A Chest of Toys: Real World Sessions

Dates: Friday 17th – Sunday 19th February
Venue: Real World Studios

Back in 2014, on Radio 4, comedian Mark Steel quoted an anonymous description of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival: ‘Much of it sounds like a chest of children’s toys coming down the stairs.’

We think this is accidentally a wonderful description of the joyful, cacophonous and unpredictable musics that make up contemporary new music today, and we’re thrilled to be working with Coviello Music Productions to make our second CD recording – A Chest of Toys – for release on Coviello Contemporary in late 2017.

We’ll be recording Michael Cryne’s Celia’s Toyshop, and our 2016 Call for Scores commissions: In My Room (Yukiko Watanabe) and Florescence (Lee Westwood) alongside an array of other chamber music including Thomas Kotcheff’s death, hocket and roll for two toy pianos, Monica Pearce’s Kandinsky for soprano and toy piano, Television Continuity Poses by Jack Sheen, and Hayirli Olsun for Trombone, Harpischord, Percussion and Piano by Utku Asuroglu.

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A few moments with Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood is one of two winners of our 2016 Call for Scores competition. We are excited to perform his latest work at our Brighton concert at 5pm on Saturday October 29th. Lee needn’t make extensive travel plans to attend this concert as he has made Bohemia-by-Sea his home for well over a decade. He is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Sussex with Martin Butler and is a member of the composers’ collective New Music Brighton whose members are contributing twelve exciting and distinctive new miniatures to the concert.

In this interview Lee discusses his life and music with our co-principal pianist and fellow Brightonian Adam Swayne. What’s the betting they’ll be enjoying last orders in the pub after the concert while we are hauling all the equipment back to London …?

Join us for a splendid Saturday 29th at 5pm at St Nicholas Church!

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What’s happening in your life?

For a couple of years now, I’ve been working on a stream of commissions without a break. I’m not complaining, because it’s been a fantastic way to learn a lot fast, and to work with loads of brilliant people. It is exhausting though, and the last few weeks of a write really take it out of me, so I’ve been trying to recover a little from the Riot Ensemble commission before I begin my second piece for the LSO Soundhub.

Outside of music, as a part-time house-dad for the second time round, I’m spending a lot of my day telling my son not to eat my CDs or ham the keys of my laptop with his gooey hands. Oh, and I just bought my first car in 15 years, which has been a brilliant excuse to trawl through my CD collection and get deep into all the albums I used to spend so much of my time listening to – currently my car has metamorphosed into a mobile Alice In Chains capsule.

What’s happening in your music?

Lots of wind instruments, that’s what’s happening. Instrumental timbre has been increasingly taking the foreground in my music, so I’ve been having lessons on a load of different instruments in an attempt to better my understanding of them. This has also involved spending days and days recording me making weird noises on each one. Basically, really fun.

Your piece is called Fluorescence. Are you hoping for glowing reviews?

My piece is called Florescence, and I am hoping it will allow your mind to blossom.

Oh dear, Lee! Well, if I can’t get the title right then how can I be expected to play your new piece?! Help me out – what’s the first note?

I’m not sure – it depends what comes out of the flute … an upper partial of G, hopefully …

Well, if you don’t even know the first note …

What’s the last note?

Again, I’m not really sure – it depends where the viola ends up … fingers crossed, it’ll be an upper partial of G …

Hmmph. So what happens in between?

Mostly G … the reckless abuse of an expensive piano … then some arpeggios.

No pianos will be harmed in the execution of this piece! All the effects are astonishingly gentle. Thank you very much Lee, we are all really excited to perform your new piece ‘Fluoridification’ on October 29th!

Micrographia

Date: Saturday 29th October, 5.00pm
Venue: St. Nicholas Church, Brighton (BN1 3LJ)

The World Premiere of Laurence Osborn’s Micrographia – a song cycle for two sopranos and chamber ensemble setting seven new poems (written specifically for this piece) by poet Joseph Minden.  World Premieres from our 2016 Call for Scores winners Yukiko Watanabe and Lee Westwood, and an array of new miniatures from composers from the New Music Brighton Composers’ Collective.

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Call for Scores 2016

Our 2016 Call for Scores received 218 applications from composers all over the world.  It was an incredible and humbling experience to come into contact with so much great new music, being made by such an inspiring and eclectic array of composers.  We are extremely proud to announce the composers we’ll be collaborating with for our 29th October concert, this year.

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Yukiko Watanabe is a Japanese composer living in Cologne.  She will write us a new piece for flute, piano, toy piano, hand-held percussion, guitar, viola and harp.

Lee Westwood is a British composer and guitarist, part of the New Music Brighton collective, who lives and works in England.  Lee will also will write us a new piece for flute, piano, toy piano, hand-held percussion, guitar, viola and harp.

In addition to these pieces, we’ve asked a couple of composers who applied to work with us on various miniatures for an upcoming recording project we are doing in September, and we have set aside a large number of great new pieces we found through this call, which we sincerely hope to perform in the coming years.

We’ll be back with interviews with Yukiko and Lee, and updates of other new music throughout the year.  Our sincere gratitude to all who applied, and made this call for scores what it was.