January 2002

spnm in 2002


I have taken this opportunity to hijack new notes, normally reserved for exploring some burning issue in the new music world, to outline some of spnm’s activities in the coming months and also to identify the destination of some of your gratefully received membership fees. Since the 2001/02 season is already nearly halfway through, it also seems to me an appropriate point at which to thank Artistic Director Steve Martland for his inspired input to a full two years’ worth of events. Here are a few high-lights from the next seven months:

Hearing your orchestral works is one of the most valuable opportunities for a composer – and often one of the hardest to achieve. We are delighted to be able to address this through a rekindling of our relationship with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who will read through three works from the current shortlist in a session with conductor Martyn Brabbins on 29 January – big orchestra, very quiet by Andrew Hamilton, The Pure Good of Theory by Tarik O’Regan and Vortex by Sarah Henderson.

We’re equally pleased that Barrington Pheloung – no stranger to the spnm and leader of our "Composing for Film" project in 1997 – has programmed Kevin Flanagan’s shortlisted trumpet concerto Like Miles on 15 March as part of his new "Sonic" festival, which takes place in venues throughout Surrey. These events greatly enhance our current portfolio of professional orchestra collaborators – the Britten Sinfonia, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the City of London Sinfonia.

New work in Greenwich
spnm Council member Paul Goodey, Head of Wind Brass and Percussion at Trinity College of Music, has programmed the work of shortlisted composers in student concerts throughout the year. Many works will be performed in Trinity’s magnificent new surroundings at the Old Naval College in Greenwich – see overleaf for details.

In February we continue our relationship with the Goldberg Ensemble and their Artistic Director Malcolm Layfield. This year Steve Martland has selected three shortlisted composers – Naomi Waltham-Smith, Simon Mawhinney and Owen Bourne – to write new concertos for marimba and strings. All three pieces will be performed in concerts and explored in workshops given by the Goldberg Ensemble in their 2002 Contemporary Festival. As part of spnm’s commitment to forging new relationships between composers and performers, each composer has been paired with a different soloist: Julian Warburton, Adrian Spillett and Sam Walton will perform in Manchester (15 Feb), Leeds (22 Feb) and Wolverhampton (28 Feb) respectively.

Festival Features

This year the London Sinfonietta’s State of the Nation festival takes place on 27 and 28 April at the South Bank Centre. The weekend will feature works from the spnm shortlist.

Two of the London summer festivals have new Artistic Directors this year, both keen to offer opportunities to spnm composers. Peter Wiegold is guest director at the Isleworth Festival in May, presenting new works by shortlisted composers for the intriguing combination of twelve trombones, members of Ballet Rambert and the Brentford Steam Museum. Then over the other side of London in June, Jonathan Dove starts in his new role at the Spitalfields Festival by programming a strand of second performances of spnm works from recent years.

At this year’s Bath Festival we’re very happy to be working with the Elision Ensemble from Australia, who on 1 June, under the artistic direction of
Daryl Buckley, will feature newly written works by members of the shortlist in a workshop and a lunchtime concert.

There’s also an international flavour to spnm’s collaboration with the City of London Festival on 27 June. Through a general call to the shortlist, composers will be invited to write works inspired by medieaval fragments and the work of Croatian artist Dragan Andgelic, for the Orlando Consort. The concert will take place in one of Sir Christopher Wren’s city churches against the backdrop of one of Andgelic’s twelve iconic angel paintings.

Alongside all of these events, we will continue to provide professional development opportunities to composers:

c4k (composing for kids) – funded by the Alan Fluck Memorial Fund of the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund – enters its third year, with a further series of partnerships between shortlisted composers and primary schools creating new work for young performers. The first half of 2002 will also see a number of performances of works generated by the Adopt A Composer scheme, funded by the PRS Foundation and run by spnm in collaboration with Making Music. A developed version of the original scheme will come on stream in September 2002 with six new partnerships between spnm composers and Making Music member societies.

sound inventors – a major new initiative funded by Youth Music with partnership finds from the PRS Foundation – will launch its activity, comprising twenty major projects in locations across England, in March 2002. sound inventors will complement spnm's core activity described here and will be managed by its own dedicated team (see the advert on the opposite page if you want to get involved).

The enthusiasm of our collaborators, composers and funders is always heartening in an environment within which "new music" can sometimes be considered dirty words. So I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported our work and to invite you all to celebrate spnm’s 60th birthday through special events in the 2002/03 season - watch this space!

– Gill Graham, Executive Director, spnm

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Event listings for this month


Previous articles:

December 2001
There's no word in Finnish for workshop

November 2001
New Opera?

October 2001
Composer Associations

September 2001
Private Commissioning

July 2001
Joined-up Commissioning

May 2001
The Martland Interview

April 2001
Looking Four-wards

March 2001
Chamber Made

February 2001
Publishing, Promotion and Profitability

January 2001
From the World to the Warehouse

December 2000
What price new music?

November 2000
Composing for dance
from start to finish

October 2000
John Lambert remembered

July 2000
Joanna MacGregor

June 2000
Announcing the shortlist

May 2000
Word of mouse

April 2000
Child's Play

March 2000
tables turned

February 2000
the ENO Studio

January 2000
a challenge from Michael Oliva

December 1999
into the next century...

November 1999
Joanna MacGregor writes

October 1999
obsessed with consuming?

September 1999
spnm welcomes Joanna MacGregor.

July/August 1999
Spectrum 2 - miniatures for piano.

June 1999
Hoxton Hall New Music Days.

May 1999
Bath International Music Festival is 50.

April 1999
Who is Georges Aperghis?

March 1999
On frost, birth and death

February 1999
Keeping busy...

January 1999
Now that's what I call contemporary!