“The modern composer builds upon the foundation of truth” Claudio Monteverdi
Celebrating Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary, a stellar line-up of artists contrast authentic performances of the Renaissance master’s Eighth Book of Madrigals with groundbreaking modern works, premieres and re-interpretations.
Taking place over several hours this extraordinary marathon includes world premieres by French-British composer Josephine Stephenson, London premieres from our featured composer Icelandic Anna Thorvaldsdottir and a UK premiere from American composer Qasim Naqvi.
La Nuova Musica: David Bates | The Erebus Ensemble: Tom Williams | Katherine Manley | Ben Johnson | The Hermes Experiment | Liam Byrne | Mayah Kadish | Gavin Kibble | s t a r g a z e | Presenter: Sara Mohr-Pietsch
Generously supported by Geoffrey Collens, John S Cohen Foundation, Hinrichsen Foundation, RVW Trust, and Spitalfields Music New Music Commission Fund
Approx. Running Time: 4hr 30mins
Image Credit: Brian Sweeney
|Sat, Dec 2, 2017||17:00 PM||Book Now|
The Erebus Ensemble was formed in 2012 and has in the intervening period gained a fine reputation for the clarity and power of its performances. The group was a prize winner in the inaugural London International Acapella Choir Competition at St John’s Smith Square and has for the last three years been the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Bristol Proms in the iconic Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Notable performances at the Bristol Proms have seen Erebus perform six forty-part commissions by composers Nick Lloyd-Webber, Murray Gold and David Bednall to complement the great tour de force, Spem in alium by Tallis, and staged productions of Dido and Aeneas and Messiah with The English Concert and Harry Bicket. They continue to work with The English Concert and in 2018 will perform Messiahat Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and Bach’s B minor Mass at Bath Abbey with the orchestra.
The group has become known for its versatility and is equally comfortable in staged productions and traditional concert performance. The focus of the group continues to be Early Music and recent programmes have featured Sheppard’s Media Vita, Tye’s Missa Euge Bone and Scarlatti’s 10-part Stabat Mater.
Future projects include an appearance the Clifton International Festival of Music, their second CD, featuring the music of John Sheppard, and a tour of the East coast of America.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir frequently works with large sonic structures that tend to reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Her music tends to portray a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere.
Anna’s music is frequently performed internationally, and has been featured at several major venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, the Composer Portraits Series at NYC’s Miller Theatre, the Leading International Composers series at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Big Ears Festival, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Klangspuren Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions – most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming, and The New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Emerging Composer Award in 2015.
Some of the orchestras and ensembles that have performed Anna’s work and will feature her work in the near future include International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, BIT20, La Jolla Symphony, Musiques Nouvelles, Yarn/Wire, The Crossing, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, CAPUT Ensemble, Oslo Philharmonic, and Either/Or Ensemble. In April 2018, the New York Philharmonic will give the premiere of a new work to be conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Anna holds a PhD from the University of California in San Diego.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music has been recorded in three full portrait albums: Rhízōma (2011, Innova Recordings), Aerial (2014, Deutsche Grammophon), and In the Light of Air (2015, Sono Luminus) and has been featured on a number of other albums.
The Hermes Experiment is an ensemble of four young professional musicians passionate about contemporary and experimental music, inspired to create something innovative and unique. Based in London, The Hermes Experiment comprises Héloïse Werner (soprano), Oliver Pashley (clarinet), Marianne Schofield (double bass) and Anne Denholm (harp), who met whilst studying music at Cambridge University. It is co-directed by Héloïse Werner and Hanna Grzeskiewicz, also a graduate from Cambridge University. Capitalising on their deliberately idiosyncratic combination of instruments, the ensemble regularly commissions new works, as well as creating their own innovative arrangements and venturing into live free improvisation. So far, the ensemble has commissioned 40 composers at various stages of their careers.
Winners of the Tunnell Trust Awards 2016, Park Lane Group Young Artists 2015/16, and winners of Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands 2014, The Hermes Experiment has established itself on the London contemporary classical scene, with regular performances across the city for organisations including Nonclassical, Kammerklang, Listenpony and Bastard Assignments. Recent highlights include a showcase performance at Tallinn Music Week 2017 and the ensemble’s debuts at London’s Kings Place and Southbank Centre.
The ensemble strives to create a platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration. In June 2015, they created a ‘musical exhibition’ with photographer Thurstan Redding, and in September 2016, they developed a new interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale during an Aldeburgh Music Residency. Reducing the play to an hour’s duration in collaboration with director Nina Brazier, composer Kim Ashton & five actors, The Hermes Experiment become part of the drama alongside a group of actors. The show premièred in London in December 2016 and was showcased again at Tête à Tête Opera Festival in August 2017.
The ensemble is also dedicated to the value of contemporary music in education and community contexts; they were accepted to Wigmore Hall Learning’s Chamber Tots and For Crying Out Loud schemes in 2014-15.
The Hermes Experiment is generously supported by Arts Council England, Aldeburgh Music, the RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation, Britten-Pears Foundation, Oleg Prokofiev Trust, Future of Russia Foundation and Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust.
s t a r g a z e is a network of multi-talented and classically-trained European musicians; in addition to operating as an orchestral collective, stargaze is also initiating collaborations and projects in the field of contemporary pop-, electronic and classical music, as well as programming concerts with compositions introducing different facets of today’s music to new audiences.
s t a r g a z e built up an instrumental repertoire, including Chamber Variations by Deerhoof (released on Transgressive Records), compositions by David Lang, Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Richie Parry (Arcade Fire), Qasim Naqvi and their own renditions of Steve Reich’s Music for Pieces of Wood, Boards of Canada’s HI SCORES as well as starting a series of re-interpretations of Terry Riley’s In C, performing it with Nils Frahm, Matthew Herbert, Tyondai Braxton, Mouse on Mars and Riley himself.
The collective was honored to record part of Bryce Dessner’s compositions for The Revenant (by Alejandro Iñárritu).
In 2014 s t a r g a z e launched their own festival at Volksbühne Berlin, a long-weekender reflecting the collective’s approach and featuring exclusive collaborations with My Brightest Diamond, Pekka Kuusisto, Holy Other and Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory.
A second festival edition featured German premieres of compositions by Jonny Greenwood as well as rarely performed works by Bartók, Ligeti and A Hawk and a Hacksaw.
s t a r g a z e and their artistic leader André de Ridder had the honor to curate and perform the BBC Proms- Tribute Concert for David Bowie 2016, sharing the stage with John Cale, Amanda Palmer, Anna Calvi, Philip Jaroussky and many more.
They’ve co-curated Michelberger Music, accompanied by friends and colleagues Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Vincent Moon, Aaron & Bryce Dessner (The National) and Ryan Olson (Polica), a festival that re-defined the meaning of musicians and creative processes in a group featuring unique collaborations and one-off shows.
As a collaborator on stages and in studios worldwide stargaze has worked with Lee Ranaldo, Polica, Owen Pallett, Villagers, ice age, These New Puritans, Matmos, Julia Holter and many more – creating new material merging the sound of the collective with the voice of the soloist.
They appeared for example at Holland Festival, Rewire, Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen, Ruhrtriennale, November Music, Sacrum Profanum Krakow, Musica Nova Helsinki, Kammerspiele München, Barbican Centre London, Cologne Philharmonie, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Philharmonie de Paris, Haldern Pop Festival and Eaux Claires Festival.
s t a r g a z e played their US Debut for Liquid Music Series in November 2016, with follow-up visits at Eaux Claires Festival in 2017 and concerts in New York City, Boston, Chicago and Cincinnati in the upcoming season.
In 2017,2018 they will be guests at Gaudeamus Festival, Philharmonie de Paris, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, Cross-Linx Festival Netherlands and more to come.
Cellist and viola da gamba player Gavin Kibble studied first at Oxford with Laurence Dreyfus and then at the Royal Academy of Music with Jonathan Manson and Joseph Crouch. He now plays with many of the UK’s leading orchestras and ensembles, including the English Concert, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Gabrieli Consort, the Dunedin Consort, the Sixteen, Classical Opera, La Serenissima and the Early Opera Company. He is principal cellist of English Touring Opera and has been guest continuo cellist at the Opera del Liceu in Barcelona. Gavin is involved with several exciting young groups such as Oxford Baroque, Ars Eloquentiae, Solomon’s Knot and La Nuova Musica. He also plays viola da gamba with the ‘Newe Vialles’.
Ensemble x.y is a contemporary ensemble that commissions and performs new music in a flexible lineup www.ensemblexy.com
Violinist Mayah Kadish was born in Rome in 1988 and grew up in London. For several years she worked as a translator and studied philosophy, but then the pull back towards music took over. She obtained her Master’s degree from London’s Royal Academy of Music, studying with Remus Azoitei, following which she began her studies on the baroque violin with Enrico Onofri in Sicily. Mayah plays throughout Europe, mainly with baroque and contemporary repertoire, equally at home in both worlds. She has played as soloist and chamber musician in halls such as the Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Lisbon’s Centro Culturel de Belem, Paris Philharmonie and the Köln Philharmonie amongst others. She is a founding member of award-winning trio sonata group La Vaghezza (currently an Emerging European Ensemble) and violinist of Berlin-based genre-defying ensemble s t a r g a z e directed by André de Ridder, as well as of the London-based contemporary Ensemble x.y.
Concert highlights of 2016 include making contemporary arrangements of renaissance madrigals to play with ensemble x.y in a concert for Deutschland Radiokultur, premiering Mica Levi’s first string quartet at the Roundhouse (London) with the London Contemporary Orchestra Soloists, performing Steve Reich’s music for pieces of wood in an instrumental arrangement with s t a r g a z e at the Philharmonie de Paris, and a European tour as soloist in a programme of concerti grossi with Rachel Podger and EUBO.
Ensemble x.y is a contemporary ensemble that commissions and performs new music in a flexible lineup www.ensemblexy.com
Soprano Katherine Manley studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, Glasgow and the Benjamin Britten International Opera School at the Royal College of Music, London.
In the current 2017 season Katherine features in Michel van der Aa’s latest one-woman-opera, BlankOut which she has performed at the Beijing Music Festival and Musica Nova Helsinki, for Finnish National Opera. Other recent world premiers include the role of Wife in The Last Hotel by Donnacha Dennehy (music) and Enda Walsh (text) at the Edinburgh Festival, London Covent Garden and New York St Ann’s Warehouse. Katherine also performed Dennehy’s revised score of The Hunger in BAM, New York, the Kennedy Center Washington DC, and for St Louis Opera, with contemporary ensemble Alarm Will Sound. Katherine revisits the role of Zenna Briggs in Van der Aa’s Sunken Garden which she created at English National Opera 2013, at both the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and Essen Philharmonie.
In addition to her growing reputation in the contemporary operatic repertoire, Katherine is already established as an outstanding performer of baroque music. She played Creuse in David McVicar’s production of Charpentier’s Medée, ENO, A number of Monteverdi roles include the title role in Poppea, conducted by Christian Curnyn, Messaggera/Proserpina in Orfeo with Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music at the Barbican Centre London, The Return of Ulysses (the Young Vic) for English National Opera. Katherine has sung Venus, Venus & Adonis with director Netia Jones, & Belinda in After Dido, a joint venture by ENO/The Young Vic directed by Katie Mitchell, She made her US stage debut as Oriana in Handel’s Amadigi for Central City Opera, Colorado. Other operatic roles include Lucia, The Rape of Lucretia for Angers/Nantes Opera & Sandman/Dew Fairy Hänsel und Gretel for Opera North.
Over the past seasons Katherine has been a popular guest artist at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, featuring in the leading roles of Eliza Doolittle, in Robert Carson’sMy Fair Lady, & Maria in The Sound of Music, proving equally at home in high profile musical theatre productions she also sung Maria for Central City Opera & Julie in Carousel for Opera North at the Barbican Theatre,
Her concert engagements include Judith Weir’s Natural History for Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Max Richter’s Memoryhouse, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, Edinburgh International Festival singing The Indian Queen with The Sixteen. Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with Capriccio Barockorchester, Saul with Daniel Reuss, Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 at The Sage, Northern Sinfonia. La Statue in Rameau’s Pigmalion with the OAE. Bach’s Matthew and John Passions, Bach Cantatas with Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra & Britten Sinfonia, and Christmas Oratorios throughout Europe. She has sung Jephtha with The King’s Consort, Switzerland, Israel in Egypt on tour with Musik Podium Stuttgart. The Fairy Queen with McCreesh & Gabrieli Consort & Players, & La descente d’Orphée at the Wigmore Hall. Recording’s made include Handel’s Il Pastor Fido with Harmonia Mundi, LNM, and Joshua with the London Handel Festival, Laurence Cummings.
Katherine recently sung with Deutsche Oper in Graham Vick’s new production of Britten’s Death in Venice and the German premier of BlankOut at KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen. Future engagements take in the Philharmonie de Paris- Berio Folk Songs, a newly commissioned song cycle by Emily Hall, libretto by Enda Walsh, written for Katherine and Crash Ensemble SFSH, the US premier of Sunken Garden with Dallas Opera, and Pamina in the Magic Flute, also USA 2018.
Josephine Stephenson (b. 1990) is a Franco-British composer and performer based in London. Her music has been commissioned by the BBC and Radio France and performed by artists and groups such as s t a r g a z e, gambist Liam Byrne, violist Stephen Upshaw, explorensemble, the Van Kuijk Quartet, the ensemble Miroirs Étendus and the Maîtrise de Radio France, in places such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Auditorium the Radio France, the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, LSO St Luke’s and the Festival Lyrique d’Aix en Provence. Her most recent work includes Les Constellations – Une Théorie, a devised opera written in collaboration with the French theatre company L’Éventuel Hérisson Bleu and co-produced by Lille Opera. She regularly collaborates with film and theatre makers as well as bands, and is one of the three artistic directors of the London-based concert series and record label Listenpony, which puts on events mixing contemporary classical music with traditional classical music and popular genres. As a soprano, she sings with choirs and vocal ensembles such as EXAUDI, Tenebrae, the Erebus Ensemble, the LCO and Shards, and recently sang the title role in Tom Phillips’s experimental opera IRMA with Apartment House at the South London Gallery, as well as Philip Glass’s Music In Twelve Parts at the Barbican.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch is a music broadcaster, writer, presenter and curator.
She presents The Choir, Music Matters, Hear & Now and live concerts on BBC Radio 3, and curates and hosts Open Ear (Radio 3’s new music showcase). She also presents the BBC Proms on Radio 3, BBCFOUR and BBC World Service.
Sara has written for The Guardian, Huffington Post, BBC Music Magazine and others. She also hosts pre-concert events for a variety of festivals and venues including the Royal Opera House, Barbican and Southbank Centre. Her voice can be heard on gallery audio guides around the world. She works closely as an advisor with Garsington Opera, Spitalfields Music, NMC Recordings and PRS Foundation.
Sara was born in London in 1980. She holds a First Class music degree from Cambridge University, and a masters with distinction in musicology from the University of Edinburgh. After graduating, she worked for the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival and Berliner Philharmoniker before joining BBC Radio 3 as Breakfast presenter in 2007.