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Classical News

In today’s news, ‘Classical Hundred’ initiative will make recordings available to primary schools teachers, a US astronaut plays bagpipes on an International Space Station to pay tribute to a colleague who died and Goldberg Variations will be touring from November 13th. Also, an interview with opera director Calixto Bieito about his inspiration behind his new take on Verdi’s ‘The Force of Destiny’

The Telegraph

Schools minister: ‘Expose youngsters to classical music’

The ‘Classical Hundred’ initiative will make high quality recordings available to primary schools teachers, writes Nick Gibb

The Independent

Percussionist explains why a huge mallet takes centre stage in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 6

Making a ‘Hammerschlag’ (hammer blow) noise is crucial to the final movement of the Austrian composer’s work


Astronaut plays bagpipes on International Space Station

A US astronaut has played a set of Scottish-made bagpipes on the International Space Station to pay tribute to a colleague who died

The Independent

Calixto Bieito interview: Opera director on the inspiration behind his bloody new take on Verdi’s ‘The Force of Destiny’

Bieito has been likened to radical film directors such as Quentin Tarantino or Pedro Almodovar


Goldberg Variations blurs boundaries between classical music and choreography

The Scottish Ensemble’s musicians had a steep learning curve when they teamed up with Sweden’s Andersson Dance, but choreography has added a new dimension to their performance


Lord of the Rings voted ‘best movie soundtrack’

Music from The Lord of the Rings has been voted the best soundtrack of all time for the sixth year running



Der BMW Welt Jazz Award geht im Januar 2016 in seine achte Saison. In insgesamt sechs kostenfreien Sonntagsmatineen von Januar bis März 2016 präsentieren sich international herausragende Ensembles im Doppelkegel der BMW Welt unter dem Motto „Inspired by Legends“

Goldmedaille der Royal Philharmonic Society für Martha Argerich

Die Pianistin Martha Argerich hat die Goldmedaille der Royal Philharmonic Society erhalten. In der Begründung der Jury heißt es, Martha Argerich sei wegen der seltenen Verbindung von technischer Meisterschaft und leidenschaftlicher Kunstfertigkeit eine faszinierende und ausdrucksstarke Pianistin


Riccardo Muti: Schelte für junge Dirigenten und Regisseure

Riccardo Muti hat bei einer Toscanini-Ausstellung in Mailand seinen Missmut über die junge Dirigentenszene zum Ausdruck gebracht

The Japan Times

Hyogo composer wins first place in Geneva music contest

Composer Shoichi Yabuta took first prize in the composition division of the Geneva International Music Competition on Sunday


Spivakov Cancels International Violin Competition In Omsk

The 2015 edition of the Yankelevitch International Violin Competition in Omsk has been cancelled due to funding cuts


Classic FM @ClassicFM : We’ve found Beethoven’s Facebook profile: @Cranetv : The Mind Mapped Through Dance – the fantastic story behind ’s

Sinfini Music @SinfiniMusic : Why did , Queen of the avant-garde, feature a forgotten instrument of the Renaissance on her latest album?

Screen shot 2015-11-09 at 11.51.56

Goldberg Variations, a collaboration between the Scottish Ensemble and Andersson Dance, which will be touring from November 13th 2015/The Scotsman

(Written on November 9, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, The Times highlights a new “chill-out” movement in classical music, while Klassik Akzente announces that John Williams is composing the soundtrack for the new Star Wars film. Also a conversation with Arvo Pärt in the Neue Musikzeitung, as we celebrate his birthday today, and an interview with Jonas Kaufmann.

The Guardian

Not just a cute girl on a podium: how to get more women conducting

This time two years ago, Marin Alsop was preparing to conduct the Last Night of the BBC Proms – the first woman to do so.

The Telegraph

British Youth Opera: Footlights Fannies not welcome

It’s the most sensitive moment in any classical singer’s career. You’ve spent up to eight years in training, coddled and monitored and subsidised within the warm embrace of a conservatoire, and suddenly you are on the verge of being flung out into the big wide world without experience or protection.

The Times

An eight-hour lullaby and a yoga opera: classical goes chill-out

A slow movement is emerging in classical music. A manifesto for its soothing power — if we can tune in over the hubbub of our busy lives. And a quiet rejection of the onward march of flashy concert tech.

The Yorkshire Post

Bringing classical music to Leeds: A finely-tuned operation

The return of the Leeds International Piano Competition is welcomed by classical music buffs eager to watch the world’s finest young pianists perform some of the greatest works ever composed.

Neue Musikzeitung

Kult-Komponist Arvo Pärt wird 80: «Musik sagt, was ich zu sagen habe»

Seit Jahrzehnten prägt er die Musikszene und genießt international höchstes Ansehen: Der estnische Komponist Arvo Pärt gilt als einer bedeutendsten und meistgespielten lebenden Komponisten.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Leipziger Perspektiven

Das Karussell für Chefdirigentenposten bei den großen Orchestern dreht sich rasant. Nächste Neubesetzung: Der 36-jährige Andris Nelsons wird als Nachfolger von Riccardo Chailly Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig.

Klassik Akzente

John Williams komponiert Soundtrack zu “Star Wars 7: Erwachen der Macht”

Die berühmteste Science Fiction-Saga der Filmgeschichte geht in die 7. Runde. Für die musikalische Untermalung des galaktischen Abenteuers sorgt kein geringerer als Filmkomponist John Williams.

France Musique

Entretien exclusif avec Jonas Kaufmann

Pour sa journée spéciale sur France Musique, le ténor Jonas Kaufmann a accordé un entretien exclusif à Stéphane Grant, retranscrit ici.

The New York Times

New Leader for Atlanta Symphony

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which has been led by an interim president since its last one resigned last year in the midst of a two-month lockout during a heated labor dispute, announced Thursday that it had selected a new leader: Jennifer Barlament, currently the general manager of the Cleveland Orchestra.


Damian Marhulets: Hypersuites – Barock meets Gypsy München Gasteig – Carl-Orff-Saal am Do, 01.10.15, 19:30 Uhr

Anneleen Lenaerts: Great fun yesterday with Sean Rafferty!

BR_KLASSIKArvo Pärt zum 80. Geburtstag: Auf der Suche nach der Liebe zum einzelnen Ton



JJ. Abrams promised a tribute to the old Trilogy and that’s why John Williams was called back to take charge of the soundtrack of the new episode. Photo credit: trailer’s screenshot.

(Written on September 11, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, the great American composer you’ve never heard of, Gramophone award winners are announced and how videogame soundtracks have come to be released on vinyl.


George Walker: the great American composer you’ve never heard of

The first African American to win the Pulitzer for music is celebrated for overcoming cultural prejudice, but his work is so good this should only be a sideshow to the main event of his compositions

The Megadrive megamix – how classic videogame soundtracks went from background noise to cratedigger gold

Digital composers of the 1990s pushed the console tech far beyond its natural limits to produce warped symphonies that are buried deep in the minds of millions. Now specialist labels are reissuing them on vinyl

Classical Music Magazine

Lise Davidsen wins Queen Sonja competition

Lise Davidsen took first place in this year’s Queen Sonja International Music Competition.

Gramophone award winners announced

The recordings which have won Gramophone Awards in each of the 12 main categories have been announced.

The Strad

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra appoints new violist Hyobi Sim

The Curtis Institute and Juilliard School graduate is an active chamber musician

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Jenseits aller Grenzen

Daniel Barenboim will mit seiner Staatskapelle Berlin nach Teheran reisen, um dort zur Unterzeichnung des von Israel heftig kritisierten Atomabkommens mit Iran ein Konzert zu geben. In Israel ist man darüber empört.     

Kulturstaatsministerin Monika Grütters kritisiert geplante Theaterreform in Thüringen

Die Kulturstaatsministerin Monika Grütters hat im öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk Stellung zu der von der Landesregierung geplanten Theaterreform in Thüringen Stellung genommen. Grütters zufolge werden in den Ländern Thüringen und auch Mecklenburg-Vorpommern die Bühnen zu stark für Sparmaßnahmen im Kulturbereich herangezogen.

Musik heute

Weltweit erfolgreich ohne Skandale – Zum Tod von Opernregisseur Nikolaus Lehnhoff

Noch im Mai hatte seine “Turandot”-Produktion zur Weltausstellung in Mailand an der Scala Premiere. Ob in Frankreich oder an der Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Zürich oder Amsterdam – Nikolaus Lehnhoff war einer der gefragtesten Regisseure.

San Francisco Classical Voice

Bernàcer Named S.F. Opera Resident Conductor

The role of resident conductor at the San Francisco Opera is to be assistant and second-in-command to Music Director Nicola Luisotti, helping with planning, rehearsals, and production and conducting both special events and several mainstage performances.

Christoph Lieben-Seutter on Building a Concert Hall for the Future 

Germany is well known for its brass-knuckles approach to austerity programs, especially for its less well-heeled, profligate neighbors. But in the last several years the country has suffered an embarrassing series of infrastructure debacles that suggest the need to look in the mirror.


The Amati Magazine : Together with a Gramophone Award, some devastating news from a distinguished cellist

I CARE IF YOU LISTEN : Alright, female composers: step up this fall to @DetroitSymphony competition! Application details available soon!

Classic FM : A @realaled selfie to kick off the Ultimate Classic FM ! What will be number one?


American composer George Walker
Credit: Mike Derer/Associated Press/ Guardian

(Written on August 28, 2015 )

Classical News

The Guardian

Disability and the arts: the best of times, the worst of times

Introducing a new series on disability arts, producer Jo Verrent looks at some of the key issues affecting disabled artists and organisations in the sector

The Strad

Students practise performance skills on virtual audience

The Royal College of Music, London and Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano have developed a performance simulator

Classical Music Magazine

Rhinegold TV launches, featuring Yuja Wang, Julian Lloyd Webber and more

Rhinegold Publishing has launched Rhinegold TV, which will host content from events including the Rhinegold LIVE concert series and Music Education Expo, as well as content from partner producers, at

International Arts Manager

Five Avery Fisher Career Grants Awarded for 2015

Five new Avery Fisher Career Grants – the maximum number available in any one year – have been awarded to talented young and emerging musicians, all recognised by the Avery Fisher Artist Program board and committee as having ‘great potential for major careers in future’.

Classic FM

The new Star Wars soundtracks: everything we know so far

All the latest news about the new Star Wars soundtracks, as it happens: we’re expecting John Williams’ score for The Force Awakens in December 2015!

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Ah! und Oh! statt E und U

Beethoven, Blockbuster, Hip-Hop: Niemand kann Musik so gut erklären wie der Pianist Chilly Gonzales.



Der Grundstein für seine internationale Karriere wurde beim seinem Rezital-Debüt in der Londoner Wigmore Hall im Jahr 2013 gelegt, seither sorgt Joseph-Maurice Weder bei Kritikern und Publikum für reges Aufsehen.


Bach-Marathon in der Ukraine

Am vergangen Samstag, 21. März, feierte die ukrainische Stadt Lviv (Lemberg) Johann Sebastian Bachs 330. Geburtstag im Rahmen des weltweit veranstalteten Events ‘Bach in the Subways’.

Scala: 240.000 Euro jährlich für Alexander Pereira

Der Intendant der Mailänder Scala erhält gemäß seinem nun bis 2020 verlängerten Vertrag jährlich ein Gehalt von 240.000 Euro.

The New York Times

How David Geffen’s $100 Million Lincoln Center Gift Came Together

Barbara Walters never expected a role in the renaming of Avery Fisher Hall.

Le Monde

Une famille saisie par l’appel du zarb

Malgré les moustaches épaisses, le sourire se devine. Quant aux lunettes, elles ne cachent rien de la malice joueuse qui brille au fond des yeux.


RSNO ‏@RSNO : What happens when you cross Beethoven & @johnsuchet1? Hear them both this weekend w/ the @RSNO …

Spitalfields Music ‏@SpitsMusic : Our Yr 3s wanted to run special storytelling sessions for early years classes:  #SMTakeover

SM ‏@ISM_music : Don’t worry if you missed out on booking your ticket to #MakeMusicWork! We have an extra 20 tickets available: 

News 24th March Performance Simulator


















The new performance simulator at the Royal College of Music.

(Written on March 24, 2015 )

Classical News

The Guardian

Arts Council Funding decision day summary

English National Opera see funding cut by 29%, 670 arts groups share annual grants totalling 340m a year and only a small increase in funding outside London.

The Independent

English National Opera the biggest loser in Arts Council funding shake-up

The English National Opera was the highest profile loser as its grant was slashed a third in the Arts Council’s three year funding shake up, while concerns were raised over the number of regional organisations to lose funding.

Classic FM

Michael Giacchino reveals pun-heavy Planet of the Apes track listing

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes composer Michael Giacchino’s original score track listing has been revealed, and it’s full of ape and monkey-related puns.

Schubert on the beach

Giant Schubert sand sculpture built for East Neuk Festival

The Indian Express

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s sarod goes missing on British Airways flight

The Padma Vibhushan sarod maestro had gone to London along with his wife Subhalaxmi for a performance at Dartington College to celebrate the life of Rabindranth Tagore on June 21 and returned on the night of June 28.

The Ballymena Times

Big Flute Challenge Call

Being held in the province on September 13, the musical extravaganza has real potential to be the World’s biggest event for flautists. Participants will perform together in the Kings Hall Complex in an official attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Flute Ensemble. The current world record is held in Japan and was achieved by 3,742 flautists in 2011.

Mozartfest Würzburg zieht positive Bilanz

Über 25.000 Zuschauer bei Auslastung von 92 Prozent.

Berliner Staatsoper mit Rekordauslastung 2013/14

Insgesamt 183.000 Besucher und 88 Prozent Auslastung im Schiller Theater.

Deutsche Welle

Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier wird Schirmherr des Orchestercampus

Zum dritten Mal wird beim Beethovenfest Bonn im September ein Jugendorchester aus der Türkei auftreten. Das sei ist ein wichtiger Beitrag zum Ausbau der kulturellen Beziehungen, so der Minister.

Le Monde

Festival d’Avignon : une forte majorité du personnel vote pour le maintien

Près de 80 % des salariés ont voté mardi pour la tenue d’un « festival militant », avec de possibles actions pendant son déroulement. Le Festival doit commencer vendredi.



Telegraph Classical: @TeleClassical Jessye Norman: Dress size has nothing to do with opera singing 

Telegraph Classical: @TeleClassical The Arts Council deserves more credit than it gets 

Barbican Centre: @BarbicanCentre Tip tapping on your keyboard all day? Be more creative… Try Patatap art & music app @Guardian #digitalrevolution 

A pyrotechnician from Emergency Exit Arts lights a flaming depiction of William Shakespeare during a firework display at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Photograph: SUZANNE PLUNKETT

A pyrotechnician lights a flaming depiction of William Shakespeare during a firework display at the Royal Shakespeare Company marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth in Stratford-upon-Avon

(Written on July 2, 2014 )


Taylor Swift donates $100,000 to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra

The singer-songwriter makes a birthday gift

The Guardian

Synthesisers are killing film and TV music, say British composers

Carl Davis and Christopher Gunning claim synthesised orchestras are preferred to the real thing to save money

Classic FM Online

John Williams, Alexandre Desplat and more on soundtrack Oscar longlist

Soundtrack legends and newcomers alike have made the long list for the soundtrack category at the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony, due to take place in February

Vote For The Best Classical Music Education Initiative

The Best Classical Music Education Initiative will honour an education project which has used classical music in an innovative way, shown musical excellence and had a positive impact on a significant number of participants

Pianist plays Chopin in front of Ukraine riot police

An unnamed pianist has been playing the works of Chopin in front of riot police in Ukraine


Was Wagner inspired by migraines?

Three German researchers present evidence that the German composer interwove his headache pain into his operas

The National

Pandit Jasraj brings his Mewati style of Hindustani classical music to Dubai

A conversation about Indian classical music is incomplete without the mention of Pandit Jasraj, one of India’s top classical musicians who represents the Mewati style of Hindustani classical music

Ria novosti

Kurgan Greets Sochi Olympic Flame with Classical Music

On Sunday December 15th, strains of Verdi and Tchaikovsky greeted the Sochi Olympic Flame in the Russian city of Kurgan

Daily Inter Lake

Bionic musician: Miraculous cure restores oboist’s ability to make music

When the Glacier Symphony conductor cues principal oboe player Reid Merley to blow an A — that unmistakable standard pitch by which the orchestra tunes — Merley is in perfect control of the note

Der Tagesspiegel

Die neue Kulturstaatsministerin

Mit Monika Grütters als neuer Kulturstaatsministerin folgt auf den Machtmenschen Bernd Neumann eine Frau, die aus der Kultur kommt. Die Wahlberlinerin wird in der Szene für Kompetenz und Begeisterungsfähigkeit geschätzt

Classic FM Online

(Written on December 16, 2013 )


Pitchfork to Launch Magazine-Style App ‘Pitchfork Weekly’

Online music publication Pitchfork will launch its first mobile app in November, the company revealed exclusively to Mashable. Dubbed Pitchfork Weekly, the magazine-style app will be available on iOS at launch before coming to Android in the future

Digital Music News

Album Sales Sink to Their Lowest Levels Since 1991…

Vinyl records continue to sell well but album sales CDs and digital albums sink lower

Pandora Loses Nearly 2 Million Listeners In October…

iTunes radio has huge amount of active listeners while Pandora listeners fall away

Huffington Post

Video Game Music Is Making Symphony Orchestra Awesome Again, Thanks To ‘Zelda’ And ‘rePLAY’

With the help of a few band geeks and game developers, a few of the gaming community’s favorite soundtracks are featuring in new concerts of gaming music repertoire. Producer Jason Michael Paul is one of the masterminds behind the movement…

Classic FM Online

Johnny Marr and Incubus’ Michael Einziger join new Spiderman soundtrack

Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths, and Incubus guitarist Michael Einziger will be joined by Dave Stewart, ex-guitarist with The Eurythmics on the new Hans Zimmer score for The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Instrument museum destroyed in fire

Hundreds of instruments were destroyed yesterday in a large fire at an Italian musical instrument museum, Museo dello Strumento Musicale in Reggio Calabria


Childhood Music Lessons May Offer Lifelong Benefits

Older adults who took music lessons during childhood seem to have a faster brain response to speech than those who never played an instrument, according to the results of a new, small study

Ozarks First

Classical Music Helps Fight Crime and Violence on Park Central Square

With the knowledge that music affects peoples mood, Springfield police in the USA are letting the music do the talking

Die Welt

“Ich spiele, solange mein Dekolleté vorzeigbar ist.”

Die große Geigerin im großen Gespräch: Anne-Sophie Mutter über ihre Einspielung der Solo-Werke von Antonin Dvorák mit den Berliner Philharmonikern und warum sie Kleider von Dior als Arbeitskleidung trägt

Classic FM Online

Classic FM Online


(Written on November 6, 2013 )

Classic FM Online

Pharrell Williams to collaborate with Hans Zimmer for new Spiderman score

Movie composer Hans Zimmer will collaborate with Pharrell Williams for the soundtrack to the new Spiderman film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2


Want to Get Rid of Teenage Loiterers? Blast Some Beethoven

In the city of Anchorage, authorities are setting up speakers and blasting Bach and Beethoven at all hours of the day to keep difficult teenagers in check

Classical Music Magazine

Royal Philharmonic launches ‘RPO Rewards’ mobile ticketing

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has announced a new mobile app for Apple and Android smartphones which allows users to purchase tickets and earn points to contribute towards rewards when they buy tickets through the app


Three Ways YouTube Plans to Dominate the Music Industry

YouTube is poised to become the most dominant force in music worldwide, wisely making strategic moves to expand its already massive footprint with the industry and audience

The Guardian

Girls allowed? The women on top in the music industry

After Sinead O’Connor’s open letter of concern to Miley Cyrus, sexism in the music business has never been more discussed. But what do the women behind the scenes, from video directors to artist managers, think?

PR Week

Hatch PR campaign puts charity twist on Halloween

Hatch PR is helping a charity to persuade people to carve hearts rather than scary faces into pumpkins for Halloween

Neue musikzeitung

Musik als Erinnerung an nie Erlebtes

Der junge Pianist und Komponist Alexander Maria Wagner geht seinen Weg

PR Week

PR Week

(Written on October 31, 2013 )

Where are the women in music? – PRS for Music Foundation announces the first 13 recipients of Women Make Music – a unique funding opportunity raising the profile of female music creators across the UK.

In 2010, women made up only 14% of the writer membership of PRS for Music (the Performing Rights Society of composers, songwriters and music publishers) and, at the 2010 BBC Proms, women wrote just 4.1% of the music performed.

In response to these statistics which prove that women are still under represented publicly when it comes to making music, PRS for Music Foundation launched Women Make Music – a funding opportunity aimed exclusively at women who are making outstanding music in the UK. With this fund, PRS for Music Foundation is highlighting the gender gap in the music industry and encouraging exciting collaborations between organisations and creators who have not previously worked together.

Today (August 12 2011) PRS for Music Foundation announce the 13 women supported through the first round of Women Make Music. The strong and imaginative new music they are creating ranges from a song cycle based on Portuguese poetry, a new piece of music for ten choirs and a composition for outdoor circus performances, to an electro- acoustic composition for theatre, a month-long musical installation compromising of weekly performances and the design of a new synthesiser. The new music funded through Women Make Music will receive premieres in locations across the UK including Glasgow, Jersey, London, Newcastle and Sheffield, and some will tour as far afield as the USA, Middle East and Europe.

Launched on International Women’s Day 2011, Women Make Music saw an overwhelming number of women apply for the first round of funding – an exciting response and a positive sign says Chair of PRS for Music Foundation, Sally Taylor:

“We’re delighted that so many women came forward for our support and that, through this fund, we have reached a large number of talented music creators who have never applied to the Foundation before. The quality of the applications we received was very high and the breadth and imagination of the 13 successful projects proves that throughout the UK, women are making great music. By raising their profile, we hope that more women will develop the confidence to make a career of writing music and that this kind of fund won’t be needed in the future.”

Prominent female musicians and writers have supported the Foundation’s call for more female music creators, including Imogen Heap, who said: “I know they’re out there [female music creators]. I’ve met and heard of a few, but would love to know more and hear more as we’re only hearing one side of the story.”

Encouraging new and adventurous music and collaborations, the second round of recipients of funding through Women Make Music will be announced in October.

For further details, please visit:

The music creators and commissioning organisations chosen for the first round of funding from Women Make Music are:

Charlotte Bray commissioned by Oxford Lieder Festival.

Oxford Lieder’s mission to celebrate the art of song and singing offers a winning combination with composer Charlotte Bray’s new commission of song cycle for baritone and piano. With a compositional voice both striking and original, Charlotte’s talents will be showcased by Roderick Williams and pianist Andrew West performing a song cycle set to Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. The festival promises 57 musical sessions over sixteen days, attract some 4,000 visitors.

Premiere: 27th October 2011 at Oxford Lieder Festival.

YolanDa Brown, ‘Blue Sky’.

Writer and performer YolanDa is passionate about storytelling through music, and having already established herself as a frontrunner in saxophone performance and winning two MOBO awards, she will develop her vocal and piano skills which she will incorporate into a new work titled ‘Blue Sky’. This will be performed live at the Jazz Café, Camden in December accompanied by an eight-piece band.

Premiere: 2nd December 2011 at London’s Jazz Café.

Tara Busch, ‘Artificial Intelligence: A Science Fiction Symphony’ – commissioned by Sensoria

Sensoria and Tara Busch are due to present an innovative, inspirational new music performance called Artificial Intelligence: A Science Fiction Symphony. Tara will design and build her own synthesiser to use during the performance. Tara stated, “This project is an incredible opportunity to challenge myself not only as an artist and performer, but also as a technician. It is my hope that by creating the Science Fiction Symphony, it will encourage other female artists to integrate and embrace technology in their work”. The premiere performance will take place in a Sheffield art gallery during the Sensoria music and film festival in April.

Premiere: (tbc) 22nd April 2012, Sheffield.

Helen Chadwick, Karen Wimhurst, Sinead Jones, Katherine Zeserson, ‘A Candle – Song Cycle for Choir and Trio’ – commissioned by Big Sky.

This innovative choral project – directed by Sian Croose – is a collaboration between four remarkable female composers, each setting works by international poets on the theme of freedom as part of Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary. It involves ten choirs, of which 80% of the membership is female and nine are directed by women. As with ‘A Candle – Song Cycle for Choir and Trio’, Big Sky has a history of commissioning new music and has previously worked with the four women involved. The choirs from around the UK will each stage their own performance of the work between October 2011 and May 2012. The songs will then be published in order to make them available to other choirs and it is hoped there will be both a final performance with singers drawn from all the participating choirs, and the creation of a commissioning network that can go on to create new choral pieces in the future.

Premiere: October 22nd 2011

Deborah Coughlin

Composer and choir director Deborah Coughlin is showcasing a female-centric full- length performance, building on her work of forming and directing the all female alt- choir Gaggle, reworking the now defunct Women’s Institute opera ‘The Brilliant & the Dark’ and putting the finishing touches to the forthcoming Gaggle Album. Gaggle has already made a huge impact on the tradition of choirs, gaining mass attention for Deborah’s radical take on choral music. A two-week residency and exhibition will be taking place in March 2012.

Premiere: (tbc) March 2012

Jessica Dannheisser, ‘The Tempest’ – commissioned by Jericho House Productions. 

Using a four piece ensemble playing a mixture of period and modern instruments, alongside a cast of eight, Dannheisser’s new work, commissioned by cutting edge theatre group Jericho House, is a unique score for a theatre production of ‘The Tempest’. The production will tour the Middle East before being performed as part of Barbican BITE11 for a five-week run in London.

UK Premiere: 23rd September 2011 (previews 21st and 22nd September) at Barbican, London.

Bela Emerson, ‘Falling Up’ – commissioned by Mimbre

‘Falling Up’ is a soundtrack created by Bela Emerson for an outdoor circus theatre performance created by Mimbre. Composed in an exciting and highly collaborative process, it focuses on finding common points between the experiences of a female composer and female acrobats. It will be composed using cello with live processing and electronics, flute, tenor, guitar, vibraphone and percussion. A recorded soundtrack will allow for touring after the

UK premieres at various locations around the UK and Europe.

Premiere: (tbc) April 2012

Shiva Feshareki commissioned by Piano Circus.

Composer Shiva Feshareki presents her new work Jack of All Trades, a confrontational and theatrical piece, for acoustic pianos, keyboards and kaoss pads to create a unique electro-acoustic sound. The composition incorporates both scored and improvised material for the players. The UK premiere will take place at Glasgow Concert Halls, followed by the US debut in 2012.

Premiere: 11th November 2011 at Tramway Theatre, Glasgow, 8pm.

Bridget Hayden, ‘Strong Horses’

Bridget’s piece ‘Strong Horses’ is a collection of six new pieces including guitar, vocals, and an analogue looping device. Her aim is to transform the face of live performance by developing real time layering techniques that are responsive to a live environment. After the launch of her first official solo album and a tour of Scandinavia and Europe, Bridget is keen to transpose what she has developed whilst recording and mixing into the live arena.

Premiere: (tbc) 2nd March 2012 at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle.

Emily Portman, ‘Hatchling’.

Solo performer Emily Portman is renowned as a singer, writer and concertina player with an emphasis on folk music and balladry. With a passionate involvement in historical and contemporary female narratives and their various transformations within folk tales, the new work, entitled ‘Hatchling’ will encompass tales of transgressive female characters who overturn established orders and escape their marginal confinement through their wit, trickery and ‘conjuring voices’. The work is due to be performed first at The Sage Gateshead and later at King’s Place, London.

Premiere: 28th November 2011 at The Sage Gateshead.

Serafina Steer and Sam Steer, ‘This Side of the Moon’ – commissioned by Branchage Film Festival.

Branchage’s commission sees Harpist and songwriter Serafina Steer and animator Sam Steer joining forces for a performance entitled ‘This Side of the Moon’, inspired by Kenneth Anger’s ‘Rabbit’s Moon’ (1950). Serafina Steer (Stolen Recordings), will use the new sound of a ‘psychedelic harp’ to create a live soundtrack to the performance. Anger’s highly original film features mainly ‘doo-wop’ pop juxtaposed against surreal, classical mime. In their bizarre and astounding new animation, the Steer sister and brother team have re-interpreted the archetypes of Commedia Dell’Arte once more. The premiere performance will take place in Jersey as a key headline event of the Branchage Film Festival, taking place at the 1881 Ebenezer Church in rural Trinity, and will be followed by a London performance later in 2011.

Premiere: 23rd September 2011 at the Branchage Film Festival.

Susan Stenger, ‘Full Circle’ – commissioned by AV Festival

This will be the first major UK solo work by Susan Stenger. ‘Full Circle’ is a six-hour solo composition for woodwind, brass, strings and voice created for weekly live performance within a month-long installation. It overlays Western music structures with Chinese philosophy and lunar cycles, and marks the birth and death of John Cage and his introduction of the I Ching for compositional strategies. The debut performance will take place in the context of the AV Festival 2012, in a unique outdoor circular space.

Premiere: 2nd March 2012

Jennifer Walshe commissioned by Third Ear Music

In collaboration with Third Ear Music, Jennifer Walshe will create a new piece for PANDAMONIUM 2, a special event and catwalk type performance curated by Artwise Curators marking the 50th anniversary of the World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading conservation organization. The piece will draw on one of three ‘featured themes’ for WWF’s celebration: forest, water of snow/ice, and reference a particular aspect of WWFs work: conservation, climate change or sustainability. Crossing boundaries between music, visual art, film and fashion, the work will feature in PANDAMONIUM 2 as part of London Fashion Week.

Premiere: February 2012, London Fashion Week.            

Notes to Editors:

(1) BBC Proms statistics from UK Feminista:

The funding awarded by PRS for Music Foundation for Women Make Music will be used to support the costs associated with writing the new music and can also be used to support the music’s first performance.

PRS for Music Foundation is the UK’s leading funder of new music across all genres. Since 2000 the Foundation has awarded over £14 million to more than 4,000 new music projects. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS for Music Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support the development of new music in the UK.


(Written on August 12, 2011 )