Thursday 12 December 2019

Migrating Sounds: Rebecca Saunders, Richard Causton, Vito Žuraj, and Shiori Usui at BCMG

Rebecca Saunders
Rebecca Saunders
On Sunday (15 December 2019) the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) will be presenting a pair of new works by Rebecca Saunders and by Richard Causton as part of its Migrating Sounds programme at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham. The concert features the UK premiere of Rebecca Saunders' Scar and the world premiere of Richard Causton's Transients, both works commissioned via the BCMG Sound Investment scheme, plus Tension by Vito Žuraj, and Shiori Usui’s Deep.

Saunders' Scar is inspired by the idea of residual marks and the way in which paper is physically marked, left to right, by annotated music. Written for 15 soloists, the work is based on a left/right-hand axis of two grand pianos, two percussionists, a button accordion and electric guitar. The rest of the ensemble is added to this, bass clarinet, trumpet, horn, trombone, violin, viola, cello and 5-string double bass. In the video below, Stephan Meier, BCMG's artistic director, introduces Saunders' manuscript.

Scar is the latest in the on-going relationship between Saunders and BCMG which began in 2017 (including a piece by Saunders at BCMG's 30th birthday concert) and Scar will be the fifth work by Saunders that BCMG has performed this year, though in fact BCMG first performed a work by Saunders back in 2010! And in November this year, BCMG gave a repeat performance of Stirrings Still at Conservatoire à rayonnement regional de Paris.

Vito Žuraj's Tension will be performed in a new version for two ensembles with NEXT musicians side-by-side. Shiori Usui’s Deep was written in 2014 as part of BCMG’s Apprentice Composer-in-Residence Scheme run in partnership with Sound and Music. The work takes the listener on a musical journey to the very bottom of the ocean, and was inspired by the BBC TV series, Blue Planet

Rebecca Saunders is the recent recipient of the Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize, an award sometimes known as the ‘Nobel Prize for Music’; previous recipients include Yehudi Menuhin, Leonard Bernstein and Daniel Barenboim. Richard Causton is Reader in Composition at the University of Cambridge and recently became an Honorary Patron of the Centre for Young Musicians.

BCMG's NEXT Music Study Programme in Contemporary Performance, created in partnership with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire supports early career musicians who want to dedicate their professional career to contemporary music. It is the only programme in the UK providing intensive, year-long training in contemporary music performance practice.

BCMG's Sound Investment scheme is an innovative way of supporting the commissioning of new music by giving BCMG's patrons and supporters the ability to become part of the commissioning process for a modest investment. Thus making the audience members the real owners of new pieces.

Full details from the BCMG website.

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