Later this month I shall be travelling down to beautiful Northumberland to hear a performance of my Three Partsongs (2008-2012) that will be given by the Coquetdale Chamber Choir. The choir will perform the pieces in two concerts, firstly in Wooler (21/04) and then in Rothbury (25/04), the latter of which I’ll attend. The choir will be conducted by my old composition tutor John Casken and I’m looking forward to hearing this ambitious amateur choir perform the pieces.
I was very excited to hear that my anthem For He is Our Peace (2016) won the First Baptist Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, Tenth Anthem Competition this week. The piece will be premiered by the Chancel Choir of the Church on the 30 April during their annual arts and music week.
An odd coincidence sees the King’s College Chapel Choir (of Aberdeen University) on tour in Poland at the same time I will be there at a conference – unfortunately in a different city! They will be giving three performances of my motet O sacrum convivium (2012) in various venues around the historic city of Kraków and one performance of Veni Sancte Spiritus (2012).
Later this month I will be giving a key-note paper at the ‘International Art and Science Conference: Conductor’s Personality’ at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland. My paper is entitled ‘Consonance and Dissonance: Interactions between Composer and Conductor, from a Composer’s Perspective’ and I’ll be talking about some of my experiences working with conductors in the past five or so years. Looking forward to visiting Warsaw for the first time and returning to this beautiful, historic country. PAC
Next Thursday (23/03/2017) the acclaimed vocal ensemble, Juice, will give the premiere of my new arrangement of the traditional English folksong, The Three Ravens at King’s College Chapel, Aberdeen. I’ve always found this tune fascinating, both the words and the music, so it was great to be able to work with it for this excellent ensemble.
It was fantastic to hear on Friday (10/03) that A New Heaven, the new CD from the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford that features my work The World on Fire, was number one in the UK Specialist Music Chart! A great success and a huge congratulations to all involved (I contributed 3.30…so can only take a small portion of the plaudits!). PAC
On the 03 March, A New Heaven will be released on Signum Records, this CD is by The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford and conducted by Owen Rees. The CD features my work The World on Fire (2015) that was commissioned by the choir for this recording and premiered in November 2015. The CD also featured works by MacMillan, Rutter, Jackson and lots of pieces by younger composers.
I recently spent just over two weeks in the Lake District on a writing break in an attempt to get my research leave kick-started, the place where I stay is lovely, with great views and no internet or phone signal – I got a lot of work done. However, one thing that became very obvious to me very quickly was the sudden lack of music in my life, this was partly due to the aforementioned lack of connectivity, but also to a new laptop (with no saved recordings) and no CDs – it was all too quiet. Now, I don’t really listen to much music on a day-to-day basis due to being surrounded by it in my working life, however once this was removed I began to yearn for something to fill the silence, and stop the irritating thoughts in my head. With this in mind, I decided to head for the nearest record shop (not an easy task in Cumbria) and buy some CDs (it’s not like I could download something…), but then – what to buy? Classical, contemporary, rock, pop, folk, gangsta rap (is that still a thing…)? In the end, I plumped for something that I had loved as a fourteen-year-old, Mike Oldfield’s Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn, but would it sound quite so good over twenty years later?
Part of being on research leave is that I am giving two key note conference papers this year, one in York in February and one in Warsaw in April. I am giving a paper entitled ‘Let us sleep now: The Rise of the British Secular Requiem’ at the York Conference on Church Music that is to be held at the University of York on the 13-15 February. I’ll be talking about Britten, Delius, Foulds, Poole and Jackson amongst others.
A good week for performances with the Cathedral Singers of Christchurch, Oxford, giving the premiere of the SATB version of Missa Brevis (2011) in service at the cathedral on the 05 January followed shortly after by the premiere of my setting of Laurie Lee’s Twelfth Night (2017) given by the Glasgow Chamber Choir, conducted by Michael Bawtree. This performance will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship at 08.00 on Sunday 08 January.