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Unique musical collaboration features in New Music Biennial

Posted on 26 April 2013

A unique musical collaboration between one of the UK’s most talented Steel Pan musicians, concertina player, a DJ and clog dancer – commissioned by Sage Gateshead – will feature in the first ever UK-wide New Music Biennial.

A unique musical collaboration between one of the UK’s most talented Steel Pan musicians, a concertina player, a DJ and clog dancer – commissioned by Sage Gateshead – will feature in the first ever UK-wide New Music Biennial.

Led by master of the English concertina Alistair Anderson, the project will also involve youth steel bands from the UK and the West Indies. It is one of just 20 new commissions selected from over 130 proposals to premiere across the length and breadth of the UK in 2014 at the New Music Biennial, a PRS for Music Foundation initiative. It will also feature at two weekend showcases hosted by London’s Southbank Centre and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music and on BBC Radio 3. NMC Recordings will be releasing each piece of new music via digital downloads.

Beginning in January 2014, the first edition of the New Music Biennial has been developed by PRSF in partnership with Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and the British Council.

Sage Gateshead’s project builds on its existing strong links with Trinidad, taking the composition work already done combining steel panning with DJ-ing and Northumbrian music to a new level, through the mentoring of Alistair Anderson and Sage Gateshead’s own steel panner Wendy Doyle by renowned Trinidadian steel pan composer and arranger Professor Ken Philmore. The end product will involve DJ, solo concertina, steel pan, a clog dancer and youth steel band.

Alistair Anderson said: “I have always loved the joyful dynamic sound of steel pan bands. Working with Wendy Doyle from Sage Gateshead and Steel Quake, their wonderful young band from rural Northumberland, gave me a real insight into their musical potential.
“With this exciting opportunity to study and perform with some of the world’s great steel pannists I can explore whole new soundscapes.”

Ros Rigby, Performance Programme Director at Sage Gateshead, said: “This award will allow this unique collaboration between our young steel pannists, led by the hugely talented Wendy Doyle, and North East traditional music via the composer Alistair Anderson to develop further, and benefit from mentoring from West Indian Steel Pan virtuosi. The outcome is guaranteed to be exciting and will strengthen our musical links with Trinidad long term.”

The New Music Biennial opened earlier this year, when organisations from all over the country submitted ideas for commissions they would like to realise with a UK based composer, working in any genre. They were invited to present commissioning ideas that would result in outstanding new music and include an international dimension that could tie in with Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games – whether a conceptual realisation or collaboration with partners overseas.

The works selected for the New Music Biennial cover a wide range of genres, reflecting the diversity and richness of musical life across the UK – from contemporary classical, folk and jazz to world music, urban and electronic.

The New Music Biennial commissions were chosen by an expert judging panel including one of the UK’s most eminent musicians Dame Evelyn Glennie, singer/songwriter and broadcaster Cerys Matthews, award-winning composer Max Richter and multi-talented composer/saxophonist Jason Yarde, the Southbank Centre’s Head of Classical Music, Gillian Moore and Director of Glasgow UNESCO City of Music, Svend Brown. The panel was chaired by Roger Wright (Controller BBC Radio 3 & Director BBC Proms).

Vanessa Reed, Executive Director of PRS for Music Foundation, said: “As lead funder of new music in the UK, we’re constantly inspired by the imagination and quality of the many composers and commissioning organisations we support. The New Music Biennial gives us the opportunity to celebrate this creativity by presenting outstanding new music – in any genre – which has the potential to inspire audiences across the UK.

We’re proud to be working with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and British Council to realise this ambitious new programme and with Southbank Centre and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music who’ll give us the chance to hear all 20 commissions across two weekends next summer.”

Roger Wright, Controller BBC Radio 3, Director BBC Proms and Chair of the New Music Biennial judging panel, comments: “It is always a pleasure to celebrate the diversity and quality of the UK’s contemporary compositional scene. The 20 projects selected by the distinguished panel are wide-ranging and exciting. They promise to offer a stimulating experience, either live or in the radio broadcasts. There were many strong applications for this first New Music Biennial and our task, choosing 20 commissions, was not an easy one.”


Ends

Contact

Rebecca Tempest, Marketing & Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead
T. 0191 443
E. Rebecca.tempest@thesagegateshead.org

For more information about New Music Biennial contact Talia Hull, 07834 431 007 or talia@littledeskpr.com.

Notes to editors

The New Music Biennial is presenting a series of 20 brand new music commissions to audiences across the UK in 2014. All of these commissions will also be presented at two weekend showcases in London (4 – 6 July 2014) and Glasgow (2 – 3 August 2014) coinciding with the Commonwealth Games.

It is a PRS for Music Foundation initiative, in partnership with Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and the British Council, and presented in collaboration with BBC Radio 3, NMC Recordings, Southbank Centre and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music. Additional support has been given by John S. Cohen Foundation, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Incorporated Society of Musicians and The Bliss Trust.

www.newmusicbiennial.com
www.prsformusicfoundation.com

Alistair Anderson
With no less than 37 tours of the USA, 5 trips to Australia and countless European tours to his credit, Alistair Anderson is internationally acknowledged as the master of the English Concertina and as a fine composer for that instrument alone and with other musical genres. Anderson’s passionate belief that traditional music has an important place in society led to the creation of Folkworks in 1988- one of the two founding partners of Sage Gateshead. Anderson continued as Folkworks Artistic Director until 2008. Working with Newcastle University, Anderson also developed England’s first degree course in folk and traditional music.

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