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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New Works and Recordings

August 12th, 2017 No comments

I’ve recently uploaded some new pieces and recordings. The new works are the Missa Sancti Albanus, an unaccompanied mass setting (for SSATB) and the Three Gaelic Songs (for SAB) – both to be performed later this year. I’ve also uploading recordings of Nunc Dimittis (2017), The Three Ravens (2017) and the Evening Service (2009) from recent performances.

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Promotion to Senior Lecturer

July 10th, 2017 No comments

I was very honoured to find out this week that I had been promoted to Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. I have been at the university for the past four and a half years and greatly enjoy working in such a thriving music department. Reader next!

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‘Missa Brevis’ Performances in Oxford

July 8th, 2017 No comments

The Cathedral Singers of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford will give two performances of my Missa Brevis (2011) in July in the cathedral – on the 6th and 9th, conducted by James Potter. The choir gave the first performance of the SATB version in January this year.

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On Being a Craftsman or Artist?

June 29th, 2017 No comments

Earlier this year I was proof-reading a new book on the Welsh composer William Mathias, a composer for whom I have a great amount of respect. Amongst the many things that struck me about this book was the continued reference to Mathias as a ‘craftsman’, someone who ‘would have been happy to have put a brass plate outside his studio with ‘composer’ on it, much as the lawyer or dentist do in their professions.’ The idea of the composer as a craftsman really got me thinking and got me assessing my own work and my own difficult relationship with the profession of composing – it also got me thinking about the perceived pejorative connotations of this term and whether one can willingly use it in a positive and constructive manner. Read more…

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Premiere of ‘The King and His Shadow’

June 27th, 2017 No comments

This weekend sees the premiere of my new ‘pop-up’ opera, The King and His Shadow, in Aberdeen as part of the city’s ‘Silver City Stories’ weekend. My six minute opera (to a libretto by Peter Davidson) briefly describes the raising of the standard to proclaim James VII in 1715 and will take place at various times across the weekend in the city centre. The work will be performed by students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Aberdeen University and is directed by Bill Bankes-Jones.

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