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SPNM events for December 2004


1 December – 1pm workshop, 5.30pm concert
St. Botolph’s Church, Aldgate, London EC2M

1pm Workshop
Organist David Goode and spnm artistic director Deirdre Gribbin lead a workshop of new works and discuss ways to utilize the organ.

5.30pm Rush-hour Concert

David Goode, organ

The programme includes five new works composed especially for this event.

Admission is free – no tickets are required. To indicate that you would like to attend, please email


7 December – 6pm spnm AGM, doors from 7.30pm
TAKE/ONE – THE ELYSIAN QUARTET (spnm Members’ Concert)
The Spitz, 109 Commercial St, London E1

The Elysian Quartet

Joanna Lee - String Quartet No. 1 – Sand Dunes (world premiere) Jerry Wigens - Emergency (world premiere) David Breeze - Voices (world premiere) Mark Argent - Floyen in the Rain (world premiere) Brian Wilshere - Dreamtimer (world premiere) John Reeman - Miniature for String Quartet (world premiere) Nick Casswell - Kinesis (world premiere) Roger Goula - Node (world premiere) George Crumb - Black Angels

New music for string quartet and electronics in the relaxed surroundings of the Spitz. spnm’s end of year party features the Elysian Quartet, one of the UK’s most dynamic young quartets. This is the annual spnm members’ event and admission is FREE for members (limited supply).

Tickets: FREE for spnm members, £8/£10 non-members
Box Office for reservations: 020 7392 9032
Non-members can book online at

We also warmly invite all members to attend spnm’s AGM at 6pm, where drinks will be served. Please RSVP to or call Shoël Stadlen on 020 7407 1640.


18 December, 2pm
BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Oxford Road, Manchester

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
James MacMillan, conductor

Eneko Vadillo – Mutara (world premiere)
Iain Matheson – Every Moment Alters (world premiere)
Richard Norris – Further Musings (world premiere)
Richard FitzHugh – These are the little things (world premiere)

Tickets: free
Telephone: 0161 244 4001
More Info...

James MacMillan festival in London


Darkness into Light is a festival celebrating the music of James MacMillan at London's Barbican center, January 14th - Sunday 16th 2005.

Performaces include Quickening, The Confession of Isobel Gowdie and with BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as several films on the composer.

More info at
More Info...

£50,000 new prize for composers


The Performing Rights Society charity, the PRS Foundation, will launch the New Music Award, worth up to £50,000, will be the UK's richest prize for composition of a new work on the basis of ideas submitted.

The work can be in any genre and from an individual or a group- thus schools, festivals, promoters or collaborations are all eligible.

The first award will be made in July.

Michael Nyman at 60


Thursday 28th, 7.30pm
Michael Nyman at 60
Blackheath Halls, 23 Lee Road, London SE3

TCM Sinfonia
Peter Stark, Nic Pendlebury conductors
TCM Saxophone Ensemble
Gerard McCrystal conductor
Gerard McCrystal solo saxophone

Michael Nyman Concerto for saxophone quartet and orchestra; Songs for Tony; Suite 'The Piano'; Where the Bee Dances
Edmund Joliffe Breathe
Harrison Birtwistle Song for Melonora

Tickets: £8 (£6)
Telephone: 020 8463 0100

More Info...

Plácido Domingo could be up for General Manager Post at Metropolitan Opera


The New York Metropolitan Opera has narrowed its list of candidates for general manager, one of the most powerful arts jobs in the United States, and it includes the tenor Plácido Domingo, two officials at the opera said.

Domingo is quietly pursuing the position, meeting individually with several Met board members, the officials said. In addition, he spent time with members of the board's search committee on October 6.

But Domingo made it clear in a letter to the committee that he was appearing "based on my capacity as the head" of the Washington and Los Angeles Operas, and said he had refused to speak earlier with headhunters so that his comments would not be construed as criticism of the outgoing general manager, Joseph Volpe, and the music director, James Levine.

Domingo declined to be interviewed but said through a spokesman, "Having made artistic and business plans at both the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera as far ahead as 2008–09, I have every intention of following through with these plans." He did not elaborate.

The board is believed to want to settle on a choice as early as the end of the year, to give the new general manager time to arrive for next season. That would provide a season's overlap with Volpe, who plans to retire at the end of the 2005–06 season. He has been with the company for 40 years, the last 14 as general manager.

Other candidates on the list, according to the officials, include Deborah Borda, executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Lesley Koenig, general manager of the San Francisco Ballet, who directed Così fan tutte for the Met in 1996, and Peter Gelb, president of the Sony Classical record label, who is expected to become head of the merged Sony and BMG classical division.

Stockhausen's Monumental Licht Cycle to Be Staged Complete in 2008


The European Centre for the Arts Hellerau in Dresden is planning the first ever complete staging of Karlheinz Stockhausen's monumental Licht cycle in 2008.

Licht ("Light")is possibly the most ambitious music theatre ever written, and has seven parts, each taking its name from a day of the week. It lasts about 29 hours in its entirety.

The closing scene, "Licht-Bilder" ("Light-Pictures") from the final Sonntag aus Licht, was completed on December 31, 2002 and is scheduled to have its world premiere on October 16 at this year's Donaueschingen Music Festival.

A 10-million-euro ($12 million) staging of all seven parts was being planned in time for the composer's 80th birthday in 2008. Licht will be staged in its entirety at Hellerau's Festspielhaus or festival theatre.

The search is now on to find sponsors for the ambitious project.

ENO opens 2005-6 season with lesbian passion


The English National Opera is to open its first season by new artistic director Sean Doran with an all-woman lesbian opera.

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, composed by ireland's most celebrated Gerald Barry, is based on a play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It was made into a film in 1972, and is a tale of lesbian love, passion and jealousy against the backdrop of a fashion studio. It will be staged in Septemner 2005, and Barry has elected to set every word of the Fassbinder play to music, unusual in not using a reduced libretto version. But as Barry is renowned for producing extremely fast music, the five act opera is expected to be around two and a half hours long.

Doran has said he will stage at least 2 new works per season, whether they are formal ENO commissions or not. The second new commission in the season will be from Asian Dub Foundation. Doran said: 'By putting this new work at the head of the season we want to make a bold statement and a rallying cry to our audience.' It will be the first season to be fully programmed by him.
More Info...

Birtwistle Games in London- a celebration


As celebration of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's 70th birthday, there are a series of nine concerts of his music, also including work from composers such as Ligeti and Feldman.

Birtwistle Games (title inspired by Francis Bacon) opens with the Endymion Ensemble playing Nenia, the Death of Orpheus, Linoi and Orpheus Elegies. Participants include the Philharminia with Earth Dances on the 31 October, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard with Harrison's Clocks (Nov 3) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra with a concert staging of the opera The Second Mrs Kong (Nov 9.)

And the Aldeburgh Almeida Opera presents the most recent Birtwistle opera, the Io Passion, Saturday 20 Nov HUDDERSFIELD Lawrence Batley Theatre, 01484 430528 /; Friday 26 Nov MANCHESTER Royal Northern College of Music, 0161 907 5555 /
Monday 29 Nov DURHAM Gala Theatre, 0191 332 4041 / &

Intruigingly there will also be a display of Birtwistle's work as an artist in the Festival Hall.

Encore project to save new orchestral works


The Royal Philharmonic Society and Radio 3 Encore Project aims to give second chances to recently composed orchestral works that have fallen 'under the radar' of orchestral programmers and audiences. To qualify, pieces must have been written by living British composers and received no professional performance in the last 5 years.

The resulting pieces that have been chosen include works by Diana Burrell, Jonathan Lloyd, Nigel Osborne and John Casken, as well as the luminous soundscapes of Michael Finnissy's Sea and Sky, written in 1980. Two of the chosen pieces- James Dillon's Via Sacra and George Newson's Concerto for Two Violins- have never even been performed in this country.

The shortlisted works will be programmed by orchesteras all over the country over the next three seasons. With the support of the RPS and Radio 3, promoters have the chance to take a risk on newer repetoire and generate a performing tradition for these unjustly neglected pieces.

The first piece is October 12, when Richard Hickox conducts the City of London Sinfonia in Nigel Osborne's Zansa.

Box Office is on 01227 378188

Art guru slams modern composers and says; Think like Damien Hirst


Norman Rosenthal, the art curator behind the Britart exhibition Sensation!, has branded modern composers 'worthy' and boring, and suggested that at concerts of new music, 'box office income is so low you might as well make it free.' He also suggested that music students were too busy getting drunk to listen or engage with new composition, and that 'art students are plugged into the contemporary art world in a way that music students certainly aren't in the new-music world. It's a real riddle.'

Rosenthal was speaking at a seminar in London of the great and the good of new music, run by the Association of British Orchestras with Accord, the Alliance for New Music. 'There is a huge amount of 'worthy' music being written', Rosenthal said. 'While I wouldn't necessarily suggest Damien Hirst as a paradigm, there's no doubt that he broke into something new.'

Rosenthal also suggested that a solution might be a 'rigously and cruelly curated new-music festival in London, like a Biennale.

The seminar also heard from Cathy Graham, managing director of London Sinfonietta, who said that her core subsidy did not allow her to cover the costs of commissioning new music. And Richard King, managing director of Faber Music said it usually took around 15 performances of a new piece of music to break even for a publisher- with a performance average one a year for five years.

David Whelton, MD of the Philharmonia Orchestra, said it cost £110,000 to mount a concert of Harrison Birtwistle's music, and only £10,000 would be made back in box office receipts, assuming an audience of around 900.

News Archive - records 271-280 of 315
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