Composers and Commissions 2019
Following its success at Hull City of Culture and London’s Southbank Centre in 2017, this critically acclaimed free festival of new music returns to present a unique snapshot of UK contemporary music, featuring brand new and recently written music by an exciting range of music creators.
The New Music Biennial 2019 programme includes new music from all genres: classical to chamber music, jazz, folk and electronic to music for kora, gamelan, oud and organ. Presenting and commissioning works of no longer than 15 minutes, the New Music Biennial provides a unique pop-up, accessible way for audiences to discover new music and hear the pieces more than once.
The winning compositions were selected by a panel of judges, Chaired by BBC Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey and including Vanessa Reed (CEO, PRS Foundation), Gillian Moore CBE (Director of Music, Southbank Centre), Katy Fuller (Director, Absolutely Cultured) and radio presenters Kevin Le Gendre and Elizabeth Alker. The programme features an impressive array of performance groups and arts organisations with a strong track record in supporting UK composers.
+ 9Bach – ‘Yn dy Lais – In Your Voice’, commissioned by Focus Wales
Alternative Welsh folk group 9Bach (Realworld) , winners of Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for TINCIAN, will collaborate with acclaimed drummer Andy Gangadeen to explore miscommunication and misinformation in a bilingual, multimedia, and genre defying piece, with special guest. Andy is a well-known Musical Director and session musician having worked with musicians as varied as Massive Attack, Chase and Status and Jeff Beck, he is also the brains behind The Bays. Andy has been brought in to add an electronic slant to the bands distinctive and evocative sound. The composition will contain words sung in the Welsh language. Woven purposefully in to the sound, the audience will hear a spoken word piece performed in English which will voice an interpretation (or feel) of the song’s meaning.
Visit 9Bach’s website
Visit Focus Wales’ website
+ Edmund Finnis – ‘The Centre Is Everywhere’, Commissioned by Manchester Collective
The Centre Is Everywhere is a commissioned work by British composer Edmund Finnis, written for Manchester Collective. Finnis’ work is a response to Richard Strauss’ masterpiece for string ensemble and will be composed for 23 solo string players. In this starkly original new work, Edmund Finnis has painted something beautiful and strange, a music of close whispers and myriad reflections. The Centre Is Everywhere will receive its premiere at the New Music Biennial, and will be taken on tour by Manchester Collective the same year to venues in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, and London. Following the tour, both works will be recorded and distributed, digitally, and on vinyl.
Visit Edmund Finnis’ website
Visit the Manchester Collective’s website
+ Kate Tempest – commissioned by BBC Concert Orchestra
Kate Tempest is an English poet, musical artist, novelist and playwright. In 2013, she won the Ted Hughes Award for her work Brand New Ancients and her illustrious writing career has seen her win many awards since, often combining paper releases with music and performances. Her albums Everybody Down and Let Them Eat Chaos have both been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and she was nominated for Best Female Solo Performer at the 2018 Brit Awards. She was Artistic Director of the 2017 Brighton Festival; Kate Tempest comes to the New Music Biennial with an impressive reputation for interdisciplinary work and this collaboration with the BBC Concert Orchestra will be a rare opportunity to see her hard-hitting work performed by a symphony orchestra..
Visit Kate Tempest’s website
Visit the BBC Concert Orchestra’s website
+ Khyam Allami – ‘Requiem for the 21st Century’, commissioned by Opera North
Khyam Allami is a London-based Iraqi oud player and composer interested in how the sound worlds of Arabic music can be placed into a creative relationship with contemporary western classical music. Inspired by the rich history and myth surrounding the oud, this immersive sound installation is created from a collection of broken and decaying ouds, playing acoustically recorded microtonal notes in generative patterns. Together they will generate metamorphosing melodic fragments and fields of sound based on different maqams, the modes of Arabic music. Requiem for the 21st Century is conceived as a powerful, ever-changing requiem for the troubled 21st century and in particular as a commemoration of the civilians killed during the incessant wars across the Middle East.
Visit Khyam Allami’s website
Visit Opera North’s website
+ Klein – ‘Osanle’, commissioned by Qu Junktions
Osanle will be a drama – dance piece on dance, looking at the iconography of ballet through the eyes of three teenage boys and their new friend. The piece will be an extension of elements from Care, the musical Klein presented at ICA in February 2018. The project will be scored, casted and directed by Klein, with additional dance choreographed by Scout Creswick. The cast will consist of teenage boys with no prior experience of ballet or dance performance. The result will be a live dance piece with original music performed by Klein.
Visit Klein’s website
Visit Qu Junktions’ website
+ Numb Mob – ‘Where to Build in Stone’, commissioned by Serious
‘Where to Build in Stone’ is inspired by the shapes and sounds of the city of Hull, originally commissioned by J-Night for Hull Jazz Festival 2017. Performed with a variety of electronic and acoustic instruments, the piece is a vivid soundscape embroidered with evocative melodies that evoke a mysterious and oddly beautiful side of the city. The visual counterpart explores Hull over the course of a day, telling the story of the city through the things that are everywhere and overlooked; the familiar seen from an unfamiliar perspective. Music by Numb Mob, film by Joseph Bird.
Visit Numb Mob’s website
Visit Serious’ website
+ Roderick Williams – commissioned by Chineke!
Better known to some as a baritone soloist, Roderick Williams’ reputation as a composer is growing steadily. His Advent antiphon O Adonai has become something of a favourite for choirs on both sides of the Atlantic and his Ave Verum Corpus Re-imagined was awarded the BASCA prize for Choral Composition in 2016. The commission will be a significant new work which Chineke! plans to tour in a jazz-inspired programme to English festivals in 2020.
Visit Chineke!’s website
+ Rolf Hind – ‘Tiger’s Nest’, commissioned by Southbank Centre
This will be the London premiere of Rolf Hind’s Tiger’s Nest for Southbank Gamelan Players and soloists (two prepared pianos and percussion). Rolf Hind has worked closely with living composers across a broad range of styles: from John Adams and Tan Dun, to Ligeti and Lachenmann; Xenakis and Messiaen, to Simon Holt and Judith Weir. He appears regularly at new music festivals throughout Europe and he is in demand as a soloist. Further afield he has made numerous appearances: including with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and others..
Visit Rolf Hind’s website
Visit the Southbank Centre’s website
+ Sam Eastmond – ‘Brit-Ish’, commissioned by JW3
Brit-Ish is a pun. Brit in Hebrew means covenant/partnership, and Ish means Person. At a time when nationalism and ethnic identities are being placed into opposition, this project explores what it means to have a hyphened identity in 21st century Britain. An identity that is a partnership of Jewish heritage and British culture. With all the complexities of coming from a community that has been here since medieval times, and yet are often identified as immigrants. This project forges a new diasporic Jewish identity with a piece of music informed by diverse Jewish legacies infused with a contemporary sensibility.
Visit Sam Eastmond’s website
Visit the Southbank Centre’s website
+ Sarah Tandy – ‘The Dream Without A Name’, commissioned by J-Night
As one of the key figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes was writing at a time when a city was experiencing a unique moment in its cultural history. His writing has helped to shape the identity of jazz in the popular consciousness. For this piece, some of his ideas about music, love and city life will be explored within the musical context of the UK scene, where many aspects of that traditional jazz mythology are being creatively re-interpreted, and the pioneering spirit continues to thrive in diverse city environments. Pianist / composer Sarah Tandy is “one of the brightest sparks on an increasingly lively UK youth-jazz scene” – John Fordham, The Guardian.
Visit J-Night’s website
+ Shiva Feshareki – ‘Dialogue’ – commissioned by BBC Concert Orchestra
Turntable artist Shiva Feshareki describes Dialogue as a “sonic sculpture between electronic and acoustic sound.” Honoured with the BASCA British Composer Award for Innovation, expect live-sampling of the orchestra through hyperphysical electronic improvisations that perceptually bend time and space, in duet with resonant orchestral soundscapes. Described as the most “cutting-edge expression of turntablism,” Feshareki exists at the intersection of many artistic scenes, experimenting with electronic & club music, concert & orchestral, fine art and free improvisation.
Visit Shiva Feshareki’s website
Visit the BBC Concert Orchestra’s website
+ Sona Jobarteh – commissioned by Yaram Arts
Sona Jobarteh is the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a west African Griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she is a pioneer in an ancient male-dominated hereditary tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries. This commission will integrate West African and European instrumental interpretation; instruments will be paired together in likeness in a unique arrangement that will explore and challenge the capabilities of the instruments from both traditions.
Visit Sona Jobarteh’s website
Visit Yaram Arts’ website
+ Dan Jones – commissioned by Absolutely Cultured
In addition to the pieces above, Absolutely Cultured in Hull will be working with award-winning Dan Jones to create a site-specific piece, continuing its focus on outdoor works which transform the urban environment for large audiences. This work will also come to Southbank Centre alongside additional free participatory events which will be presented throughout the weekend. More details to be announced.
Visit Absolutely Cultured’s website