Milestones in the History of The Riot Ensemble

2009
The Riot Ensemble is founded at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama by Aaron Holloway-Nahum, Claudia Racovicean, Adam Swayne & Kate Walter.  The ensembles gives one performance in each year from 2009 – 2011.

2012
Our first professional concert: an LSO Discovery Concert at LSO St. Luke’s performing Jonathan Harvey’s Song Offerings, Elizabeth Maconchy’s Sun, Moon and Stars and Aaron Holloway-Nahum’s Plainer Sailing.

2013
The Riot Ensemble’s first full season. With support from The Holst Foundation. 10 concerts, 21 premieres, first performance in Brighton, and first performances with Breathe AHR.

2014
From 2014 to the present, our work has been supported by Arts Council England and Opus 2 International. First international call for scores, first commissions offered by the ensemble,15 concerts, 20 premieres, and participation as a Sound and Music Portfolio Ensemble.

2015
Debut performances at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Spitalfields Music (Winter Festival).  First international performance at the Prix Annelie de Man, Amsterdam. 17 concerts with 27 premieres, and 151 applicants to our second Call for Scores.

Graham McKenzie - Riot Tweet - HCMF2015

2016
Debut performances live on BBC Radio 3 from the Tate Modern and South Bank Centre. Our first work in higher education at Cardiff University. The release of our first commercial CD (Approaching Dutilleux). 13 concerts with 39 premieres, and 196 applicants to our third Call for Scores. 

2017
International residencies at the Music en Segura and Nordic Music Days festivals. Our return to HCMF with Laurence Osborn’s Ctrl and Pauline Oliveros’ The Wheel of Time for string quartet and electronics. Recording at Real World Studios, the UK premiere of Liza Lim’s violin concerto Speak, Be Silent and Chaya Czernowin’s Ayre: Towed through plumes, thicket, asphalt, sawdust and hazardous air I shall not forget the sound of…, Higher Education work at RHUL, University of Sussex, Brunel, and Cardiff University. 23 concerts with 39 premieres, and 248 applicants to our 5th annual Call for Scores.

“Everything was memorably brilliant, and I came away elated. If contemporary music nights were always like this, they’d shrug off their ghetto status and we’d all be queuing for returns.”
– Michael White, 19.05.2017

2018
International residencies at the Tampere Biennale (Finland), Helsingborg (Sweden) and Dark Music Days (Iceland, with a world premiere from Bára Gísladóttir) along with UK residencies in COMAfest and the Spitalfields Music Festival (Nicole Lizée, Richard Reed Parry, Christopher Mayo). LSO St. Luke’s performance of the Elliott Carter Double Concerto, and a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 from Kings Place (Philip Venables, Sarah Nemstov, Lee Hyla). Higher education residencies at Goldsmiths, RHUL, and the Royal Academy of Music. 18 concerts with 27 premieres, and 292 applicants to our 6th annual Call for Scores.

“[The Riot Ensemble] explored memory, nostalgia, greed, sex, anarchy, all in an hour. What more do you want?”
-Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian 23.09.2018

2019
The Icelandic, UK and Dutch premieres of Solstices – a 75minute commission in total darkness from Georg Friedrich Haas. Release of Speak, Be Silent on the HCR Label (named one of 2019’s ten most important recordings by Alex Ross in the New Yorker). Rebecca Saunders and Laurence Osborn at November Music. An Ann Cleare portrait concert, world premiere of a new harpsichord concerto from Evan Johnson, and UK premiere of Lisa Streich at HCMFUK. Our Birmingham and Cafe Oto debuts with PRS Foundation commissions from Kit Downes and Enemy, and Alexander Hawkins and Evan Parker. Workshops at the Zagreb Biennale, Higher education work at RNCM, City University London, and the University of Southampton. 25 concerts with 28 premieres and 332 composer applicants to our 7th annual Call for Scores.

“Speak, Be Silent is a testament to Riot Ensemble’s vision and artistry. Each track on the album has a similar styling that makes the album cohesive, but the unique voices of the composers behind the music make each piece sound fresh and new. The attention to detail and the passion for new music is heard in every note of this project, and fans of the ensemble should be pleased.”
– Jarrett Goodchild, I Care If You Listen