Author Archive

The Month Ahead

February 3rd, 2018 No comments

There are a few performances of my works taking place this month across the country. The wonderful Chapel Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen (our university chapel choir) will give two performances of my new motet Locus Iste (7 and 11 February) in the chapel, conducted by John F. Hudson. On the 4th, the choir of the Holy Trinity Church, York will give a performance of Nunc Dimittis (2017) conducted by John Bradbury. On the 18th there will be another outing of my first setting of the Evening Service (2009) at Ely Cathedral. On the 24-25 I will be in Stroud in Gloucestershire to attend a weekend residential course with the Genesis Sixteen choir who will be working on my new piece Ave Maria, mater Dei before The Sixteen give the premiere in May.

Categories: Performance, Premiere Tags:

Review of 2017

January 1st, 2018 No comments

2017 was a good year for me with lots of exciting things happening across my career. It was a year of broadcasts, recordings and performances with the opportunity to work with many new people in interesting new places. I was lucky to be on sabbatical from my academic position for the first six months of the year which meant some concerted work on The Music of James MacMillan which is progressing well, with a 2019 publication date a possibility. I also gave two key-note papers at conferences in York and Warsaw as well as attending the Dutch premiere of Three Partsongs in Leiden in October. I was thrilled to be promoted to senior lecturer at work and have continued to help grow the fantastic Department of Music at the University of Aberdeen. There were performances in Dublin, Krakow, London, Oxford and four different US premieres (which included a competition win). There were three CDs released on which I had pieces, including a number one in the specialist charts by The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford. One of the highlights was the premiere of The Twilight People by the BBC Singers in November, with a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2018. Hopefully 2018 will be just as successful and will also see the end of Brexit! PAC

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US Premiere of ‘The World on Fire’

December 28th, 2017 No comments

It was a lovely pre-Christmas present to hear that my short work The World on Fire (2015) was given it’s US premiere on the 11 November by the Te Deum Chamber Choir, conducted by Matthew Christopher Shepherd. There were two performances of the piece in Kansas, in a fabulous looking programme including pieces by Dove and McDowell amongst others.

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On Jan Sandström’s ‘Es ist ein Ros entsprungen’…

December 22nd, 2017 No comments

I try to find something seasonal to write about every festive period, something stimulating and unusual, something that interests me and excites my ears – it gets harder every year. But I soldier on, searching recent programmes and CDs, broadcasts and social media looking for something worth writing about. And this year I nearly gave up (life’s too short to spend that long looking for obscure Christmas carols), I contemplated writing about one of my own but realised quickly that would be a very bad idea. Then I remembered Jan Sandström’s Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (‘Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming’) and I thought I’d write about that. Why not! Read more…

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‘Susanni’ Premiere and CD Release

December 18th, 2017 No comments

My work Susanni (2015) was premiered in Manchester last week by the exciting young chamber choir, Kantos, conducted by Elspeth Slorach. The same concert was also a CD launch for a new collection of contemporary Christmas carols entitled The Silver Stars at Play. The CD features works by Maxwell Davies, McCabe, Frances-Hoad and my PhD student Sarah Rimkus amongst many others. You can buy a copy here.

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Première of ‘The Twilight People’ by the BBC Singers

November 2nd, 2017 No comments

I’m very excited that the world renowned BBC Singers will be coming to the University of Aberdeen for a residence later this month, the highlight of which will be a concert on the 23 November in St Machar’s Cathedral. Amongst works by Mealor, Dove, Jackson and Kodaly they will be giving the world première of my new work The Twilight People a setting of the Irish poet Seamus O’Sullivan. It promises to be an excellent couple of days and one of the highlights of the musical calendar in North East Scotland.

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‘O lux beata Trinitas’ in North West England

October 28th, 2017 No comments

I was very excited to hear that the Choir of St Bavo’s Cathedral, Haarlem were performing my motet O lux beata Trinitas in various cathedrals around the North West of England this week (23-25 October). A nice surprise and the fourth Dutch choir to perform my work this year.

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Performances in Leiden and Canterbury

October 6th, 2017 No comments

I’m very fortunate to have two performances this Sunday (08/10); firstly from the wonderful City of Canterbury Chamber Choir performing my Veni Sponsa Christi (2015) in Canterbury, conducted by their new conductor Edward Rhys Harry. The second is in the university town of Leiden in Holland, where Cappella Vocale will give the Dutch premiere of Three Partsongs (2008-2012), in a performance that I will be attending. This will be the third performance of my work in Holland in the last 12 months, which is great. Looking forward to spending time in beautiful Leiden.

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On Whether a Commission is a Commission?

September 20th, 2017 No comments

I have recently been commissioned to write a piece of music. ‘Hurrah’, I hear you say – ‘but why are you telling us this banal information?’ ‘Is it such a red-letter day that you need to let the world know?’ Well, no, not really, I’m not partaking in some weird sort of gloating, or announcing my news in the most faux-sophisticated way I can think of, but rather that the very concept of being commissioned to write a piece of music got me thinking…what exactly is a commission and has our concept of what this word entails changed in recent years. Has being ‘commissioned’ to create something become divorced from the actual paying of money for this service? Or has it always been such? I’m confused… Read more…

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The Month Ahead

September 15th, 2017 No comments

There are various performance, recordings and premières taking place over the next couple of weeks. There are two performances of my motet Veni Sponsa Christi: performed by the Harry Ensemble in the atmospheric Douai Abbey in Berkshire (23/09) and the City of Canterbury Chamber Choir in Canterbury (08/10), both conducted by the fantastic Edward Rhys Harry. Our Chapel Choir at the University of Aberdeen will give the Scottish première of my recent Nunc Dimittis at the university on the 04 October and Capella Vocale will give the Dutch première of my Three Partsongs in Leiden on the 08 October (which I am looking forward to attending). The exciting new Manchester-based choir Kantos will record my carol Susanni on the 24 September for a recording on the Prima Facie label for release later this year.

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