Featuring BBC Concert Orchestra, Gavin Bryars, Eliza Carthy, Laurence Crane, Darkstar, Peter Edwards, Daniel Elms, EXAUDI, The Freedom Choir, GoGo Penguin, Gould Piano Trio, Emily Hall, Joe Harrison, Simon Holt, David Hoyle, Brian Irvine, Sam Lee, Ray Lee, Mica Levi, Toby Litt, London International Gospel Choir, London Sinfonietta, Mahogany Opera Group, Majiker, Anne Martin, James McVinnie, Anna Meredith, Moulettes, Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Hannah Peel, Jocelyn Pook, John Potter, Red Note Ensemble, Mark Simpson, Gyan Singh, Jason Singh, Southbank Sinfonia, Sharat Chandra Srivastava, Tubular Brass, Philip Venables, Errollyn Wallen andJennifer Walshe
GoGo Penguin (credit Emily Dennison), Mica Levi (no credit)
Friday 7 – Sunday 9 July 2017, Southbank Centre
A celebration of new music from the UK’s most talented composers and musicians, the New Music Biennial — presented in partnership with Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England and BBC Radio 3 —presents a snapshot of contemporary music in the UK across all genres from classical and chamber opera to jazz, folk, electronic and music for brass band and organ.
New Music Biennial 2017 comprises eleven brand new works from Gavin Bryars, Eliza Carthy, Darkstar, Peter Edwards, Daniel Elms, Mercury Prize-nominated artists GoGo Penguin and Sam Lee, Emily Hall, Simon Holt, Ray Lee and Southbank Centre Associate Artist and BAFTA-nominated Mica Levi alongside nine pre-existing works that have been composed within the last 15 years, including Anna Meredith’s Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra, commissioned by Southbank Centre in 2010.
Works are performed in a range of settings across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site. From outdoor pop-up giant bell towers as part of Ray Lee’s new piece Ring Out to a performance of Sam Lee’s folk creation Hullucination on the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, audiences are invited to discover new music in an interactive way, outside of the traditional concert hall setting. Each bite-sized piece, lasting 15 minutes, is performed at least twice enabling audiences to see and hear all the winning compositions across the weekend. Alongside the new music are workshops, Q+A sessions with the composers, pop-up performances and a late-night after party show from London-based electronic music duo Darkstar as well as a six-week course in Music Journalism in which participants are offered the opportunity to develop a number of skills including interviewing, feature-writing and designing a magazine.
This year’s festival builds on the successes of the New Music Biennial 2014 and Cultural Olympiad programme, New Music 20×12, both presented at Southbank Centre. All New Music Biennial commissions receive public performances in Hull on 30 June – 2 July as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations and 7- 9 July at London’s Southbank Centre and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Highlights of the weekend include:
Mercury Prize-nominated Manchester-based acoustic-electronica trio GoGo Penguin pay tribute to Basil Kirchin, the pioneering film composer, in their new commission As Above So Below, inspired by the industrial landscapes of the North (8 July)
Sound artist and composer Ray Lee’s new work Ring Out featuring digitally-produced bell song alongside the visual spectacle of 4 giant bell towers installed across the site (8 – 9 July)
Bethia, a new work by Daniel Elms performed by a small group of chamber musicians alongside projected film footage from the BFI National and Yorkshire Film archives (7 July)
Outdoor performances of new works by leading lights of the folk scene including Mercury-prize nominees Sam Lee and Eliza Carthy (8 July)
BBC Young Musician of the Year Mark Simpson and BBC Concert Orchestra perform Simon Holt’s new basset clarinet concerto, inspired by a black and white print by English artist, Cecil Collins (9 July)
Family-friendly performances including new children’s opera The Itch-Witch written by Emily Hall and author Toby Litt (8 July)
A new piece from Southbank Centre Associate Artist Mica Levi, the classically trained singer, songwriter, BAFTA nominated composer and producer who is best known for her band Micachu & The Shapes, written with the BBC Concert Orchestra drawing on and utilising the Orchestra’s huge sound and great power (9 July)
A performance of Anna Meredith’s Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra, the first fully developed orchestral work to feature a beatboxer as the soloist, commissioned in 2010 by Southbank Centre and featuring soloist Majiker (7 July)
A performance of Olivier Award-winning composer Jocelyn Pook’s Anxiety Fanfare and Variations exploring the concept of performance anxiety, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation in 2014 and performed by the Jocelyn Pook Ensemble and the community singers of the London International Gospel Choir, led by Naveen Arles. (9 July)
Composer-led workshops and Q+A sessions offering audiences an opportunity to try out and learn more about the music being performed throughout the weekend including a Schools Day (7 July) put together in collaboration with BBC Proms Inspire
Gillian Moore, Director of Music, Southbank Centre said: “The New Music Biennial is such an important platform and we’re thrilled to celebrate once again the talent and diversity of composers working in the UK today. Southbank Centre is committed to presenting new music in ever-more innovative and engaging ways, and through these performances and the supporting programme of workshops and Q+As, we look forward to inspiring many people with the sheer excitement of music-making.”
Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation said, “I’m delighted that Southbank Centre is again presenting this free weekend of new music which celebrates the talent and imagination of UK composers. I look forward to being at this exciting event which will gives audiences a chance to explore a huge array of different musical styles and ideas.”
Full listings below.
For more information visit
Press images can be found here.
For press information and interviews, please contact:
Naomi Burgoyne, Senior Press Manager, Southbank Centre: 020 7921 0824 / naomi.burgoyne@
Naomi French, Press Officer, Southbank Centre: 020 7921 0678 / naomi.french@southbankcentre.
Daniel Elms – Bethia
Commissioned by British Film Institute
Friday 7 July, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Written for a small group of chamber musicians, Bethia is performed alongside projected film footage from the BFI National and Yorkshire Film archives, edited and adapted to accompany the music.
Darkstar – new work for organ
Commissioned and performed by James McVinnie
Friday 7 July, 9pm – 10pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Darkstar gained critical and popular attention with their single ‘Aidy’s Girl is a Computer’, which combined elements of grime, dubstep and synth-pop. More recently, they have scored the Palme d’Or-nominated short film Dreamlands and collaborated with Gaika and Empress Of on their Warp Records EP Made to Measure. Here they have collaborated with organist James McVinnie for a new work for organ.
Ray Lee – Ring Out
Commissioned by Oxford Contemporary Music
Saturday 8 July: 11:30am, 2pm, 6pm; Sunday 9 July: 12:30pm, 2pm, 5pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall Slip Road, Free
Renowned for creating music for public places, sound artist and composer Ray Lee has created an outdoor musical and visual spectacle. Visitors are invited to walk freely around the space to experience micro-melodies shifting and changing in this composition. https://www.southbankcentre.
Emily Hall – The Itch-Witch
Commissioned by Mahogany Opera Group
Saturday 8 July, 1pm – 2pm & 3pm – 4pm, The Blue Room at Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Children are invited to explore the ambiguous nature of witches in this visual and atmospheric event for ages 8 to 11. Written by composer Emily Hall and author Toby Litt and performed by children, The Itch-Witch forms part of the nationwide project Snappy Operas.
Gavin Bryars – Winestead
Commissioned by Opera North
Saturday 8 July, 3pm – 4pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Hear composer Gavin Bryars’ piece inspired by the mysterious landscape of Holderness/Spurn Head, and by the life and poetry of Andrew Marvell. Performed by John Potter.
Sam Lee – Hullucination
Commissioned by The Nest Collective
Saturday 8 July, 4pm – 5pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden at Southbank Centre, Free
Hull’s history of vernacular folk song is presented through a collection of songs from in and around the city, assembled by Mercury Prize-nominated Sam Lee. Hullucination paints a musical portrait of the city and its manifold characters and characteristics.
Eliza Carthy in collaboration with Moulettes – Rivers and Railways
Commissioned by Freedom Festival
Saturday 8 July, 5pm – 6pm, Outdoor spaces at Southbank Centre, Free
Rivers and Railways is a collaboration between English folk musician Eliza Carthy and celebrated sonic adventurers Moulettes, exploring the theme of what makes a city what it is, when it is perched on the edge of a place, a port, a destination, an identity. Using local stories and music to create the new work, alongside creative staging, this work is a moving and unique piece with a strong Hull flavour.
Peter Edwards – A Journey with the Giants of Jazz
Commissioned by Turner Sims, Southampton
Performed by Nu Civilisation Orchestra
Saturday 8 July, 8pm – 9pm, Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Free
Pianist, composer and bandleader Peter Edwards has created a new work inspired by the year 1917, a seminal year for jazz which saw the first ever commercial jazz recording and the births of some of the genre’s most influential artists.
GoGo Penguin – As Above So Below
Commissioned by J-Night Jazz Promoters
Performed by GoGo Penguin
Saturday 8 July, 9pm – 10pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Mercury Prize-nominated Manchester-based acoustic-electronica trio GoGo Penguin pay tribute to Basil Kirchin, the pioneering film composer, in their new commission As Above So Below, inspired by the industrial landscapes of the North. https://www.southbankcentre.
Simon Holt – Concerto for clarinet & orchestra (for Mark Simpson)
Commissioned by BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Performed by Mark Simpson and BBC Concert Orchestra
Sunday 9 July, 1pm – 2pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free Ticketed
BBC Young Musician of the Year Mark Simpson performs Simon Holt’s new basset clarinet concerto which was inspired by a black and white print by English artist, Cecil Collins, of a rampant bull-like creature with fearsome horns.
Mica Levi – New 15 Minute Commission (New work for BBC Concert Orchestra)
Commissioned and performed by BBC Concert Orchestra
Sunday 9 July, 3pm – 4pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Mica Levi is a classically trained singer, songwriter, BAFTA-nominated composer and producer, who is best known for her band Micachu & The Shapes. The new piece she has written with the BBC Concert Orchestra draws on and utilises the orchestra’s huge sound and great power.
Anna Meredith – Concerto for Beatboxer & orchestra
Commissioned by Southbank Centre
Performed by Southbank Sinfonia and Majiker
Friday 7 July, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Free
Commissioned by Southbank Centre in 2010 this concerto by composer, producer and performer Anna Meredith was the first fully developed orchestral work to feature a beatboxer as the soloist. Featuring beatboxing soloist Majiker. https://www.southbankcentre.
Errollyn Wallen – Mighty River
Commissioned by Oxford Contemporary Music
Saturday 8 July, 12pm – 1pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Exploring themes of slavery and freedom, Mighty River combines contemporary classical techniques with spirituals which were introduced to Hull in 1871 by the Fisk Jubilee Singers – an African-American a cappella choir of ex-slaves. The piece, written for orchestra, takes its inspiration from William Wilberforce the English politician, philanthropist and leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade
Laurence Crane – Pieces About Art
Commissioned and performed by EXAUDI
Saturday 8 July, 6pm – 7pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Visitors are invited to hear a new work from Laurence Crane, who teaches composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The piece explores boundaries between music and texts, composers and artists.
Jason Singh & Anna Martin (UK) with Sharat Chandra Srivastava, Gyan Singh (India) – Ceumannan – Fottsteps. 2
Commissioned by Atlas Arts
Performed by Anne Martin, Jason Singh, Sharat Chandra Srivastava, Gyan Singh, Joe Harrison
Saturday 8 July, 7pm – 8pm & 9pm – 10pm, Blue Room at Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
A meld of traditional Gaelic song and North Indian Raga, this piece is performed by Anne Martin, Jason Singh, Sharat Chandra Srivastava, Gyan Singh and Joe Harrison
Brian Irvine & Jennifer Walshe – 13 Vices
Commissioned by Moving on Music
Sunday 9 July, 2pm – 3pm & 4pm – 5pm, Blue Room at Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed, For ages 11+
Two of the UK and Ireland’s most dynamic compositional voices, Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe alongside Red Note Ensemble present 13 Vices, a work written for ensemble, improvisers, conductor and voice which melts the boundaries between theatre, opera, poetry and contemporary music.
Jocelyn Pook – Anxiety Fanfare and Variations
Commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation
Performed by the Jocelyn Pook Ensemble and the community singers of the London International Gospel Choir
Sunday 9 July, 2pm – 3pm, Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Free
This piece commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation in 2014 and composed by Olivier and BAFTA award-winning Jocelyn Pook explores the concept of performance anxiety.
Mark Simpson – After Avedon: 25th anniversary piece for the Gould Piano Trio
Commissioned by Gould Piano Trio
Performed by Gould Piano Trio
Sunday 9 July, 4pm – 5pm & 5:30pm – 6:30pm, Weston Roof Pavilion at Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Together with the Gould Piano Trio’s performance of the complete Beethoven cycle at Wigmore Hall, Mark Simpson’s composition forms the centrepiece of the trio’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Hannah Peel – Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia
Commissioned by Root Music
Sunday 9 July, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Free
Together with the newly formed brass band Tubular Brass, Peel takes listeners on an interstellar journey that combines the rich power of traditional brass with the uplifting arpeggiated patterns and unearthly sound textures of analogue synthesizers.
Philip Venables & David Hoyle – Illusions
Commissioned by London Sinfonietta
Performed by London Sinfonietta and David Hoyle
Sunday 9 July, 7:30pm – 8:30pm, Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed, For Ages 18+
Illusions explores themes of government, LGBT rights and the rituals of music and art performance, and features footage of avant-garde performance artist David Hoyle. Performed by an ensemble of nine musicians.
WORKSHOPS AND OTHER EVENTS
Music Journalism: Making a Magazine
Tuesday 30 May, 6, 13, 20, 27, 29 June, 6pm – 8.30pm and 1st July 10.30am – 6pm, Boardroom at Royal Festival Hall, Ticketed (only available after application process) £40, Bursary places are available
Set over six weekly sessions, this one-off course offers participants the opportunity to develop a number of skills including interviewing, feature writing and designing a magazine. Led by music journalist and editor Amanda Holloway, the course involves access to a Southbank Centre gig, and all the New Music Biennial performances at Southbank Centre.
Young People’s Composing Day with BBC Proms Inspire
Friday 7 July, 10.30am – 2.30pm, The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, £4 per child, Bursary places available
Participants are encouraged to get hands on with a handful of the New Music Biennial commissioned composers in this special event for school groups, put together in collaboration with BBC Proms Inspire. Students can learn more about composers’ work and try out some music themselves in workshops with Anna Meredith, Hannah Peel and more.
Composers’ Question Time
Friday 7 July, 1.30pm – 2.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Royal Festival Hall, Free
Visitors are invited to find out more about life as a composer and the New Music Biennial process in this composers’ Q&A. The expert panel of composers, who have been awarded commissions as part of the New Music Biennial, take the stage to answer questions about creating their work and the current landscape of composing new music in the UK.
Friday 7 July, 2pm – 3pm, The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Free
Visitors are welcome to try out new and experimental music for singers, commissioned from some of the world’s leading composers for the CoMA Partsong Book, led by composer and director of Exaudi, James Weeks. After this, Exaudi will perform Pieces about Art by Laurence Crane in a free Royal Festival Hall concert, as part of New Music Biennial.
Warming Up with Electronic
Friday 7 July, 8pm – 8.45pm, The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Free
Visitors are welcome to warm up for an evening of amazing electronic music with this free foyer performance, before Darkstar perform their new commission with James McVinnie. This is followed by an after party event with Darkstar.
Darkstar After Party
Friday 7 July, 10pm – 11.30pm, Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Free
This is a special one-off show from London-based electronic music duo Darkstar, aka James Young and Aiden Whalley. The gig follows the performance of their new collaboration with James McVinnie in Royal Festival.
Snappy Opera Workshop for Children
Saturday 8 July, 2pm – 2.45pm, St Pauls Roof Pavilion at Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Snappy Operas is a nationwide project making opera with young people aged 7 – 11. Children are invited to join Mahogany Opera in this free workshop session and get a taste of opera, as well as trying out their performing skills.
Jazz Composition with Peter Edwards
Sunday 9 July, 11.30am, Level 3 Function Room at Royal Festival Hall, Free ticketed
Join composer, arranger and band leader Peter Edwards for this free workshop taking you through how he puts together his new commission, Journey with the Giants of Jazz.
More details of all 20 of the selected New Music Biennial 2017 commissions here
NOTES TO EDITORS
About New Music Biennial
PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial is an exciting and free new music festival which forms part of Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, presenting 20 pieces of new music across two festival weekends in Hull (30th June – 2nd July 2017) and at London’s Southbank Centre (7th – 9th July 2017) and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial is generously supported by Hull UK City of Culture, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England, BBC Radio 3, Southbank Centre, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Cockayne, The John S Cohen Foundation, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, The Finzi Trust, RVW Trust, The Bliss Trust and NMC Recordings. www.newmusicbiennial.co.uk
About Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 17 acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk. Southbank Centre is carrying out vital restoration work on the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room to make the buildings fit for future generations to enjoy, more information can be found here: letthelightin.southbankcentre.
About PRS Foundation
PRS Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development. Since 2000 PRS Foundation has given more than £23.6 million to over 5,300 new music initiatives by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support music sector development. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity – from composer residencies and commissions to festivals and showcases in the UK and overseas. www.prsformusicfoundation.com