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Only one week until the release of the London Sinfonietta recording of Candlebird! Preorder your copy here.
Autumn premiere time: the flute and harp version of Three Venus Haiku this Sunday at the Forge in Camden, Tenebrae for flute, viola and harp at Glasgow University on Thursday 11th October, and the first of my 'postcards' for the Scottish Ensemble in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness on the 22nd-25th.
Two exciting things happening next week: 1) on Monday 21st May the Aronowitz Ensemble's new CD is being released, featuring their fantastic recording of To See the Dark Between. 2) on Thursday 24th May there will be the second performance of my violin concerto de sol y grana performed again by the wonderful Agata Szymczewska, this time with the Southbank Sinfonia, conducted by Jonathan Berman.
Fingers crossed, I'm just about getting the hang of my new job at the University of York, so I'm finding some brain-space to think about the flute-viola-harp trio I'm writing. I think it's going to be called After Orpheus, which maybe seems a bit pretentious now I've actually written it down. . . but in any case I'm very excited about it as I've got lots of ideas and need to convert those into dots asap!
I've been listening to the first edit of a recording of one of my pieces, to be released this year. Very exciting! (It sounds really good, I think, but then these are spectacular players, so that's to be expected.) It's strange to listen and be invited to be as pedantically critical as possible, but then precision is expected of recordings.
The London Contemporary Orchestra and Agata Szymczewska gave a fabulous first performance of de sol y grana at the Shoreditch Music Winter Festival last week. Looking forward to the second performance with Southbank Sinfonia in May! In the meantime, there are some nice reviews.
I have been signed to Faber Music. This is a Good Thing.
There are some very nice reviews of last week's SCO concerts!
The shortlists for the British Composer Awards were announced last night, and I'm delighted to be nominated in two categories. Many thanks to the Aronowitz Ensemble for nominating To See the Dark Between and Mr. McFall's Chamber for commissioning and nominating What Shall I Give.
I'm on the train back to Manchester after a week with the SCO, who have just given the first three performances of storm, rose, tiger. It never ceases to amaze me how fantastically sensitive (in a good way!) orchestras are, and how a tiny suggestion can radically transform how a entire swathe of music sounds. The SCO are such an enthusiastic and warm collection of musicians; the whole process from first rehearsal to final concert has been a complete pleasure. And what a treat to have three performances! The first was great, but the SCO's interpretation really deepened over the weekend, so that the Aberdeen performance was simply magical (not even diminished by the idiot (me) who dropped his programme very noisily in the quietest bit). And isn't the Music Hall in Aberdeen a lovely venue? I can't believe I'd never been there before. And isn't Robin Ticciati a complete star? And and and. . . (it's been a good week; now I just need to get this violin concerto finished and then maybe my students can expect some essays back.)
If you happen to be at a loose end after the Last Night of the Proms, stay on Radio 3 for the broadcast of Candlebird - 10.30pm on Saturday 10th September (my piece will likely be a little after 11pm). Indeed, if you're at a loose end any time during the following 7 days you can Listen Again.
More enthusiastic Candlebird reviews, this time from The Sunday Times.
It may have aged me by about 6 months, but I'll happily trade that for the lovely review of Candlebird in today's Times!
Back in Manchester now after Leigh Melrose, Nick Collon, and the London Sinfonietta gave the most wonderful performance of Candlebird at the weekend. It's really hard to describe how it feels to hear your music for the first time, but this concert was particularly special for me, the culmination of over a year's work. It's due to be broadcast at some point later this year, and (I think) will be available to stream from the Sinfonietta's website before too long. Until then, you can read some very nice reviews.
The BBC SSO gave a fantastic performance of The Moon, the Moon! last week. The Herald agrees.
This week I:
- finished Candlebird and am very much looking forward to the premiere with the London Sinfonietta on May 29;
- received the SCO's brochure for the 2011/12 season, for which I'm delighted to be writing a new piece (for a concert, not for the brochure);
- found out that the BBC SSO performance of The Moon, the moon! on May 12 will be broadcast live on Radio 3 (the concert is also one of Gramophone Magazine's picks for this month);
- discovered some nice reviews of my piece for Mr. McFall's Chamber, performed the other week.
And on top of all of that, I'm going to be writing a new piece for flute, viola and harp for the University of Glasgow's McEwan Commission in 2012. It has been a good week.
Now that teaching is finished for the year I am spending my time composing and baking. Mr McFall's Chamber piece is finished (performances in March in Glasgow and Edinburgh). I've also written another of the songs for the Candlebird set for the London Sinfonietta. . . only three more and the orchestral interludes to go! Also: mince pies, three varieties of biscuits, and silly quantities of marzipan treats. I have a sweet tooth.
I'm in Aldeburgh this week, tutoring on the New Music New Media course. Fantastic students and really interesting compositions emerging. Also exciting to see Tod Machover work with Peter Gregson and UVA on what promises to be a spectacular cello/electronics/video extravaganza. The concert is on Friday 12 November in Snape and repeated in King's Place, London the following night.
This morning I put the finishing touches to a new set of piano pieces for John Reid called Lieder ohne Worte, a set of piano interludes for Schubert's Die schoene Mullerin. Not a moment too soon, as we've just heard that the premiere will take place in a few weeks' time, at the Chelsea Schubert Festival!
Just found out that last year's BBC SSO performance of Breathe will be broadcast on BBC R3's Hear and Now programme on Saturday 28 August at 10.30pm. Anthony Sayer wrote an interesting article in response to the original concert on the BBC SSO blog.
Tonight! Passacaglie in Centro Bar, Manchester with the Raise Your Voice Collective as part of the FutureEverything festival. It's the first time I've had something played in Manchester since my sister did a piece of mine in her college recital ten years ago, so it's exciting to be performed again in my recently adopted hometown! There's a fantastic lineup of young Mancunian composers - Chris Swithinbank, Tom Coult, Steve Pycroft, José Guillermo Puello, John Davies and Luke-Matthew Iveson - who have written for a variety of electronic-y and not-so-electronic-y ensembles. A general DJ goodness after the event. If only I didn't have to get the 5am train to teach in London the following morning.
The Aronowitz Ensemble gave a stunning performance of To See the Dark Between last weekend at the Wigmore Hall. It transpires that there is a video of them rehearsing it at Aldeburgh earlier this year. They make a fantastic sound, even at this point when they're just getting to know the piece. Always good to see Tom Poster in hard hat and fluorescent vest too!
Talking of The Moon, the moon!, I've just come across another review of the recording made by the LSO, in which the orchestration is described as 'post-Mendelssohnian'. Somehow that has really made me very happy.
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra season for 2010-11 has been announced, and Ilan Volkov will be conducting The Moon, the moon! on 12 May 2011 alongside Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5. It's a full year and a bit away, but I'm very excited this piece is finally getting a second performance! The whole season looks fantastic, with new works by Helen Grime, Sally Beamish, and Stuart MacRae as well as lots of other wonderful music. You can read about it in the Glasgow Herald or download the brochure from the BBC SSO website.
Done playing with computers for a bit (see below). 5 versions of Morning Star are probably enough for now. Time to get back to writing songs!
I seem to be very fond of Morning Star (4.66 versions and counting...) so I've decided to make a little Spring Break project of reworking it for solo instrument and live electronics. Because clearly I don't spend enough time playing around on the computer.
To See the Dark Between, my piano septet for the Aronowitz Ensemble is now safely with the players (tickets here) and I can get started on my new piece for the London Sinfonietta! I'll also be writing some preludes / interludes for Die Schoene Mullerin at the request of John Reid and Nicholas Mulroy for their recitals in the Autumn. Now that teaching for the term is over, there are lots of exciting projects to work on!
Aaron Holloway-Nahum has formed a new ensemble: Riot!. (Exclamation marks in titles do make for tricky punctuation situations.) In their inaugural concert on 6th December they will be performing premieres by Edward Nesbit, Karl Gietzmann, and Aaron as well as giving the second performance of my After the Crash Should be fantastic!
The very wonderful Olly Coates along with the equally wonderful Huw Watkins with their group Contemporary Consort are giving another performance of Three Venus Haiku on Monday 5 October in the Stratford-upon-Avon Festival.
The world premiere of Ciaran's Call will take place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on Monday 5 October with the Guildhall Horn Ensemble. This piece was written at the request of the Scottish Horn Sound for their recording sessions back in January. I'm not sure when the CD will be released, but it is in aid of the Ciaran Pryce Appeal.
This one wasn't strictly speaking written before breakfast. I've been a bit busy this week so this is a mini-piece for solo violin written last year.
This week's offering is a very bouncy dance for two violas.
I've been trying to get in the habit of writing something short and fun before breakfast each day. Sort of like a warm-up exercise. Most of them are pretty ordinary, but it gets me writing and thinking, so they serve their purpose. Some of them turn out quite well, so I'm going to tidy the good ones up and post them here for download. Hopefully I'll manage one a week. This week's is a fun little thing for solo violin.
'The New Celts.' And why not? Tickets now available.
The BBCSSO under Ilan Volkov will give the Scottish premiere of Breathe as part of a BBC 'Hear and Now' concert on 20th June. In the City Halls in Glasgow: I love that auditorium. Tickets are free and available from 15 May via the City Halls Box Office (0141 353 8000).
Don't ever host with a company that will let your domain name lapse. Apologies if you have visited in the past week and reached an unexpected website. Google will hopefully update itself very soon.
Ivan Hewett reviews the LSO Live recording of The Moon, the moon! in the Telegraph.
Get your tickets for Olly Coates and Danny Driver at the Wigmore here. Featuring never-before-performed music by Britten and myself (I must finish writing it!), and the London premiere of Larry Goves' the terminus wreck.
Today's review comes from Kenny Mathieson of the Scotsman. **** Reassuringly, it appears that they have all heard the same piece!
Hebrides Ensemble and Aotromachd review in the Glasgow Herald. *****!
For those awake at 3am GMT on 12 November, WPKN will be broadcasting I Saw a Woman Sit Alone, recorded way back in 2003, featuring the voice of Andrea Edith Moore, myself on violin, Richmond Punch on viola and Ariana Falk on cello. Available online via their website.
Just been sent the Guardian review of Aotromachd.
The Hebrides Ensemble (playing Aotromachd) are Pick of the Week in today's Guardian.
Sarah Urwin Jones reviews Aotromachd in the Times. I am comfortable with my lack of prettiness.
Also, an interview about Aotromachd is featured today on Classic FM Arts Daily - you can listen here. Yes, I am probably somewhat on the rambly side.
Review of The Island in the Birmingham Post here.
Commissioned by the Hebrides Ensemble to write a piece for mezzo-soprano and quartet for their autumn tour. Just waiting on permission to use the text - a gorgeous poem called Aotromachd by Meg Bateman - so I can get started. . .
From September I shall be Lecturer in Music at Somerville College, Oxford.
Just before the recording of The Moon, the moon! last week, I was interviewed by Bob Jones for his programme Classic FM Arts Daily - you can download the podcast here (right-click, save as). Unfortunately, they didn't record what Boulez had to say...
The gadgetery-inclined Peter Gregson will be broadcasting his multi-tracked solo-cello performance of Spem in Alium live across the internet (along with five other commissions, including my In Nomine.) So, if you can't make it to Edinburgh for the concert, do tune in to SPEMCAST.
In Glasgow at the IRCAM Academy.
WPKN are broadcasting I Saw a Woman Sit Alone, my 2003 setting of an 10th-century riddle from the Exeter Book, in their New Music New Haven programme at 10pm EST tonight. Which makes it 3am in the UK. It will be repeated on Thursday, March 13th at noon EST (5pm GMT). You can listen online or if you live near Bridgeport, CT you can tune in to 89.5FM.
Scottish cellist Peter Gregson is currently in Banff, Canada recording In Nomine for solo cello alongside a multitracked performance of Spem in Alium and four other commissions for release on the CoffeeLoop label.
Colin Anderson of the Classical Source reviews last night's premiere of The Moon, the moon! here. "Music to hear again". If you were there and want to comment on the concert you can do so at the Sound Adventures website.
Martin has been commissioned to write a new work for Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band, to be performed in next year's Deal Festival. Grimethorpe Colliery Band are famous from the film Brassed Off and are once again National Brass Band Champions.
Martin has been nominated for a BACS British Composer Award. His piece Mosaic, commissioned by the New Edinburgh Orchestra, as part of spnm's Adopt-a-Composer scheme has been shortlisted in the Making Music category.
The premiere of The Moon, the moon! by the LSO has been set for 18th December, conducted by Michael Francis. As this is part of the Sound Adventures scheme, the inclusion of this piece in the concert will not be announced - but tickets are available here.
Martin has been appointed a teacher of Musicianship and Composition at the Royal College of Music's Junior Department
Martin has just begun his time as composer in residence at James Wolfe Primary in Greenwich. He will be running composition workshops with each year group as well as working with them on their school song to be performed in their summer concert.
Hong Kong plays host to the ISCM World Music Days this November, during which Gemini will be performed. I'm currently down as an English composer, which is not entirely accurate... (UK / British is fine)
The second and third performances of Mosaic will be given by the Kelvin Ensemble in combination with the Edinburgh University Chamber Orchestra on 2 and 3 March in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The concerts, conducted by William Conway also include Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, and Elgar's Sea Pictures. Fun stuff!
Martin has been selected to take part in the Yale-RAM exchange. His new piece Breathe for 13 players (the Ligeti Chamber Concerto ensemble) will be premiered on both sides of the Atlantic in late April / early May.
As a result of the Panufnik project, Martin has been commissioned by the LSO to write a 5 minute piece for their Sound Adventures series, to be workshopped on 8 June 2007, and performed at the Barbican later in 2007 or 2008.
Martin is also working on a new work for cello and electronics using the Hyperbow and featuring the Baroque talents of his brother, Christopher.
The following motion is winding its way through the Scottish Parliament:
S2M-4929 Sarah Boyack (Edinburgh Central) (Lab) : Making Music: Adopt-a-Composer— That the Parliament congratulates the New Edinburgh Orchestra on its BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Mosaic by Martin Suckling which was commissioned through the Adopt-a-Composer scheme, run by the Making Music: National Federation of Music Societies in partnership with the Society for the Promotion of New Music and the Performing Rights Society Foundation; recognises the central place of amateur music-making in local communities throughout Scotland and its importance to national cultural life; commends groups such as the New Edinburgh Orchestra on their commitment to supporting young composers by commissioning and performing new music, and wishes the next Scottish-based Adopt-a-Composer partnership of Solway Harps and composer Richard Glover every succes.
Supported by: Dr Elaine Murray, Donald Gorrie, Margaret Smith, Scott Barrie, Susan Deacon, Chris Ballance, Ms Rosemary Byrne, Rob Gibson, Maureen Macmillan, Christine May, Mrs Mary Mulligan, Rt Hon Jim Wallace, Mr Frank McAveety, Shiona Baird, Trish Godman, Mr Brian Monteith, Jackie Baillie, Karen Gillon, Pauline McNeill, Mr Jamie Stone, Mr Kenneth Macintosh, Robin Harper
Lodged on 06 October 2006; current
First UK performance of Gemini will take place in York Gate at the Royal Academy of Music as part of a "Composer-Performer Exchange" (30 Nov). On this occasion I'm performing as well as composing so I shall of course be exchanging some pretty uncompromising views with myself. Pedro Meireles of the Galitzin Quartet is the other half of the viola duo.
According to the Radio Times, at some point during Performance on Three this Wednesday, 1 November (BBC R3, 7.30pm - 9.30pm) there will be a report on the LSO Panufnik Young Composers Project. It's only a 2 minute segment in a 2 hour programme, but some of the music played might be mine (Fanfare for a Newborn Child). The rest of the programme is AAM playing Handel, Telemann and Bach.
Mosaic will be broadcast at 7.30pm on BBC R3's Performance on 3 as part of the Listen Up! festival of orchestras. The LSO Discovery Panufnik Project workshops are on 17 October. Fanfare for a Newborn Child will be rehearsed by the LSO and François Xavier Roth in LSO St. Luke's.
First performances of Martin's music in Scotland since 1999! Mosaic will be premiered by the New Edinburgh Orchestra on Saturday 10 June. The West of Scotland Schools' Symphony Orchestra will give the first performance of Morning Star the following Saturday, 17 June, in Motherwell.
ISCM Britain have selected Gemini to go forward to the central selection panel for the World Music Days 2007 in Hong Kong.
Over the next year, Martin will work with Rachel Leach and Jordan Hunt on the Composing for Kids project (c4k). He will write a new work for primary-aged children, to be developed and performed by a Hammersmith school in June 2007.
Martin has been selected for the LSO Discovery Panufnik Young Composers' Project 2006. He will write a 3 minute piece under the guidance of Colin Matthews to be rehearsed by the LSO in October.
Martin is a composer in residence at the Deal Festival, working with GCSE students at Sir Roger Manwood's School on Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. Each student will write a solo clarinet piece to be performed by David Campbell at the Deal Festival concert on 6 July 2006.
The spnm in assocation with the Royal Shakespeare Company have selected Martin to undertake a residency with the RSC. He will be involved with the Histories section of the RSC's complete works season, focussing on the Henry VI trilogy, directed by Michael Boyd.