June-August 2020

Well it’s certainly not been the summer any of us expected, and although many performances of my work have been delayed or cancelled outright, I’m grateful to still be writing music. Hopefully the projects in the pipeline will eventually come to light! Just an update on where my main pieces are at:

Laniakea, for large orchestra and choir, was meant to be performed in Coole Park, Galway on September 26th, but given the size of the ensemble, and the concert itself, this is obviously not going ahead. There are discussions around rescheduling the event, so hopeful this will still happen, although as a choir is involved I might be waiting a while…

My ongoing project with the London Symphony Orchestra for their Soundhub Scheme is the next major piece on my to-do list! The rescheduled concert is now down for Feb 13th 2021, and I hope to head over to London in late Sep to work with some of their musicians on the first draft.

In June I finished up two suites of pieces, one for solo clarinet (for Francesco Paolo Scola of the Ulster Orchestra. After working together on Scamper he requested a set of short pieces) When Aslan shakes his mane, and one for solo piano. The piano suite was written for Cahal Masterson, supported by Moving On Music, and will feature on my forthcoming portrait CD in 2021. There’s been a lot of work trying to organise funding for the CD, and decisions about what pieces are possible to record given the pandemic restrictions! I had hoped initially that it might be a collection of my choral works, but the current iteration features mainly solo instruments. I’m remaining flexible with my plans for what the finished album will look like, so we’ll see what becomes of it over the next few months.

I’m putting the finishing touches on Cross-Purposes and Refractions, two chamber works that have taken up most of July and August. Commissioned by the CRASH Ensemble and the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, it’s been a pleasure to work on new pieces for musicians I have collaborated with on several occasions. Cross-Purposes will be released on CRASH Records sometime in the Autumn, and Refractions will feature in HRSE’s next season.

It’s always an inspiring experience for me to work with the text of Scottish poet Euan Tait, and I had the opportunity to use a poem he wrote for me, Babelsong, when I collaborated with NY-based pianist Adam Marks over lockdown. The score was an experiment in writing a one-page graphic score, and I greatly enjoyed the challenge (head over to the work’s page if you want to see it). Adam interprets the piece creatively and with nuance. I’m currently exploring a larger project with Euan which could keep me writing for quite some time, so keep an eye out for any updates on that…

And finally, the LSO gave my piece for solo cello, The Anguish of John Paton, a second, virtual outing during a streamed YouTube concert. You can watch Orlando Jopling of the LSO play it here.