2013 Festival Commission

There are two Festival Commission's this year.

Shabaka Hutchings

Shabaka Hutchings

Saturday 13th July 8.00 p.m.

Shabaka Hutchings
the Ligeti String Quartet

will perform the premiere of:
‘Clarinet and String Quartet’
Composed and played by Shabaka and Ligeti String Quartet

Shabaka Hutchings writes:

The commission is inspired by slow moving pieces of music, music in which one can see how changes in rhythmic and melodic emphasis take place and come to grips with the process which the composer is taking you through. I first considered using the string quartet setup because of my love of the sounds produced by both Bartok and early Schoenburg string quartets. Morton Feldman's piece for this setup opened me to the possibility of playing in this scenario and introduced me to the slow moving concept that I hope to employ with my piece. Also of influence has been the Umrhubhe mouth- bow music of Southern Africa which has, similar to Feldman, disregard for the constraints of time as a musical marker. The listener's apprehension of time no longer serves to aid cadence and structural limits.

About Shabaka Hutchings

Shabaka Hutchings was born in England and raised in Barbados, where he began his musical journey. There he played in local calypso bands, classical ensembles and various jazz groups. In 2003, he was awarded a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he completed a degree majoring in classical clarinet. During this time, he was involved with the Tomorrow's Warriors organisation, the Abraham Wilson sextet and Jazz Jamaica. He also led his own group, Splay, which performed at the Cheltenham and Coventry jazz festivals.

In 2008, Shabaka joined Courtney Pine's Jazz Warriors ensemble, which toured the United Kingdom and released a live album entitled 'Afropeans'. He also embarked on a long standing relationship with the band Polar Bear, serving as the regular replacement for the saxophonists in the group. Shabaka's next self-led project was the group Zed-U, a genre-defying trio comprised of Neil Charles on electric bass and Tom Skinner on drums. Zed-U strove to merge the varied musical worlds coexisting in London at the time: where jazz, punk, electronica, dub and ambient music could be meshed into one homogenous experience. The group released their debut album 'Night-time on the Middle Passage' on Babel Records to critical acclaim.

In 2009, Shabaka was invited to join the group The Heliocentrics and featured on their 'Inspiration, Information' album (Strut Records), working with Ethiopian vibraphone and percussion master, Mulatu Astatke. He has since undertaken numerous European tours with them and features on their forthcoming album.

Up until this point in his career, Shabaka has been able to share the stage with many top jazz musicians and ensembles. These include Jack DeJohnette at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Charlie Haden with his Liberation Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, the UK-based trip-hop group Red Snapper in a tour of Russia, and Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra at the Barbican Centre. Shabaka is part of London's community of younger jazz musicians, and has recorded with and performed in numerous ensembles (such as those led by Kit Downes, Jay Phelps, Arun Ghosh, Kaidi Tatham, and Tom Challenger to name a few).

Shabaka is also a part of London's thriving improvised music scene and has performed free music in various musical settings. He has played with the likes of Evan Parker, John Butcher, Lol Coxhill, the South African legend Louis Moholo, Pat Thomas, John Edwards and Mark Sanders. Until recently, he was a member of a regular trio with the late Tony Marsh and bassist Guillaume Viltard. In 2011, Shabaka took part in a three day festival in Berlin called 'just not cricket' showcasing 3 generations of British free improvisation. The performances were documented to be released as a feature film in the near future.

Shabaka's latest project is the group Sons of Kemet, which includes Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner on drums, and Oren Marshall on tuba. This group explores Shabaka's Caribbean heritage and has been described by the Guardian as "a dazzlingly adventurous and very accessible groove-band….almost certain to dominate the best of 2012 lists at the end of the year". In 2011, Sons of Kemet was asked to record an exclusive set for a BBC Jazz on 3 programme showcasing the band. Sons of Kemet's debut album is due for release later in 2013.

In 2010, Shabaka was granted the title of BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist which has allowed him to undertake numerous commissions, as well as broadcast performances on radio over the last couple years. These have included performances with Julian Joseph, the BBC Big Band, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (with whom he performed the Copland Clarinet Concerto in the Wales Millennium Centre). Shabaka was commissioned to compose a piece for the BBC Concert Orchestra in the 2012 London Jazz Festival. For this performance he assembled the Sons of Kemet plus two electronic musicians - Leafcutter John and Jason Singh to create a fusion of modern classical, jazz and electronica worlds. The piece 'Babylon' was performed in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Gregory Rose

Gregory Rose

‘Garden of the Gods’ by Gregory Rose

Jill Kemp (recorder) and Aleksander Szram (piano)
will present the premiere of this work on
Wednesday 10th July 8.00 p.m.

Gregory Rose writes:

Garden of the Gods is inspired by the ruins of the 'Odeion (concert hall) of Agrippa', constructed in about 15 BC in the Agora just below the ancient Acropolis in Athens. This hall had an auditorium shaped like an amphitheatre and had a seating capacity for about 1,000 people, although the size was reduced in a subsequent re-build in AD 150. It was adorned by colossal figures of Giants and Tritons and was close to the "Altar of the Twelve Gods" and Temples of Hephaestus, Ares, Apollo and Aphrodite. It was destroyed by fire in AD 267. My piece takes the form of a suite of movements imagining being part of a concert in 15 BC, but linking this to music of today, and taking into account the virtuosity of Jill Kemp and Aleks Szram.

About Gregory Rose

Composer/conductor Gregory Rose studied with two former pupils of Schoenberg, Hans Jelinek (Vienna Music Academy) and Egon Wellesz (Oxford), and his father, Bernard Rose. He has composed orchestral, instrumental and choral music, including many liturgical pieces. His Missa Sancta Pauli Apostoli won a one of the 2006 British Composer Awards and several of his pieces have been published and broadcast. In 1998 he completed the unfinished Violin Concerto of Johann Nepomuk Hummel, which he subsequently recorded with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra for Naxos. His most ambitious project, a music-theatre piece called Danse macabre, was premiered in Tallinn, Estonia in 2011 and will receive its UK premiere on May 18th 2013 at St John at Waterloo.

As a conductor, Gregory Rose has worked with orchestras, ensembles and choirs throughout Eastern and Western Europe and the Far East, particularly in romantic and contemporary repertoires. Orchestras include the Finnish Radio Symphony, St Petersburg Symphony, London Philharmonic and Polish National Radio Symphony orchestras, and the National Symphony Orchestras of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Eire, the BBC Concert Orchestra, and his own Jupiter Orchestra & Singers, the amplified vocal ensemble Singcircle and CoMA London Ensemble. He has conducted many operas and has worked closely with composers such as Stockhausen, Cage and Steve Reich and has appeared in festivals throughout Europe, including two BBC Promenade concerts with Singcircle. Recently he collaborated in the premiere recording of John Cage’s iconic Song Books on the Sub Rosa label, which sold out its first pressing. He has arranged and conducted for Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt, Madness and Sasha & Shawna. He is a professor of conducting at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance.