New professional ensemble led by disabled musicians

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has announced the names of a new professional ensemble led by disabled musicians. The six founding musicians of its new disabled-led ensemble are Siobhan Clough (violin/ viola), Phillip Howells (percussion), Roger Preston (cello), Kate Risdon (flute), Matthew Scott (clarinet) and Charlotte White (LinnStrument). The players trained at London conservatoires Trinity Laban, Royal Academy and Guildhall School of Music. The ensemble is a core part of […]

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It’s about listening, that’s all

Roxanna Panufnik, the Bach Choir, and the Royal Albert Hall (along with a host of others – geddit?) feature in a promo on the Guardian website today brought to my attention by Petroc Trelawny referring to it on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House earlier today.

The story is essentially a puff-piece designed to flag the Christmas Classics concert later this week during which a new carol by Panufnik will be premiered.

There is we learn a resurgence in carol-writing and according to Roxanna, carols are a great way to engage a new audience demonstrating that new classical music can be ‘tuneful’.

“She [Roxanna Panufnik] recognises that many people consider new classical music to be esoteric and difficult, and believes carols are an ideal way to engage them.”

Esoteric and difficult? That might be what some people think about ‘new music’ but that view is based on an assumption held by those people shaped in no small part by lazy writers.

New classical music isn’t something which needs to be made more engaging. It, like the works from history, doesn’t insist on prior knowledge, or expertise. All music needs is for people to listen to it and listen to themselves whilst they do so. 

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Winners at BASCA Composer Awards 2018

A funny thing happens when you see the human being responsible for new unfamiliar music. Sounds you assumed would alienate you when they are first introduced are given more of a fighting chance.

Tonight’s BASCA awards celebrating new music is a case in point.

Forget everything you’ve been conditioned to think of as music, and marvel at the living breathing entities who have conjured up the art they unleash.

Through their creations we hear an entirely different world: a personal statement on the world as they experience it.

I think most of us overlook that kind of achievement.

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