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Queen's composer sounds note of dissent


"In his lecture Sir Peter [Maxwell Davies] will condemn the fact that the government, despite launching a music manifesto last year which promised greater access to instrumental tuition for schoolchildren, has put no money towards its fulfilment."

from this article in the Guardian:,11711,1461141,00.html

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Boosey to publish Claude Vivier


Boosey & Hawkes has announced the signing of an agreement to publish the music of the late Claude Vivier. Vivier, once dubbed "the finest French composer of his generation" by Gyorgy Ligeti, was murdered in 1983 at the age of 34, but leaves behind some 49 compositions in a variety of genres.

Early in his career, Vivier studied composition with Stockhausen and fell considerably under his influence. A visit to Bali in 1976 caused him to reevaluate his approach to music and he went on to write a number of unique works.

"Most of all, it was in his cycle of pieces for voice and instrumental ensemble, particularly Lonely Child and Prologue pour un Marco Polo, that Vivier's unique style crystalized."
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SPNM announce their new Artistic Director


Rolf Hind has been appointed to programme SPNM’s (the UKs Society for the Promotion of New Music) next performance season and will begin his tenure in October 2005.

Rolf Hind is a composer and pianist, born and currently based in London. As an internationally acclaimed pianist he has been called ‘the bright young thing of the avant-garde keyboard’; as a composer he is establishing an enviable reputation, winning praise in The Independent as ‘a rare example of a performer who can make a real career as a composer’. He has worked closely with living composers across a range of styles: from John Adams and Tan Dun to Ligeti and Kurtag, Xenakis and Messiaen to Simon Holt and Judith Weir and has performed as a soloist around the world at major festivals and venues.

Kent Nagano champions major new composition prize


Kent Nagano, newly-appointed Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal has initiated a major new composition prize - the OSM International Composition Prize will launch its first edition during the 2006-2007 season.

To be presented every two years, this competition for orchestral works will be open to composers of all nationalities, aged 40 years and under. Its aim is to encourage and promote musical creation while developing lasting ties between the OSM and the composers of today and, in this way, actively contribute to a renewal of the symphonic repertoire.

The competition will award three prizes

The Olivier Messiaen International Prize for the winning composition
The Promise Prize for the work placing second
The Claude Vivier National Prize for the best Canadian work
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Steven Stucky Wins Pulitzer Prize


Steven Stucky has won this years Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Second Concerto for Orchestra. The work was premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in March 2004 under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. The award comes with a cash prize of $10,000 and is for a "distinguished musical composition of significant dimension by an American that has had its first performance in the United States during the year."

Stucky has written a nice follow-up article in American New Music website NewMusicBox ( ) describing his feelings at winning an award -

"At some time, most of us have cast a jaundiced eye on the Pulitzer Prize in music, muttering in one April or another (if only to ourselves) that the jury must have been crazy, that it's all "politics" anyway ..., and that, anyway, you can't compare works of art as if they were heifers at the county fair. So what to think if, suddenly, you win? "
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Muti finally quits La Scala


Renowned music director Riccardo Muti has finally quit La Scala after he cited "the vulgar hostility of colleagues" for his decision.

The protracted crisis at Milan's world-famous opera house, La Scala, came to a head at the weekend. His decision followed months of tempestuous rows at the 200-year-old theatre that ended with him refusing to work with the orchestra, the Filarmonica Della Scala, and musicians voting overwhelmingly for his resignation.

Muti's 19-year tenure came to an end on Saturday, when he stood down in dramatic fashion, saying that ill feeling had made it "impossible" for him to stay.
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Wolfgang Stryi of Ensemble Modern dies


Wolfgang Stryi has sadly died. For 23 years Stryi played Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet, and Tenor Saxophone for the leading German-based contemporary music group Ensemble Modern.

A poignant note on the ensemble's website simply reads:

"Wolfgang Stryi has died.
For 23 years we made music together.
We are deeply shaken."
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Hoddinott writes fanfare for Charles


Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott has written a one-minute fanfare celebrating the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

The piece will be played to guests at St. George's Chapel, Windsor as Charles and Camilla exit the chapel.

The composer, a former professor of music at University College, Cardiff, has previously written pieces to mark the 16th birthday of Charles and his investiture as Prince of Wales.

Boulez at 80


Two fascinating new articles as Boulez turns 80.

The Guardian newspaper has collected thoughts on the man from many of the world's leading composers. Admist a sometimes obsequious collection, it was John Adams who came out most scathing :

"Boulez's music, for all its technical sophistication, never ventures outside a narrow bandwidth of emotion. It lacks warmth, humour, boldness and the peril of emotional risk-taking that characterises great art. Historically I believe he'll be seen as a mannerist, a niche composer, a master who worked with a very small hammer.",11710,1444840,00.html

And in the Chicago Sun-times, to celebrate the 80th birthday of Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal guest conductor Pierre Boulez, CSO music director Daniel Barenboim wrote an essay reflecting on his work and musical friendship with the maestro.

Nyman goes Chinese


Michael Nyman's latest venture is a work for the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Melody Waves, scored for traditional Chinese instruments, cello and bass. The work will be premiered at London's barbican center on 1st April.

Writing for this Chinese orchestra has changed Nyman's thoughts on the traditional Western orchestra. "The next time I am commissioned to write a Western orchestral piece, my experience with this Chinese orchestra will mean that it will never be the same again."

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