I’m delighted to have been selected by Wild Plum Arts for their Made at the Red House residency in Aldeburgh this summer. The Britten Pears Foundation invited Wild Plum Arts to host the residencies for composers and writers at their four cottages and Red House.
I will be staying in Cosy Nook – the cottage built by Britten and Pears for their housekeeper – and working on my oratorio about Joan of Arc. We are provided breakfast and lunch to eat in our cottages, and in the evening we all meet to share an evening meal. The peaceful surroundings and simple structure without distractions will give a wonderful chance to concentrate on my piece, which I am basing on the transcripts from Joan of Arc’s trials.
What a treat! I can’t wait to get stuck into the project and I’m very grateful to Wild Plum Arts for the opportunity.
Kamilla Arku premiered my Suite for Prepared Piano, volume 1 as part of her repertoire of new music on February 5th. The concert, which also included music by Lainie Fefferman, George Walker, Tania Leon, Virginia Seay and Lowell Liebermann, was part of the Borough New Music series, and also raised money for Music for Liberia. It was a wonderful concert and Kamilla played beautifully.
I have recently completed my Suite for Prepared Piano, which I’d started during a weekend in composing isolation at The Tractor Shed before Christmas. The preparation for these pieces is fairly light — brass bolts are inserted between 14 strings, creating bell-like tones; blue tack is laid on several others, giving a plucked, stopped sound; most other notes sound as normal. The nine movements come to around 15 minutes, each one lasting between 45 seconds and several minutes.
I was lucky enough to have the wonderful pianist Kamilla Arku record the suite on a lovely Bluthner at Alice’s Loft studio. Engineering at this beautiful space were owner Denise Mangiardi, engineer Joe Wensley and assistant Antonio, who not only did a fantastic job but made the whole experience relaxed and enjoyable.
Kamilla will be performing this Suite next February in a concert series in London, so watch this space….
The choir I run, The Boiler House Singers, will be performing our winter concert on 3rd December at 5pm at the lovely Prince pub in Stoke Newington, London N16.
Featuring guest musicians, Christmas cheer and the legendary audience singalong, this is one not to be missed!
We will be performing some of the repertoire we’ve learned this year, plus some Christmas numbers. There will also be a shortened version of my choir composition ‘Star’ – a world premiere in fact!
Upstairs at the Prince pub – 59 Kynaston Rd, Stoke Newington, London N16 0EB
I’ve just spent a great few days in the Sussex countryside, composing some short pieces for prepared piano.
Screws and bolts inserted into the strings create bell-like sounds, accentuating the piano’s harmonics, and blue tack deadens the tone, making for a very percussive sound.
There was no wifi or mobile signal which was very refreshing and I got lots of work done! I’ll be back next weekend to complete the set of short pieces.