Published on March 13th, 2019 | by Liam McMahon


Full programme and venues announced for PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial

Across two weekends in July, Southbank Centre, London and Absolutely Cultured, in venues throughout Hull, present two major free music festivals featuring all 20 pieces of new music from PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial 2019.

Featuring 9Bach, Aidan O’Rourke, Andy Gangadeen, Arun Ghosh, BBC Concert Orchestra, The Belfast Ensemble, Claire M Singer, Conor Mitchell, David Fennessy, Edmund Finnis, Forest Swords, Gazelle Twin, Immix Ensemble, James Robertson, Jessica Curry, Khyam Allami, Kit Downes, Klein, Manchester Collective, Maxine Peake, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Numb Mob, Psappha, Roderick Williams, Rolf Hind, Sam Eastmond, Sarah Tandy, Shiva Feshareki, Sona Jobarteh, Southbank Gamelan Players



A celebration of new music from the UK’s most talented composers and musicians, the New Music Biennial — a PRS Foundation initiative presented in partnership with Absolutely Cultured (Hull), London’s Southbank Centre, BBC Radio 3 and NMC Recordings —presents a unique snapshot of contemporary music in the UK across all genres from classical to world music, jazz, folk, electronic and music for ice cream vans.

New Music Biennial 2019 comprises 20 new works including new commissions from Gazelle Twin and Max de Wardener*, Roderick Williams, Claire M Singer, Khyam Allami, Jessica Curry, Sona Jobarteh, Arun Ghosh, Sarah Tandy, Forest Swords and Immix Ensemble, Klein, 9Bach, Dan Jones, Edmund Finnis, Aidan O’Rourke, Kit Downes and James Robertson, Conor Mitchell and Sam Eastmond alongside works composed within the last 15 years, including Shiva Feshareki’s acclaimed Dialogue for turntables and orchestra, commissioned by the BBC Concert Orchestra last year.

Across both weekends works are performed in a range of venues, inviting audiences to discover new music in an interactive way, both in and outside of traditional concert hall settings. Venues at Southbank Centre include Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer spaces and outdoor spaces. In Hull, New Music Biennial happens across a diverse range of the city’s best venues from City Hall to Hull Truck Theatre, Humber Street Gallery to the first event after Fruit’s refurbishment not to mention Nelson Street Pier, The Guildhall, Hull Central Library and more. Each bite-sized piece, lasting 15 minutes, is performed at least twice enabling audiences to see and hear all the winning compositions across the weekend.

This year sees the festival return to Hull as part of the legacy of the New Music Biennial 2017 which was in partnership with Hull UK City of Culture 2017, and follows the successes of its inaugural festival in 2014 and Cultural Olympiad programme, New Music 20×12. All New Music Biennial commissions receive public performances at London’s Southbank Centre on 5 – 7 July 2019 and Hull on 12 – 14 July 2019, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 plus available as a download by NMC Recordings following the festivals.


Highlights of the festival weekends include:

  • Gazelle Twin’s* collaboration with composer Max de Wardener which brings the blend of traditional musical concepts and futuristic pop from her latest album Pastoral (an album of 2018 for BBC6Music,The Quietus and many more) to a full symphony orchestra, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra
  • Award-winning composer Dan Jones’ Music for Seven Ice Cream Vans, sees a fleet of ice cream vans call out to one another to create a magical soundscape, created especially for the Southbank Centre site and the streets of Hull
  • BAFTA winning composer Jessica Curry’s She Who which uses the poetry of American feminist and poet Judy Grahn to create a powerful new work of hope for the young voices of National Youth Choirs of Great Britain
  • Alternative Welsh folk group and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners, 9Bach’s collaboration with actress Maxine Peake and drummer Andy Gangadeen in an innovative new bilingual, multimedia piece
  • Klein’s Osanle, a dance piece looking at the iconography of ballet through the eyes of three teenage boys, featuring a cast of teenagers with no prior experience of dance
  • Ninja Tune’s Forest Swords collaboration with Erased Tapes’ signees Immix Ensemble exploring the future landscape of cities
  • Outdoor performances of Arun Ghosh’s AMBHAS to take place by the Rivers Humber and Thames
  • Internationally acclaimed baritone Roderick Williams’ performs his new jazz-inspired work for majority BME orchestra Chineke!
  • Radical Jewish artist Sam Eastmond’s new work Brit-Ish exploring cultural identity and what it means to be Jewish today
  • Award-winning Shiva Feshareki’s recent work for turntables and orchestra commissioned by the BBC Concert Orchestra


Tickets for New Music Biennial at Southbank Centre will be released to Southbank Centre members on Thursday 14 March and to the general public on Friday 15 March via Southbank Centre’s website HERE. Tickets for New Music Biennial in Hull will be released on Friday 7 June, please check the Absolutely Cultured website HERE for more details.


New Music Biennial is supported by: Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, Hull University, The John S Cohen Foundation, The Richard Thomas Foundation, The Radcliffe Trust, RVW Trust, The Finzi Trust and The Bliss Trust.


See the full schedule for New Music Biennial 2019 here.

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