Posts Tagged ‘Charles Hazlewood’
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We are delighted to be working with North-West based ensemble, Psappha, on its 2018/19 concert season. Furthermore, we can announce that Mark-Anthony Turnage has been announced as Psappha’s newest Patron, following the death of longtime Psappha Patron and collaborator Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in 2016.

“I’m really pleased that Psappha has asked me to become their new Patron. It’s an honour to take on the position from Max after his 21 years in the role… The group’s commitment to living composers is a vital element in British musical life and I’m looking forward to supporting these brilliant musicians and their work in the future.” – Mark-Anthony Turnage, July 2018

Formed in 1991 by Artistic Director Tim Williams, Psappha specialises in the performance of work by living composers and in music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The group, comprising seven core instrumentalists, is based at St Michael’s, the former Italian chapel in Ancoats, an inner-city area of Manchester that was once the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. It shares this venue with The Hallé.

Psappha is a National Portfolio Organisation for Arts Council England (ACE) and a Talent Development Partner for PRS for Music Foundation.

In addition to public performancees, Psappha offers a wealth of online content for contemporary classical enthusiasts. Its YouTube channel has achieved more than 70,000 views in the past 12 months, and offers more than 160 free-to-view films of live performances and a number of free online film-based resources for young composers.

Psappha’s Composition Lab offers support to GCSE and A-level music students through 100 short films presented by conductor Charles Hazlewood, which explore different orchestral instruments, musical styles and instrumental techniques. Psappha Kids is a free resource specially devised to support the teaching of classroom music by specialist and non-specialist teachers of children aged 7-11, and includes lesson plans, class-based musical activities and extension tasks, fully supported through a series of short films.

The Composing for… scheme is open to UK-based music creators who have completed their first degree or equivalent. They will be offered expert support and professional guidance over an extended period to create new works that will be filmed and hosted on Psappha’s YouTube Channel, and considered for a future Psappha performance.

Psappha is supported by ACE’s Catalyst: Evolve scheme, which matches donations pound-for- pound, helping to create a “more sustainable and resilient art and culture sector”.

The first concert in the 2018/19 will be ‘New Adventures’ on Thursday 27 September at Stoller Hall, Manchester.

See Psappha in action below!

(Written on July 18, 2018 )

The New York Times

Spotlight on Safety for Shows Outdoors

Jim Digby, the tour manager for Linkin Park, knows better than most how dangerous a rock ’n’ roll show can be, after a piece of equipment he was operating came off a faulty overhead track, plummeted toward the floor and killed a young woman standing just a few feet from him. During the past year he has organized a campaign to improve safety at outdoor events.


Britten’s Peter Grimes to be performed on Aldeburgh beach

Special Aldeburgh Festival production celebrates composer’s 100th birthday in 2013.

Classic FM

Hazlewood’s British Paraorchestra appear in Paralympics ceremony

The Paralympic Closing Ceremony featured a performance from Charles Hazlewood’s British Paraorchestra, who played alongside Coldplay.

NPR Music: Deceptive cadence

Atlanta Symphony Locked Out

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its musicians are at an impasse, pushing the musicians to go on strike. The symphony is facing a $20M budget deficit, and it’s seeking millions in concessions from the musicians. Both sides say they want to reach an agreement, but they’ve left the bargaining table putting the orchestra’s 68th season in jeopardy.

Classical Music

Concern over budget cuts as music education hubs launch

Regional music education hubs, the new infrastructure for music education in England prescribed by the government’s National Plan for Music Education, have come into operation.

Limelight magazine

Classical music for September 11: a tribute to the victims

Five American composers respond to the tragedy of 9/11 in different ways.

BBC Music Magazine

BBC announces Britten centenary celebrations

The BBC dedicates 2013 to the life and work of Benjamin Britten.

The New York Times

(Written on September 11, 2012 )


Former concert pianist battles to keep home in Tube station car park

Anne Naysmith was the protégé of some of the most revered figures in classical music, including Sir Adrian Boult and Harold Craxton.

The Desert Island where Bach beats the Beatles

Tonight’s Desert Island Discs Prom will speak volumes about our musical tastes, says Ivan Hewett .


Anne Turner obituary

Violinist and music teacher who enjoyed several years playing with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester

Coldplay join the paraorchestra of disabled musicians for closing ceremony

Classical maestro Charles Hazlewood’s ‘paraorchestra’ is set to take centre stage at the Paralympics

Classic FM

Neuroscientist turns brain waves into music

Columbia-based neuroscientist and musician David Sulzer has turned brain waves into a musical composition

Benedetti beats Bieber, storms pop charts

‘The Silver Violin’, Nicola Bedetti’s new album, has made it to no. 36 in the UK official album charts, coming ahead of pop artists like Justin Bieber.

Classical music organisations shortlisted in Lever Prize 2013

The North West Business Leadership Team today announced their shortlist of arts organisations nominated for the Lever Prize, a £10,000 cash award.

Arts Journal: Slipped Disk

Seal saves concert for sick conductor – yet again

Michael Seal stepped in tonight at Redefin to conduct the second tour concert with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra after Andris Nelsons was rushed to hospital upon collapsing in rehearsal at the Rheingau Festival.

New York Times

Hal David, Songwriter, Is Dead at 91

Hal David, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist who in the 1960s and ’70s gave pop music vernacular the questions “What’s It All About?,” “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?,” died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 91 and lived in Los Angeles.


(Written on September 3, 2012 )

Tom Service recently highlighted the new research which suggests that ‘young people are put off by formal concert formats’ in his Guardian blog, leading us to ask whether the immersive theatrical experience is the way forward for the future of classical music.

Alternative musical experiences over the last few years have often proven to be very popular.  OperaUpClose’s production of La Bohème at the Cock Tavern pub theatre in Kilburn was so successful that it now boasts the accolade of the longest continuously running opera in history.  And Charles Hazlewood’s recent outdoor Classical music festival ‘Play the Field’ saw thousands of people enjoying orchestral music in a relaxed atmosphere, in Charles’ Somerset farm near Glastonbury.

One of the great cellists of our time, Alban Gerhardt is no stranger to experimenting with alternative performance venues.  Similar to ENO and Punchdrunk’s production of The Duchess of Malfi in an office block, in July 2010 Alban performed at the Radialsystem in Berlin, a former water utility plant.  Here Alban played a marathon of Bach’s Cello Suites from four different locations within the hall to an audience who were encouraged to relax on the lounge furniture, sit casually on mats on the floor, and listen outside on the terrace or in the bar whilst drinking a glass of wine.

For his new, exciting project with WildKat PR starting today, Alban will be continuing his exploration of unusual performing spaces.  Every day listeners will be encouraged to phone in to a local radio station in Germany to suggest unique locations in which they wish to hear Alban play; maybe a classroom, maybe a department store, or even a yoga class!  Alban will be visiting various German cities throughout the week, performing to the people of Rostock today, Stralsund on Tuesday, Kiel on Wednesday, Lübeck on Thursday and Hamburg on Friday.

Alban is interviewed by Radio Lohro in Rostock

Your reaction to Alban’s new project may be one of surprise, curiosity or amusement.  Yet musicians have been pushing the boundaries of what we consider as conventional Western performance venues for decades.  In the mid-twentieth century Pierre Boulez called to burn down all the opera houses and Stockhausen suggested that the traditional concert hall should be replaced with a new spherical concert space with loudspeakers placed against the walls.  Since then composers have been constantly experimenting with different venues for musical performance, such as sending a string quartet to play in helicopters in Stockhausen’s Helikopter-Streichquartett.

With this in mind, in 2010 is it still controversial to play music that would normally be found in a concert hall in an alternative space?  Why is it that audiences still find it so fascinating?  Is it because the concert hall tradition remains so strong in our society that alternative musical experiences are still regarded as surprising and unusual?

Or is it the permanent element of chance, spontaneity and uncertainty that keeps this concept alive?  Is it the consistent sense of the unexpected that keeps the unconventional performing spaces idea an exciting and relevant one?

In Alban’s performances this week, this excitement will be enhanced further by WildKat PR’s new twist; putting the audience in charge of where Alban performs. Not only does the immersive musical experience adjust the audience’s role, it is also a challenge to the performer.  Commenting on his performance in his blog entry link ‘Bach Marathon’, Alban Gerhardt declared that due to the constant changing of lights and locations throughout his performance at the Radialsystem, more energy was required from him than in a conventional concert.  He explained; “I felt obliged to live up to their expectation in a different way, almost like a story-teller in an Arab market where the audience is longing for his unbelievable stories, and when he loses his thread or can’t come up with something really exciting, the people will walk away, so he has the pressure on him to provide some constant spark.”

With this need for a ‘constant spark’, the immersive musical experience is both a challenge to musicians and audiences alike, making it perhaps more relevant today than ever before.  And with Tom Service noting that concerts such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Night Shift are successful in preserving ‘the best of the traditional classical concert – the great performances – with a genuinely accessible informality’, the unconventional concert is capable of bringing music to a wider audience without sacrificing musical quality.  Through these attempts to bring music out of the concert hall, musicians such as Alban Gerhardt are creating a new cultural practice for our generation.

For more information on Alban Gerhardt’s performances, visit his website.

(Written on October 25, 2010 )

A year ago today I began working at WildKat PR. Since then there have been some fairly exciting and radical developments. When I began working here as an intern (3 days after receiving my final university results, 2 days after my 21st birthday party, and 1 day after moving to London) we were based in Soho and I had no idea what to expect.

The first few months were a huge learning curve. Little of what I learned at university seemed to apply in the real world and I spent hours on end familiarising myself with newspapers, journalists, websites, bloggers etc. After 2 weeks we moved to our new office in Mayfair, working on the boss’s garden furniture while we waited for our new desks to arrive…

In the first few months we were working with Dilettante, Ivor Bolton, Richard Anthony Jay, Christoph Denoth and Hauschka. I went quickly from reading the newspapers every day to managing mailouts, regional press campaigns and assisting on Dilettante’s Daily Proms Spotlight.

The highlight of my first few months had to be attending the Gramophone Awards. Kat and I arrived early in the office so we could at least get a couple of hours work done before heading off to The Dorchester for the ceremony. My first important networking event – it was clear I was the youngest person in the room. I felt it and probably showed it!

With the company ever expanding we began working with The Forge, Camden; The Mozartem Orchestra Salzburg; and Morpheus Rising, as well as October’s big project, Dilettante’s Digital Composer-in-Residence, with an exciting concert at Wilton’s Music Hall. It was around this time that I became a ‘proper’ member of staff with a paycheck. We were really happy at this time to have Irène join our happy little team. We began working with Charles Hazlewood and LSO’s principal 2nd violinist Tom Norris on his album launch.

We ended the year with the WildKat Christmas party. Following a meal at The Hospital Club I had my first ice skating experience at the rink by the Natural History Museum. I was apprehensive, to say the least, but I am pleased to be able to say that I still have all my fingers and actually quite enjoyed myself!

The new-year kicked of with Charles Hazlewood’s Beggar’s Opera Project, which was part of The Roundhouse’s Reverb Festival. Combining John Gay’s music from 1728 with his own, psychedelic interpretation, Charles – along with the Unthank sisters and musicians from Portishead and Goldfrapp – gave a really exciting, unusual performance. In February we saw Hauschka perform at King’s Place and in March Ivor Bolton conducted Handel’s Tamerlano at the Royal Opera House.

2010 has, thus far, been incredibly exciting, and I’ve been able to work with some outstanding people – in January we started working with cellist Peter Gregson and have seen him become The Hospital Club’s Creative-in-Residence for music in that time. Juliana Farha from Dilettante was included in the government-supported Cultural Leadership “50 Women to Watch” list, flagging her as one of the most exciting and innovative businesswomen in the cultural sectors. Dilettante was also featured on BBC World News, and information about the site was broadcast to countries in Europe and Asia!

We’ve worked with Chloë Hanslip on her UK tour with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, and I made my page turning debut live on BBC Radio 3 with her and pianist Ashley Wass! We’re now working with cellist Alban Gerhardt, who performed the terrific Dvorak’s cello concerto with the Philharmonia in May, and then joined the cello section of the orchestra for Sibelius’ Second Symphony.

I’ve attended too many exciting events to list them all here, but a few notable mentions would have to include Alex Ross’ lecture at Wigmore Hall for the Royal Philharmonic Society, and the launch of the Classical BRIT awards (where I was mistaken for an artist and papped by lurking photographers!).

My first year at WildKat has been a very educational and exciting one. Looking to the future, I am really excited about working with mezzo-soprano Daniela Lehner (a member of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme), and conductor Stefan Solyom. We are also involved with the upcoming attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest orchestra (they’ll be needing over 7,000 players so sign up here – I may even dust off my flute and get involved!), which is taking place on October 24th. Just last week we had two new interns join our team, who we are really excited about working with.  We’ll also be working with the conductor Alessandro Crudele, jazz singer Kate Dimbleby and performing artist, Norman Perryman over the coming months. As if we weren’t busy enough, as I write this we have just moved into our new, first-floor office (we’re going up in the world!). We’ll let you know when we’re having the office-warming party…

(Written on June 15, 2010 )