A trip to the Fundaciů Joan Miro in Barcelona this February sparked the idea for my latest commission, Woman Dreaming of Escape. Itís a twenty minute work for voice and string trio, commissioned by violinist Miranda Fulleylove, with funds from the RVW Trust.
Mezzo soprano, Lucy Schaufer, will give the premiere in beautiful Smedmore House in Dorset on 14th October, with a string trio led by Miranda Fulleylove.
My first draft is almost complete - musical lines and gestures take their cues from the repeated ideas found in Joan Miroís paintings. Iíve used fragments of poetry by surrealists, Robert Desnos and Gertrude Stein to create the voice of the dreaming woman. Iím really looking forward to developing the piece in collaboration with the performers over the summer.
Iím excited to be recording a new CD of my solos and duos for Prima Facie Records this summer. The first tracks to be recorded are A Field Guide to Pebbles, a collection of short pieces composed for brilliant percussionists O Duo (Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox). These are quirky miniatures, composed last year, and funded by the Arts Council of Wales. Instruments range from log drums to woks.
Other tracks on the CD will include solos for piano and harp, various instrumental duos and Songs of the Sea Dreamer, settings of Russell Hoban poems for tenor voice and harp, commissioned and premiered last year by Michael Bennett and Sandrine Chatron.
Dyfed Young Composers Update
This month sees the next stage of the Dyfed Young Composers project, when I'll be visiting eighty young composers in schools and colleges across South West Wales. They are all composing brand new pieces for the Galos Piano Trio to play during workshops in March. Around a dozen of these will be selected for a public concert at Rhos-y-Gilwen in Pembrokeshire, one of my favourite events of the year!
So, a new school year begins and I'm thrilled to be the Resident Composer for the Young Muisc Makers of Dyfed's Young Composer Scheme again. I'll be joined this year by the Galos Piano Trio from London. We'll be kicking off with a series of 'how to compose for piano trio' sessions in schools this month. Then I'll be checking my tyre pressures and heading off to visit over one hundred young composers in twelve secondary schools across West Wales over the coming year, helping them to prepare new compositions for the trio to perform in the spring...
Night Dances, for flute and piano, has been selected as a set work for the new A level music syllabus in Wales (WJEC). A brand new edition of the score has been published by Cadenza Music and a recording by Catherine Handley and Andrew Wilson-Dickson is available on 'Ariel', a CD of music from Wales.
I feel very lucky to be one of twelve composers who has just been awarded a grant from the PRSF/ Esmee Fairbairn Composers Fund. The Composers Fund will support the international promotion of my four operas and other key works and allow me time to imagine and plan a series of new projects. Itís a unique opportunity to properly address the promotion of my music and put time aside for some essential forward-planning.
An archive recording of my early orchestral work, ĎBlueí, performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Martin Brabbins, at St Davidís Hall, Cardiff in 1996. Broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Friday 10th March.