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17 October 2011

Composer & performer news September-October 2011

Luke Styles Image: Luke Styles  

Our news bulletin from the composing/performing world - featuring Luke Styles, Jane Stanley, Daniel Blinkhorn, Brett Dean, Nirmali Fenn, Andrián Pertout, Gordon Kerry, Alicia Grant and Sandy Evans, among others.

Appointments and awards

Luke Styles has been appointed the new Young Composer in Residence of Glyndebourne - the UK opera house best-known as the home to the annual Glyndebourne Festival. Styles, who was selected from 68 applicants and a shortlist of seven candidates, took up the appointment in September 2011 for two years, with an option for a third year.

'Luke is one of this country's most exciting young composers and his particular interest in opera and music theatre, as well as his natural flair in writing for voices, make him ideally suited to this position', said David Pickard, General Director of Glyndebourne.

Styles will compose a piece for the new Glyndebourne Youth Company in 2012, and make a significant creative input in 2013 to the Jerwood Programme, which gives rising stars from the Glyndebourne Chorus a chance to perform solo roles. Styles currently teaches composition at Junior Trinity, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and is Artistic Director of Ensemble Amorpha.

Jane Stanley has been elected to a new venture called the Young Academy at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The RSE has established the Academy as an 'opportunity to bring together some of the most able and innovative young academics, entrepreneurs, artists and professionals in Scotland'. The aim of the initiative is 'to stimulate creative ideas and collaborative working that will help address some of the key challenges facing Scotland and contribute to solving some of the global challenges of the 21st century'. Stanley holds a post as a lecturer in music at the University of Glasgow.

Daniel Blinkhorn's work entitled anthozoa has won the 12th Música Viva Competition for electroacoustic music (Portugal), and another one of his works, le son de la lumière, has received a special mention as part of the prestigious prix 'Presque Rien', a composition competition organised in Paris in honour of Luc Ferrari.


No fewer than 12 works by Brett Dean are included in the program of the Stockholm Composer Festival in Sweden on 10-16 November, from orchestral works and concertos to solo works. Program details are available on the AMC Calendar.

Nirmali Fenn's music is going to play a major part in a future concert series by the City Contemporary Dance Company and the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble. In addition to Hong Kong, the production, involving 30 musicians as well as the dancers of the CCDC, will tour to China and Singapore.

Andrián Pertout's recent travels include the attendance of a performance of Bénédiction d'un conquérant by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico as part of the Festival Interamericano de las Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In late October, he will be travelling to Valdivia, Chile, for multiple performances by the Orquesta de Cámara de Valdivia of a newly commissioned Concertante for Chamber Orchestra Ñamkonün (En la profundidad de las aguas). Other recent commissions include a work to be performed by all 19 competitors of the XXXVIII Concurso de Ejecución Musical 'Dr. Luis Sigall' 2011, Mención Violoncello, in Viña del Mar, Chile.

Musica Viva have announced the details of their 2012 international concert season, including the name of the featured composer. Gordon Kerry will have five of his works (including the premiere of a new work) performed by the guest artists of Musica Viva. Kerry's forthcoming big premieres include a new flute concerto Captain Flinders' Musick, performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on 28-29 October. For more information, see this news article on Resonate.

New releases

Pianist Jeremy Eskenazi's new CD Rainlight - evocations of water for solo piano (Divine Art) features world premiere recordings of Alicia Grant's (b. 1979) works Rainlight, Voice Adrift, Surreal Sailing, Water Shadow and Cross Currents, along with music by Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven and Debussy.

Saxophonist and composer Sandy Evans's CD When the Sky Cries Rainbows features a 13-part suite dedicated to her husband, clarinettist Tony Gorman, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. Evans's long-term trio with bassist Brett Hirst and drummer Toby Hall has been extended to a sextet (with Phil Slater, James Greening, Alister Spence) for the recording of the CD. CD details and audio samples (AMC Online - see also: www.jazz-planet.com).

Conversation starters...

Matthew Hindson, composer and the chair of the Australia Council Music Board, writes about the federal government's aim to develop a National Cultural Policy for Australia: 'Where does art start and where does utility end? Is an organist playing baroque music at my wedding part of Australian culture? What about the presentation of an American stage musical at Queensland Performing Arts Centre? Or traditional dance at the Garma Festival in Arnhem Land? Or an installation in which remote-controlled cars are driven over broken LPs?'. Read the full article in The Australian (20 September 2011).

Interestingly, in the very same edition, The Australian's arts editor Matthew Westwood writes about classical cross-over: 'The audience for Rieu or Il Divo couldn't give a fig for Haydn string quartets or baroque opera on period instruments. The crossover barbarians have arrived, and have left the classical temple alone. At last concert programmers have realised this fact. Now they can organise popular concerts - such as next year's Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - without the guilt trip. Orchestras are a publicly funded resource and should be available for popular concerts such as these, as much as for subscription master series.'

A very short summary by The Adelaide Advertiser of Paul Grabowsky's speech to the Adelaide Press Club touched on a similar topic by lamenting the trend of symphony orchestras becoming backing bands to aging stars from the rock and entertainment world. A more in-depth article by Grabowsky about the realities of being an artist in Australia appeared on The Australian (22 September)

...and some follow up

Industrial action by the musicians of Orchestra Victoria could have an impact on Opera Australia's spring season beginning in November. See: news item in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September.

And finally, for some developments in the continuing saga of musicians travelling by plane with instruments, see this article in The Australian 22 September 2011.

The Australian Music Centre connects people around the world to Australian composers and sound artists. By facilitating the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these creative artists, it aims to increase their profile and the sustainability of their art form. Established in 1974, the AMC is now the leading provider of information, resources, materials and products relating to Australian new music.


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