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Birtwistle tops British Composer Awards


Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Michael Finnissey both received 2 awards at the British Composer Awards on Friday. Birtwistle took the choral prize for The Ring Dance of the Nazarene and the orchestral award for Night's Black Bird.

Other winners included 27 year old Tarik O'Regan won the vocal prize for Sainte and Errollyn Wallen, who took the BBC Radio 3 listeners award, the only award voted for by the public, for Spirit Symphony - Speed-Dating for Two Orchestras.

The event was praised for its attempt to raise the profile of contemporary music, and for it's lack of any stylistic 'party line'.

Frank Madlener new head of IRCAM


Frank Madlener has been named the next director of Ircam, the contemporary-music research organization based at the Pompidou Center in Paris.

Mr. Madlener, 36, who has been a director of Musica in Strasbourg, France, and other contemporary-music festivals, will take over from Jean-Michel Lejeune in January.
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Julian Philips signs to Peters Edition


Peters Edition has announced a new publishing relationship with composer and recently appointed as Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Julian Philips.

The first work published by Peters Edition is the orchestral piece Out of Light, first heard at the Proms in 2001, and performed again in August 2005 at the Tanglewood Music Festival.

Philips is currently completing a major full-length ballet based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses for Michael Corder.
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Golijov and Turnage appointed CSO Composers in Residence


Osvaldo Golijov and Mark-Anthony Turnage will each join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Mead Composers-in-Residence for two-year residencies, spanning the Orchestra’s 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 concert seasons.

They succeed Augusta Read Thomas, who concludes her impressive nine-year tenure with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in June 2006.
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New Artistic Director for Huddersfield Festival


Graham McKenzie has been appointed as the new artistic director and chief executive of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, starting Jan 06.

This year’s festival, currently running (17-27 November), has been programmed by guest artistic director, Guardian chief music critic and presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters, Tom Service, after their previous artistic director, Susanna Eastburn resigned last year.

It is hoped the appointment will end a period of some uncertainty at the festival.
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Sound Festival kicks off in Scotland


Scotland has a new contemporary music festival, Sound, running throughout Novmember, and featuring leading Scottish composers James Macmillanm Sally Beamish and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies among others.

Evelyn Glennie and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will be playing a new work by Sally Beamish on the 24th November at the Music Hall in Aberdeen. Other events include concerts, workshops and electroacoustic installations featuring artists and composers including Paul Anderson, the Edinburgh Quartet, Haflidi Hallgrimsson, the Hebrides Ensemble, mckenzie medbøe, Naresh Sohal, Pete Stollery and many others.

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OUP signs C:T interviewee Gabriel Jackson


Oxford University Press has announced that from the beginning of the 2005/6 season it will become the exclusive publisher of new works by Composition:Today interviewee Gabriel Jackson.

Jackson, whose influences include Stravinsky, Gorecki, Tippett, Tavener, Pärt, Glass and Reich, has built up a repertoire of choral, vocal, chamber, and instrumental music, with eleven titles already published by OUP within its contemporary choral series New Horizons.
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spnm/BBC SO Boulez open rehearsal


On 1 November, in the latest spnm/BBC SO open rehearsal, the BBC SO conducted by Pierre Boulez will rehearse Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloë, Debussy’s Jeux and Boulez’s own Le soleil des eaux. The rehearsal runs 10.15am-1.30pm and 2.30pm-5.30pm and will take place at the BBC Maida Vale Studios in London. The event will be introduced by Stephen Montague. It is free to attend, but places must be booked in advance.
To book, email

This rehearsal is part of an ongoing project run by spnm and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which focuses on opening elected rehearsals as a series of listening sessions to designed to enable composers to gain a deeper understanding of orchestration by hearing both new works and pieces from the existing orchestral repertoire rehearsed. These sessions run alongside opportunities to write for the orchestra.

Stockhausen comes to London


Stockhausen is coming to the Frieze Art Fair ( ) this week, for a performance of two of his electronic pieces: Kontakte, a classic of the genre from 1960, and Oktophonie, part of Tuesday from Light, written in 1991.

Tom Service conducted an email interview with him for the Guardian last week, which makes for entertaining reading:,11710,1590848,00.html

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Dr Atomic goes off in San Francisco


John Adams's long-awaited new opera Dr Atomic was premiered in San Fransisco last Saturday. The opera depicts the build up to the first tests of the atomic bomb in the desert of New Mexico.

Most reviews to date have had high praise for Adams' music, which continues his move into a more complex and disonant style, whilst being more lukewarm about the libretto which, according to Andrew Clements "seem to blur the distinction between opera and oratorio, between something designed for a theatre and a score intended for the concert hall."

Criticism of the libretto was always on the cards after Adams's previous librettist, Alice Goodman, pulled out, claiming the piece was anti-semitic. A curious turn of events, as this was the very criticism levelled at her libretto for Adams's opera Death of Klinghoffer.

Review links:,11712,1584094,00.html,0,3507695.story

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