocal contributions – particularly on the title track – help make his first musical offering for the New Amsterdam label memorable. (FT)

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Anthems Russell Watson Sony Masterworks Out now

This is, apparently, the year of patriotism. And why should Russell Watson not jump aboard the bandwagon? Anthems is – surprise, surprise! – a fitting tribute to this so-called year of the British. Devotion is the order of the day, from emotional opener Race to the End (the theme from Chariots of Fire) to Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem. God Save the Queen is poignant and profound, while Queen classic We Are the Champions proves a rousing cover, swapping rock’n’roll for orchestral accompaniment. Watson is on form, with velvety vocals and stirring arrangements. This is a glossy if somewhat sentimental addition to 2012’s soundtrack. (FT)

OUT FROM THE SHADOWS

Conjuring spirits with Manchester duo Ghosting Season Hi guys – and congrats on your debut album, The Very Last of the Saints, which has been getting some great reviews. You couldn’t describe your music as ‘classical’, but the mood and scope of your instrumental pieces are clearly influenced by some classical artists and styles. Can you tell us a little bit about how contemporary classical music might have filtered into your work? We’re both huge fans of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt, as well as more contemporary artists like Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds. We appreciate the uses of dynamics and emotion that these composers have, and like to think that we use it in our music too. We also come from backgrounds of playing classical instruments, so this has helped with composing in a big way! And how about your other influences, more from the worlds of ambient/soundscapes/ techno/dance – are there any figures that loom particularly large for you? We tend to listen to a lot of electronic and droney-ambient artists ranging from Richard Skelton and Shackleton to Apparat, The Sight Below and Walls. The ambient and drone sides lend themselves well to techno and dance music. And how about the non-musical things that feed into your music? Your press release references Victoriana and taxidermy (!), and it’s clear from your name and your artwork/photos that there’s an element of fascination with things that are strange or ethereal... ‘ghostly’ shall we say! Where does the interest in this aesthetic come from, do you think? Haha, yes, we are into all things a little otherworldly! That world is an interesting one to delve into, and the images fit nicely with our sounds. The taxidermy collection is growing. Enigmatic! OK, so tell us a little bit about the story behind your debut album, The Very Last of the Saints. Is there a narrative at all to the record? Do you feel like it has a particular message – or do you think of it more as a collection of moods/scenes, etc...? There’s always an underlying atmosphere

running through our music, and we wanted the album to progress and evolve from our previous output. The album builds and drops, and there is a lot of tension within the music. Are there any tracks on there that stand out for you personally? Time Without Question was the first track on the album to be completed, and after listening back we realised that the direction of the album was going to be very electronic and dance music orientated. As the track was developing we were getting ideas on how the other pieces would fit into the record as a whole. How do you feel your work as Ghosting Season has progressed from your work in your previous guise, worriedaboutsatan? Do you feel like your sound has evolved and, if so, in what ways (and why)...? Whereas before we traded in lush atmospherics and minimal beats, this new record feels likes its energy is focused on the dancefloor. We were trying to set a mood in a different way, bringing together more rhythm based elements that are indebted to late night techno, but at the same time not wanting to lose our love of soundscapes. You do quite a bit of remix work, and Tom, you help pay the bills composing incidental music and soundtracks. How do these activities feed into your work as Ghosting Season, do you think...? The best thing about remixing is getting to learn how other artists write and arrange their music, so it’s interesting to learn how other people work. Sometimes you can take bits of this and use it in your own stuff. And finally, what are you working on at the moment – can you give us a glimpse of what the next few months hold for Ghosting Season? We’re always working on new material, but we can’t give away any details just yet on that! We have a lot of remixes on the go, DJ mixes, and live performances in the schedule, which for now is keeping us busy and out of trouble.

Ghosting Season’s The Very Last of the Saints is out now on Last Night on Earth. www.ghostingseason.co.uk

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IN FOCUS

starting scenes The rise of the intimate classical gig has not gone unnoticed by established musical outfits, who are increasingly looking to small, independent nights for inspiration. Francesca Treadaway reports – and finds out what it takes to cut it as a classical promoter Reading the revolution We are all familiar with the concept of a ‘gig’ and what it might involve; rock‘n’roll music, being thrown around by sweaty fans and coming away with signed merchandise. Gigs can feel like unregimented and unrestrained experiences. When classical music is mentioned, we think of a large concert venue. We think of rules, conventions and limitations: do not clap in the middle of the movement, only at the end of a work; do not speak during a performance, only in the allocated interval; only have a polite conversation with the musician at the stage door afterwards. Even though centuries ago, listening to and participating in classical music was a social experience – chamber music was often heard in domestic venues and at intimate gatherings, like dinner parties, and most music was composed to be performed in a social context – classical music today is largely performed in ‘concerts’. Gradually, however, this is changing. Longtime Muso readers will know that we clocked the emergence of classical ‘clubnights’ like London’s Limelight a couple of years ago – now, not only are these independent promoters and small endeavours popping up all over the place, regionally as well as just in the capital, but the larger musical outfits are also starting to rethink the way they operate, looking to these new, young innovators for ways to shake themselves up and

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introducing their own ‘club’-style events. When it comes to classical music promotion, it seems the elders are now learning from the upstarts. The people behind Limelight, which is based at the 100 Club in London and hosts regular gig nights featuring both up-and-coming and established artists (guitarist Miloš, violinist Charlie Siem, trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra are just some of those to have appeared), are passionate about revitalising the perception of classical music. Founders Emily Freeman and Milly Olykan began exploring the concept of presenting classical music differently when their paths crossed in the workplace three years ago. ‘Limelight is something we do outside of our day jobs,’ says Freeman. ‘I am from a classical background and Milly from one of pop and rock, and we spoke about putting classical music in a rock‘n’roll venue. After exploring various venue ideas, we landed on The 100 Club in London, which has been brilliant. We feel we are offering something that takes you back to the pearly, social days of early music; back to that tradition.’ The success of their night and others – such as Nonclassical (London), Yellow Lounge (Berlin and London) and Classical Revolution (international) – has had an influence on the thinking behind bigger concerns’ promotions and programming. In October 2011, chamber orchestra Manchester Camerata began a series of intimate concerts called UpClose, in popular local bar and club The Deaf Institute. Manus Carey, head of creative programming with the orchestra, agrees that the increased activity of smaller independent labels and nights ‘has affected the way that larger organisations run’. ‘These nights attract an audience of mixed ages and in turn build a different appreciation of the music,’ he says. ‘Our motivations behind introducing Up Close are not financial, but artistic. This is a new idea that smaller organisations are introducing, and we are taking advantage of the fact that we are a smaller, therefore more flexible, orchestra. It seemed obvious to develop a set of concerts in this way.’ Another organisation taking note is the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), whose recent ‘Night Shift’ set of concerts, presented by joint leader Maggie Faultless, bypassed the OAE’s normal haunts for a selection of local London pubs. Do it yourself Despite this recent resurgence in interest and activity, however, promoting live classical music is still a challenge. Any students or graduates out there who might be thinking about starting up their own night should be ambitious, sure – but also know what they’re letting themselves in for. A strong contact base is important, Limelight’s Freeman says. ‘When Milly and I started, we both had invaluable experience and connections through our work with artists and artist managers – half the battle was won.’ Drawing together a large number of people behind your project at a very early stage is key. As with any new venture, your budget will be small at first – and it may be an idea to ask fellow music students if they would be willing to perform for little or no fee; after all, it is a performance opportunity,

L-R: The Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble and clarinettist Julian Bliss, both performing at Limelight

s

IN FOCUS

and by giving you a leg-up at this stage they may be doing their future selves a favour if your night goes on to be a success. Even at now-established nights like Limelight, some musicians still perform for a relatively low fee: ‘We rely on musicians that want to perform like this,’ Freeman explains. ‘After the venue and rental costs, there is little left for a fee. Musicians usually tie in performances with the release of an album, so it is good publicity.’ Thirdly, use what you’ve got around you – suss out the music scene where you live. Is your city missing a music night quite like the one you are willing to introduce? Musician Robert Dufton founded Classical Music Nights Sheffield in his third year at University using a little bit of business savvy to ensure he would be filling a gap in the market. ‘My thoughts were that, for a city of such well-established musical culture and artistic innovation, I would have enough interest to turn the idea of special nights featuring classical music in a bar into an option for a night out in the city,’ he tells me. He knew the audience was out there – a night just hadn’t been invented for them yet. When thinking up innovative new formats or unexpected settings, it can be easy to get carried away. Don’t. Think about the venues: a local pub may not have the capacity or the equipment for Reich’s New York Counterpoint. Lastly, be patient. Presenting classical music in a fresh way – and doing it independently, funded and organised with little help – is not easy. ‘Putting these independent nights on the map in London was difficult,’ says Freeman. ‘But thanks to the experience and contacts Milly and I had, it was a success. We also had the passion to present classical music in this way; there is no financial incentive, as little money can be made! But it is worth the effort.’

COOL CLASSICAL The UK has gone crazy for classical music in new formats. Find out what’s going on near you Candied Nonsense (Chaos Theory) The Wilmington Arms, London www.chaostheorymusic.co.uk/candiednonsense Classical Revolution The Green Carnation, London and Matt & Phred’s Jazz Cafe, Manchester www.classicalrevolutionlondon.org www.facebook.com/ClassicalRevLondon www.facebook.com/CRManchester Yorkshire Live Music Project Various venues, Yorkshire www.ylmp.co.uk Limelight 100 Club, London www.londonlimelight.co.uk Yellow Lounge Various venues, London www.yellowlounge.co.uk www.facebook.com/yellowloungelondon Nonclassical Various venues, London www.nonclassical.co.uk www.facebook.com/nonclassical

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NEW SEASONS LISTINGS

NEW CONCERT SEASONS ORCHESTRAS/ ENSEMBLES OPERA COMPANIES ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC

Contact: 32 Newnham Road, Cambridge CB3 9EY Tel: 01223 301509 info@aam.co.uk www.aam.co.uk

ACADEMY OF ST MARTIN IN THE FIELDS

Tel: 020 7702 1377 info@asmf.org www.asmf.org Details: Associated chamber group is Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

ARENSKY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA www.theaco.co.uk

AURORA ORCHESTRA

Contact: The Music Base, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG Tel: 020 7014 2834; 07535 701394 info@auroraorchestra.com www.auroraorchestra.com

BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Contact: BBC Maida Vale Studios, Delaware Road, London W9 2LG Tel: 020 7765 5751 bbcso@bbc.co.uk wwww.bbc.co.uk/symphonyorchestra

BIRMINGHAM CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

mail@birminghamchamberorchestra.com www.birminghamchamberorchestra.com Details: Performances of a high standard in all parts of the region, especially where access to professional music-making is limited. Regularly programmes neglected repertoire. Funded by promoters, grant-making bodies and supporters’ scheme; no subscription for players

BIRMINGHAM PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA

BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Contact: Room G150, BBC White City, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TS Tel: 020 8576 0300 bbcco@bbc.co.uk www.bbc.co.uk/concertorchestra

Contact: 71 Springfield Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7DU Tel: 0121 689 2835 info@bpo.org.uk www.bpo.org.uk Details: One of the country’s leading large non-professional symphony orchestras, drawing members from all walks of life throughout West Midlands. Enjoys close links with Birmingham Conservatoire and CBSO

BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES

BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Contact: BBC Hoddinott Hall, Bute Place, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 5AL Tel: 029 2055 9702 byron.jenkins@bbc.co.uk

BBC PHILHARMONIC

Contact: MediaCityUK, Salford Tel: 0161 244 4001 philharmonic@bbc.co.uk www.bbc.co.uk/philharmonic Details: Widely recognised as one of Britain’s finest orchestras, the BBC Philharmonic has its own recording studio at BBC Manchester where it records programmes and concerts for BBC Radio 3. Also performs around 20 concerts each year at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. Worldwide reputation for outstanding quality and committed performances over a wide-ranging repertoire

BBC SCOTTISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Contact: City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow G1 1NQ

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Tel: 0141 552 0909 bbcsso@bbc.co.uk www.bbc.co.uk/bbcsso Details: Appears at Britain’s most prestigious events and plays in venues all over Scotland; also tours abroad. Majority of performances broadcast on BBC Radio 3

Contact: 2 Seldown Lane, Poole BH15 1UF Tel: 01202 670611 enquiries@bsorchestra.co.uk www.bsolive.com Details: Orchestra of international and national reputation

BRITTEN SINFONIA

Contact: 13 Sturton Street, Cambridge CB1 2SN Tel: 01223 300795 info@brittensinfonia.com www.brittensinfonia.com Details: One of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras, known for its collaborations with world-class artists and innovative programming. Tours in the UK and internationally

CBSO CHORUS (CITY OF BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA)

Contact: CBSO Centre, Berkley Street, Birmingham B1 2LF

Tel: 0121 616 6500 information@cbso.co.uk www.cbso.co.uk

concerts per year. Programmes range from Beethoven to Nielsen and Sibelius; regular concerto soloists from among Glasgow’s many professional musicians

CLASSICAL OPERA COMPANY

Contact: Britannia House, 11 Glenthorne Road, London W6 0LH Tel: 020 8846 9744 info@classicalopera.co.uk www.classicalopera.co.uk Details: Performs the work of Mozart and his contemporaries; staged opera, opera in concert and themed concerts. Uses outstanding young singers and its own period instrument orchestra

DOCKLANDS SINFONIA

Contact: 65 Castletown Rd London W14 9HG Tel: 07931 387101 info@docklandssinfonia.co.uk www.docklandssinfonia.co.uk

HALLÉ, THE

Contact: The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester M1 5HA Tel: 0161 237 7000 info@halle.co.uk www.halle.co.uk

HAVERHILL SINFONIA

Contact: 8 Templars Court, Haverhill CB9 9AJ Tel: 01440 763799 info@haverhillsinfonia.co.uk www.haverhillsinfonia.co.uk

HERITAGE ORCHESTRA, THE

Contact: Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra Ltd, Level 9, 25 Cabot Square, London E14 4QA Tel: 020 7719 0120 info@monteverdi.org.uk www.monteverdi.org.uk Details: One of the world's leading period instrument orchestras with repertoire from Monteverdi to Mozart and Haydn

Contact: Unit 5, Level 4 South, New England House, New England Street, Brighton BN1 4GH Tel: 01273 540633 info@theheritageorchestra.com; chriswheeler@theheritageorchestra.com; julesbuckley@theheritageorchestra.com www.theheritageorchestra.com Details: Collaborates with cutting edge artists to create new work. Works in the mainstream, cult, popular and experimental sides of music and art, whether on stage or in the studio

ENGLISH TOURING OPERA

LONDON CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

ENGLISH BAROQUE SOLOISTS, THE

Contact: Gensurco House, First Floor, 52-54 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4RP Tel: 020 7833 2555 admin@englishtouringopera.org.uk www.englishtouringopera.org.uk

EX CATHEDRA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA/ENSEMBLE

Contact: 611b The Big Peg, 120 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6NF Tel: 0121 200 1511 info@excathedra.co.uk www.excathedra.co.uk Details: Leading choir and early music ensemble promoting a series of concerts in its home city of Birmingham; also performs at festivals and concert series across the UK and abroad

Contact: 1 London Bridge, London SE1 9BG Tel: 020 7105 6205 info@lco.co.uk wwww.lco.co.uk Details: Touring company

LONDON CONCERT ORCHESTRA Contact: Dickens House, 15 Tooks Court, London EC4A 1QH Tel: 0845 257 8728 info@raymondgubbay.co.uk

LONDON FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA

Contact: The Warehouse, 13 Theed Street, London SE1 8ST Tel: 020 7928 9250 orchestra@lfo.co.uk www.lfo.co.uk

GABRIELI CONSORT & PLAYERS

Contact: 372 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT Tel: 020 7613 4404 info@gabrieli.com www.gabrieli.com Details: Renaissance, baroque and classical instruments, plus choir

GLASGOW SINFONIA

anna.wakeley@googlemail.com; mauramccahill@talktalk.net www.glasgowsinfonia.org.uk Details: Thriving amateur orchestar, three

LONDON HANDEL ORCHESTRA

Contact: Horton House, 8 Ditton Street, Ilminster TA19 0BQ Tel: 01460 53500 mail@london-handel-festival.com www.london-handel-festival.com

LONDON MOZART PLAYERS

Contact: Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon CR9 1DG Tel: 020 8686 1996 nfo@lmp.org www.lmp.org

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NEW SEASONS LISTINGS

LONDON MUSICAL ARTS (LMA) ORCHESTRA

Contact: 14 Frampton House, London NW8 8LY Tel: 020 7724 7222 mail@LMAorchestra.com www.LMAorchestra.com Details: Chamber orchestar of 12-45 players. Annual series of 30 concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields, including family concerts

LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA

Contact: 4th Floor, 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP Tel: 020 7840 4200 admin@lpo.org.uk www.lpo.org.uk Details: Resident symphony orchestra at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since 1992; during summer resident at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Also concerts in UK, and tours abroad

LONDON SCHUBERT PLAYERS

Contact: 72 Warwick Gardens,London W14 8PP Tel: 020 7603 1396 lsp@londonschubertplayers.co.uk www.londonschubertplayers.co.uk Details: Associated chamber groups are London Schubert Players Piano Quartet/ Quintet/Septet

LONDON SINFONIETTA

Contact: Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG Tel: 020 7939 9340 info@londonsinfonietta.org.uk www.londonsinfonietta.org.uk Details: One of the world’s elite contemporary music ensembles with a reputation built on its virtuosity, ambitious programming and commissioning. National and international performances are combined with its own CD label, collaborations with young musicians and interactive participation projects involving audiences, young people and communities

LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Contact: Barbican Centre, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS Tel: 020 7588 1116 admin@lso.co.uk www.lso.co.uk Details: One of the world’s leading orchestras. Many activities include international tours, education and community programme, record company, work in IT; also LSO St Luke’s, the UBS and LSO music education centre

MANCHESTER CAMERATA

Contact: 24 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD Tel: 0161 226 8696 info@manchestercamerata.com www.manchestercamerata.co.uk Details: Chamber orchestra in

residence at Bridgewater Hall and professional partner in residence at RNCM; also residencies across North West. Innovative and award-winning learning and participation programme

MANCHESTER CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Contact: Raymond Gubbay Ltd, PO Box 48, Manchester M41 0AJ Tel: 0161 718 9208 cknowles@raymondgubbay.co.uk www.raymondgubbay.co.uk

MILTON KEYNES CITY ORCHESTRA

Contact: 3 Theatre Walk, Central Milton Keynes MK9 3PX Tel: 01908 558311 info@mkco.org www.mkco.org Details: Professional orchestra performing concerts in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas

NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, THE

Contact: 177 John Ruskin Street, London SE5 0PQ Tel: 020 7703 3148 enquiries@nso.co.uk www.nso.co.uk Details: Freelance symphony orchestra

NORTHERN SINFONIA

Contact: The Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear NE8 2JR Tel: 0191 443 4666 www.thesagegateshead.org/ northernsinfonia Details: Orchestra of the Sage Gateshead

OPERA NORTH

Contact: Leeds Grand Theatre, 46 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU Tel: 0113 243 9999 reception@operanorth.co.uk www.operanorth.co.uk

ORCHESTRA OF OPERA NORTH

Contact: Grand Theatre, Leeds LS1 6NU Tel: 0113 243 9999 reception@operanorth.co.uk www.operanorth.co.uk

ORCHESTRA OF THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT

Contact: Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG Tel: 020 7239 9370 info@oae.co.uk www.oae.co.uk Details: Resident orchestra at the South Bank Centre and associate orchestra at Glyndebourne

ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE Contact: Royal Opera House, Covent

Garden, London WC2E 9DD Tel: 020 7212 9472 alison.tedbury@roh.org.uk

ORCHESTRA OF THE SIXTEEN

Contact: Raine House, Raine Street, London E1W 3RJ Tel: 020 7488 2629 info@thesixteen.org.uk www.thesixteen.org.uk Details: Period instrument ensemble specialising in baroque repertoire

ORCHESTRA OF THE SWAN

Contact: The Civic Hall, Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6JU Tel: 01789 267567 info@orchestraoftheswan.org www.orchestraoftheswan.org Details: Associate Artists at Town Hall in Birmingham, plus other residencies around the country. Well-known for its informal and accessible concerts; has a reputation for its commissioning programme, with over 50 works commissioned in the past five years

ORCHESTRA OF WELSH NATIONAL OPERA

Contact: c/o Welsh National Opera Ltd, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay CF10 5AL Tel: 029 2063 5000 peter.harrap@wno.org.uk www.wno.org.uk

PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA

Contact: 6th Floor, The Tower Building, 11 York Road, London SE1 7NX Tel: 020 7921 3930 info@philharmonia.co.uk www.philharmonia.co.uk

ROYAL SCOTTISH NATIONAL ORCHESTRA

Contact: 73 Claremont Street, Glasgow G3 7JB Tel: 0141 225 3553 admin@rsno.org.uk www.rsno.org.uk

SCOTTISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, THE Contact: 4 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5AB Tel: 0131 557 6800 info@sco.org.uk www.sco.org.uk

SCOTTISH OPERA

Contact: 39 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow G2 4PTS Tel: 0141 248 4567 www.scottishopera.org.uk Details: Principal venue: Theatre Royal, Glasgow

SINFONIA VIVA

Contact: Beaufort Business Centre, Beaufort Street, Derby DE21 6AX Tel: 01332 207570 info@vivaorch.co.uk www.vivaorch.co.uk Details: National chamber orchestra based in the East Midlands. Four strands of activity: sinfonia ViVA, chamber ViVA, education ViVA, work ViVA

SOUTHBANK SINFONIA

Contact: St John’s Waterloo, London SE1 8TY Tel: 020 7921 0370 info@southbanksinfonia.co.uk www.southbanksinfonia.co.uk Details: Training orchestra for young professionals

ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, THE

ULSTER ORCHESTRA

Contact: Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BP Tel: 0151 210 2895 sandra.parr@liverpoolphil.com www.liverpoolphil.com Details: One of the world’s oldest concert-giving organisations. Based at the Art Deco Philharmonic Hall Liverpool, tours to USA, Far East and throughout Europe

Contact: Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast BT2 7FF Tel: 028 9023 9900 info@ulsterorchestra.com www.ulsterorchestra.com Details: Main concert season in the Ulster Hall and the Belfast Waterfront, also a key part of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and has accompanied opera and ballet productions at Belfast’s Grand Opera House

ROYAL OPERA, THE

WELSH NATIONAL OPERA

Contact: Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD Tel: 020 7240 1200 www.roh.org.uk

ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Contact: 16 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0QT Tel: 020 7608 8800 info@rpo.co.uk www.rpo.co.uk Details: Prides itself as the Nation's Favourite Orchestra

Contact: Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff CF10 5AL Tel: 029 2063 5000 enquiries@wno.org.uk www.wno.org.uk Details: Principal venues include Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff; Birmingham Hippodrome; The Hippodrome, Bristol; Empire Theatre, Liverpool; Theatre Royal, Plymouth; The New Theatre, Oxford; The Mayflower, Southampton; Milton Keynes Theatre; Venue Cymru, Llandudno; Swansea Grand Theatre

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PERSPECTIVES

ONWARDS and UPWARDS Toby Deller looks at the challenges facing modern ensembles, from a lack of competitions for unconventional line-ups to finding the time and space to rehearse ‘Do you reckon we should write to them and ask?’ wonders Jessie Grimes. ‘But you know that the answer will be no, that they want a cello and a violin.’ Technically, the Jacquin Trio (www.facebook.com/jacquintrio) are a piano trio, but with clarinettist Grimes partnering viola player Zoe Matthews and pianist Charis Cheung, they don’t have the most conventional of line-ups. Like many young groups, they are on the lookout for competitions. ‘It’s quite tricky because there are a lot of competitions for quartets and piano trios,’ says Matthews, ‘but finding competitions that we’re eligible for, there’s not many out there.’ One exception is the St Martin’s Chamber Music Competition, an annual contest open to any formation that the Jacquins won this year. Despite their unusual combination, the trio reckon they have a repertoire of over 100 works to call on, with Mozart’s ‘Kegelstatt’ trio at the centre (the piece was written for a piano student of Mozart’s, Franzisca von Jacquin). Bruch, Schumann and Reinecke are among the Romantic composers to have written for the Jacquins’ set-up, and in more recent years, so have György Kurtág, Milton Babbitt and Brett Dean. ‘We really want to be advocates of new music,’ says Cheung, ‘working alongside up-and-coming composers and more established composers like Paul Patterson, Tim Salter, Simon Rowland-Jones.’ Grimes adds that ‘all those people have pieces coming for us in the next two years. And hopefully, if we get organised we’ll be doing the London premiere of Huw Watkins’ trio [Speak Seven Seas].’

‘Do you reckon we should write to them and ask?’ wonders Jessie Grimes. ‘But you know that the answer will be no, that they want a cello and a violin.’ 54

Thanks to a private donor Grimes met at a Worshipful Company of Musicians (WCOM) function, the trio has money for a commission, as yet unallocated. (The organisation has been helpful in other ways too, including in offering them a place with a grand piano to intensively rehearse and workshop.) The help takes some of the weight off their shoulders, but inevitably large chunks of admin still remain, as Grimes admits: ‘It’s the most important thing in this day and age, isn’t it, and we’re still at that stage, trying to get a website set up, trying to get all three of us in the same place, and if we do get all of us in the same place we just want to rehearse!’ The headache is one that is familiar to any young group and the Benyounes Quartet (www.benyounesquartet.com) are no different. ‘It is a lot of work so maybe at some point it would be good to have someone to help,’ says cellist Kim Vaughan. ‘But I think we actually value the fact that we had to develop those skills, and I’m really glad it wasn’t something that was short-cut – having an idea of how things work, instigating your own ideas and how you can make them happen.’ The quartet are able to use their position as junior fellow at Trinity Laban to help with creative development. ‘It has given us freedom to try out new ideas and build concepts,’ they say. ‘We did some work with an Indian dance company and a collaboration with jazz junior fellows there.’ To their evident excitement, this led to a booking at the London Jazz Festival later this year (in collaboration with the jazz group Empirical). But most of their time together is now spent working on building up their knowledge of the standard quartet repertoire, a process that is driven partly by the group identifying areas they need to work on, partly by the requests of concert promoters and partly by the demands of competitions. They are relatively new to this particular circuit, but reached the semi-finals of their first event (in Geneva), and were best placed in their second, the inaugural Sándor Végh competition for string quartets in Budapest this year (they came joint second, with no first or third prizes awarded). Perhaps unusually for a group beginning to get noticed internationally, they have from the beginning adopted a steady-as-she-goes approach, as leader Zara Benyounes reflects. ‘When we started we didn’t have any illusions to

be career-minded at all. We were just having a go. We hadn’t set ourselves any specific target at all – we have to do this by this time. It was always a great thing when a positive thing happened, we worked really hard and we still are working hard, but everything is a bonus. We’ve just been doing our own thing and making sure we’re all happy.’

SPACE TO BREATHE Opportunities for advanced chamber musicians to meet, learn and grow PARK LANE GROUP Contemporary music concerts featuring young performers. 2012-13 series to feature Cavaleri Quartet, Ligeti Quartet, Gildas String Quartet, Aurora Percussion Duo, Busch Ensemble, Jacquin Trio, Benyounes Quartet, Piatti Quartet and Lawson Trio. www.parklanegroup.co.uk KINGS PLACE CHAMBER STUDIO Year-round masterclass series, open to public. Recent participants include the prize-winning Piatti, Finzi, Jubilee and Brodowski Quartets. www.chamberstudio.org INTERNATIONAL MUSICIANS SEMINAR PRUSSIA COVE Advanced chamber music classes in Cornwall, plus concerts and tour. www.i-m-s.org.uk ALDEBURGH RESIDENCIES Week-long opportunities for ensembles to work on forthcoming projects. Ensembles to have benefited recently include the Barbirolli Quartet, Lawson Piano Trio, Finzi Quartet, Signum Quartet, Badke Quartet, The Prince Consort and Elias Quartet. www.aldeburgh.co.uk/residencies TRONDHEIM CHAMBER MUSIC ACADEMY September 2012 meeting features two British groups, the Zelkova and Jubilee Quartets. www.kamfest.no

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Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists perform Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ at Town Hall.

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