Helen Burford Jazz Portraits

December 2015

Helen Burford performs Four Jazz Portraits in Brighton

Helen premiered Four Jazz Portraits at the Brighton Fringe Festival last year and will be performing them again in Brighton on 9 December (12.30) at St. Nicholas’ Church (Church Street) in a programme including works by Takemitsu and Terry Riley.

The four pieces are titled:

I Pavillion Ferris Stride (Fats Waller)
II Just air and water (Bill Evans)
III Erroneous Monkish (Thelonius Monk)
IV Boogie Woogie Barcarolle (Albert Ammons)

Broken Wing Broken Wing music

December 2015

Premiere of Broken Wing (after Leonardo) at Wiltons, London

Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Mihailo Trandilovski will give the world premiere of Broken Wing (after Leonardo) for 2 solo violins on 7 December 2015 at the gorgeous Wiltons Music Hall in London. The work is a virtuoso tour-de-force written especially for Peter and Mihailo, who have recently recorded ‘...under the circle of the moon...’ for Toccata Classics. The piece was originally inspired by a sculpture made by Peter and his son Marius (picture below) which is in turn was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches of bird’s wings and their transformation into mechanical apparatus. Searching through Leonardo’s writings on flight I found the following line scribbled alongside a diagram of a flying machine

'ognuno si potra gettare da qualsiasi altezza senza alcun rischio'
(anyone can jump from no matter what height without any risk whatsoever)
Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Atlanticus, folio 1058

This line directs the drama of the piece with sections entitled:
The Vision
The Construction
Cranking up the machine
Falling to earth
Thinking about the reVision...and the solution
The reConstruction
Flight of the Visionary

Along with the sculpture and the text, a third element provides inspiration - a fragment of 2 part music which was reputedly written by Leonardo himself. It is quirky and unresolved, for the purposes of this project, a little broken. The phrase is heard at the outset representing Leonardo’s vision of his machine, again as he reVisions the machine after a failed attempt, and at the end where it becomes the Flight of the Visionary inventor...stratospherically high and not without risk for the performers....


November 2015

Trittico perform Multiple Dances at St. Mary’s Church, Walthamstow Village

The fabulous trio Trittico - Nancy Ruffer (flute), Sophia Rahman (piano) and John Anderson (oboe) - will be performing Multiple Dances on 26 November 2015 (7.30pm) at St. Mary’s Church, Walthamstow, as part of the Music in the Village Series. This will be their third performance of the piece - wonderful to work with an ensemble that takes new works into their repertoire! Multiple Dances is a three movement work that pays unabashed homage to Faure, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky. It’s title comes from its flexible instrumentation - 2 melody instruments and piano. There are other versions for flute, clarinet and piano; oboe, viola and piano and also for 2 double basses and piano.


November 2015

CHROMA performs The Bride’s Journey at The Forge, Camden

Fantastic that CHROMA are giving the piano trio, The Bride’s Journey in Three Songs and a Memory another outing on 11 November at The Forge, Camden (7.30). The performance is part of composer Martin Scheuregger’s Sound and Music Embedded residency at the British Music Collection archive - a celebration of some of the works he found there.There are two world premieres - CHROMA’s aural-visual commission from David Gorton (Burgh Castle) and Sound and Music’s commission from Martin Scheuregger (Harlequin).

Forge Camden Flyer BBC Music Magazine
Solos and Duos CD

October 2015

Toccata CD reviewed in BBC Music Magazine December 2015

Sadie’s latest portrait disc (Solos and Duos for strings and piano) released by Toccata Classics in July this year has been reviewed very favourably by Kate Wakeling in December 2015’s edition of the BBC Music Magazine.

‘This collection of works by Sadie Harrison is a vivid exploration of the miniature. No single movement exceeds four minutes and the shortest is just 24 seconds, yet these five magnetic works explore content and form with a dazzling intensity. Many of the compositions are exphrastic in nature: ‘Hidden Ceremonies’ ‘fragments’ in sound the huge canvasses of contemporary artist Brian Graham in nine arresting movements for solo piano; while ‘Gallery’ is by turns meditative and skittish, exploring the paintings and drawings of artist and violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved who also performs the work (and writes the disc’s engaging liner notes). The collection closely reflects the composer’s interest in antiquity (Harrison is also an archaeologist) with further works for solo violin and viola inspired by Greco-Roman culture, including the ‘Three Dances for Diana Nemorensis’ performed with great spirit (and virtuoso foot stamping) by Diana Mathews. The disc ends with the mesmerising ‘Under the Circle of the Moon’ for violin duo. Its seven short movements take as their prompt sources ranging fomr Durer to gemstones to human skin to Hindu cosmology, and are performed with tremendous artistry by Sheppard Skaerved joined by Mihailo Trandafilovski, bringing this beautiful and intriguing disc to a powerful close.’ (Kate Wakeling)

Art Council

October 2015

Second Arts Council grant for European tour 2016

I am absolutely delighted to announce that The Rosegarden of Light Project has been awarded a second Arts Council England Grant for the Arts to support its European Tour 2016. I have recently returned from a successful tour of the project in the USA (supported by an Arts Council International Development Fund Grant and the Ambache Charitable Trust) with 22 events taking place in Connecticut and Massachusetts - performances and workshops, a lecture on women’s musical rights in Afghanistan at the University of Connecticut, a radio interview and television recording of the premiere of Gulistan-e Nur for Cuatro Puntos (string sextet) and youth ensemble. The Rosegarden of Light Project (Gulistan-e Nur) consists of 3 elements - public concert performances, workshops and video presentations.

Concert performances (including the UK premiere) of a 30 minute newly-commissioned work for professional string sextet and amateur/youth ensemble entitled Gulistan-e Nur (The Rosegarden of Light). The concert will also include contemporary works by living composers from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. Workshops will teach local amateur musicians/students the Interludes which form part of The Rosegarden of Light, integrating them into the public performances alongside Cuatro Puntos. Video presentations within the concerts and during workshops will inform audiences about current music-making and contemporary composition in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, focusing on performances of The Rosegarden of Light Interludes by ANIM’s Girl’s ensemble, recorded by Cuatro Puntos members Kevin and Holly Bishop in Kabul, August 2015.

Concert programme

Mohammed Othman Sidiq (Iraq) - Nai Concertino for solo violinist and string quartet
Kareen Roustom (Syria) - Letters Home for violin and cello
Reza Vali (Iran) - Calligraphies for string quartet
Anon. Arr. Kevin Bishop - Pesta Farosh - Traditional Afghan Song for string sextet
Ustad Shefta (Afghanistan) - Proud Woman for string sextet
Sadie Harrison (UK) - Gulistan-e Nur: The Rosegarden of Light

Dates & venues

Saturday 28 May 2016: Purbeck Arts Weeks Festival, Swanage UK Premiere
Sunday 29 May 2016: Friends Meeting House, Brighton Fringe Festival
Monday 30 May 2016: Goldsmiths College, London
Thursday 2 June 2016: St. Peter’s Church, Shaftesbury
Friday 3 June 2016: Late Music Festival York (workshops)
Saturday 4 June 2016: Late Music Festival York (performances)
Monday 6 June 2016: Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (Berlin)

The Rose Garden of Light Project
Christina Barrie

November 2015

Christina Barrie performs Lunae at Burgh House, Hampstead

On 20 November 2015 at 7pm, the Australian pianist Christina Barrie will give a fabulously colourful and diverse recital at Burgh House, Hampstead. I’m so pleased that she will be including a couple of movements from Lunae: Four Nocturnes.

Nocturne I ..around and a round... is a slow, midnight merry-go-round with a bass line that repeats with variations throughout the work. Marked ‘gently expressive’ it is inspired by Song, a beautiful piece by contemporary pianist and composer John Law (The Art of Sound, Volume 1.) The piece is dedicated to John, with thanks.

Nocturne II Lachrymae is based closely on John Dowland’s Lachrymae Pavan for lute. Written as an ‘In Memorium’, the piece is slow and melancholy, being prefaced by a quote from Lithuanian poet Valdas Daskevicius: ‘Love is the silence in which I remember you and repeat you’. The theme is heard in many guises, representing the sadness of loss, the hope of a remembered dream and a sad reawakening. It is dedicated to Pamela Parr, an extraordinary epigraphist and adventuress who died in 2012.

The programme includes Waltzes, Etudes and Preludes by Chopin, Poulenc, Trois Pièces:

Pastorale - Hymne - Toccata, Khachaturian, Toccata, F. Gulda, Play Piano Play - V, VI & VIII
Sadie Harrison, Lunae - Nocturnes I & II, finishing with a group of Argentinian tangos - Piazzolla,
Libertango and Street Tango, P. J Vázquez, La loca de amor, Viloldo, El Choclo (arr. L. Bacalov).

Afghanistan Youth Orchestra

The girls and Tutors from ANIM

November 2015

Music Research Seminar at Goldsmiths College, London, RHB Cinema

In August 2015, in Kabul, my Gulistan-e Nur Interludes were recorded by Ensemble Zohar (Girl’s Ensemble led by Cuatro Puntos members Kevin and Holly Bishop and the tutors of ANIM, particularly Camilo Jauregui, Allegra Boggess and Jennifer Moberg). On 24 November 2015, I will be giving a lecture on the process of writing music for the students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, reflecting on the ways in which it has been enriched and transformed in the context of contemporary Afghan musical culture - the ‘Afghan way’! I will also be sharing the extraordinary story of ANIM and the girls and staff who rehearsed and performed the pieces during one of Kabul’s most violent periods in recent months with rehearsals disrupted daily by suicide bomb attacks and security alerts. Following the extraordinary invitation to write a new work for the Afghanistan Youth Orchestra (including rubabs, tanbur, ghichaks, dilruba, sitars, sarods tabla and dhols alongside traditional symphony orchestra instruments) I will also be considering the practical and musical challenges of writing for such an ensemble.

The two photographs show the National Youth Orchestra during its performance at the Kennedy Centre in 2012 and the girls and tutors from ANIM during the recording of the Gulistan-e Nur Interludes in August 2015.

Juan José Munoz Cañivano

Frano Kakarigi

November 2015

Frano Kakarigi and Juan José Muñoz Cañivano premiere A Not-So-Sonatine in Granada, Spain

A No-So-Sonatine (so called because it is rather more than a sonatine, being uncharacteristically virtuosic for both double and piano) is being premiered in the Auditorio of Almuñecar (Granada, Spain) on 30 November 2015 in a series of concerts entitled Jeunesses Musicales. The performers are the double bassist Frano Kakarigi, who performs with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and celebrated accompanist Juan José Muñoz Cañivano from Barcelona. The work is in four movements marked

Molto moto
Molto cantabile
Molto scherzando
Molto brillante

- a light-hearted piece which references the plethora of accessible mid-twentieth century sonatines with delight! The second movement is also known as Josie’s Piece, premiered by Josie Jobbins in 2014 at the Taunton Young Musician of the Year Final. A Not-So-Sonatine is dedicated to the fabulous player, David Heyes and is published by Recital Music. The programme includes works by Vivaldi, Wilder, Petrovitch-Vratchanska, Piguillem, Stern, Kioulaphides and Novosel.

Albany Trio

October 2015

Albany Trio perform The Bride’s Journey in Toddington

This will be the second performance of the piano trio The Bride’s Journey in Three Songs and a Memory given by the
brilliant Albany Trio this year. They are playing for the Toddington Music Society on 17 October at 7.30 in the Village Hall in a programme that also includes Dvorak: Dumky Trio and Beethoven’s 'Archduke' Trio.

In his Musical Opinion review of the Albany Trio’s performance in Late Music Festival in York, 6 June 2015 (July-September Edition 2015), Paul Conway wrote 'Sadie Harrison’s The Bride’s Journey in Three Songs and a Memory (2005) was inspired by the folk music of Lithuania and uses traditional songs relating to various stages in the life of a bride. Laced with flourishes and ornamentation, the score preserves and honours its source material with sensitivity and integrity of a high order. The players’ poetic instincts were seized by the score’s imagination and creativity, resulting in a reading of delicacy, precision and grace.' I am delighted that Pippa, Gemma and Verity are giving the piece another outing.

Ross Newton

September 2015

Ross Newton and Lana Bode perform 9 Breaths at Blackheath Concert Halls

9 Breaths for clarinet and piano was premiered by Fiona Cross and Duncan Honeybourne in 2011 at the Bryanston Concert Series, Dorset. It is fantastic that Fiona’s student, Ross Newton is now performing the piece as part of his Trinity Laban Masters Recital (Wednesday 9th September 2015 at 1.45pm, Recital Room, Blackheath Concert Halls.) It will be an all Antipodean event - as both Ross and his accompanist Lara Bode are from Australia...composer makes three. 9 Breaths is a collection of miniature solos and duos, none of them lasting more than two minutes, several less than a minute. Together they form a kind of photo album - musical snapshots catching moments in a relationship, hence the dedication to my partner Richard. The floral titles of the three solo clarinet movements - Sunflower - Starflower - Moonflower - reflect his occupation as a gardener.

Aurea Luce world premiere

September 2015

Aurea Luce world premiere with Madeleine Mitchell and Geoff Poole

Following the great success of their concert in St. Peter’s Church last September, Madeleine and Geoff are returning to Shaftesbury for another recital on 19 September at 6.30pm. They kindly asked me to write them a new work as part of my 50th birthday celebrations. The piece for violin and piano is based on a plainsong melody sung as a hymn for the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome, reflecting the dedication of the church in which the premiere is taking place. I started writing the work on International Women’s Day and it was serendipitous that the hymn’s text is ascribed very unusually to the 5th century female author Elpis (reputedly the first wife of the philosopher Boethius). The title translates as‘..with golden light..’ and in context within the verse it reads as:

‘The beauteous light of Eternity hath flooded with blissful fires this golden day which crowns the Prince of the Apostles, and gives unto the guilty a free way to heaven’.

The piece states the plainsong clearly at the beginning, with a gradual accumulation of bells (constructed from patterns taken from St. Peter’s Church changes) making conscious reference to the tintinabulation style of Arvo Pärt. It also hints at James Macmillan’s ‘Kiss on Wood’ which was written especially for Madeleine and which has become one of her very special ‘calling cards’.The Rosegarden of Light

September - November 2015

The Rosegarden of Light Project 2015 International Collaboration UK - USA - Afghanistan

Plans for this fabulous collaboration are ongoing but some details are now in place. More information will be posted as it arrives.

The Rosegarden of Light (The Light Garden of the Angel King) will be performed by members of the US based groups Cuatro Puntos (a collective of chamber musicians dedicated to global cooperation and peace through the writing, performance, and teaching of music worldwide) and the Avery Ensemble. The performances will initially take place in September - November 2015 in Connecticut, and Massachusetts, USA with video links/recordings from the AFCECO Girl’s Orphanage in Kabul and the Afghanistan National Institute for Music. Where this is not possible, the interludes between movements will be performed by local US school children. In the Gorton School and Goodwin College performances the interludes will be played by the institutions’ students. The photos were taken in 2014 during the visit of Cuatro Puntos members, Kevin and Holly Bishop to ANIM in Kabul.

Cuatro Puntos:
Avery Ensemble:

24 September 2015 World Premiere
The Rosegarden of Light (The Light Garden of the Angel King)
for string sextet and children’s ensemble (2015)
Cuatro Puntos and Avery Ensemble with local school children
Lutheran Church of St. Mark, Griswold Street, Glastonbury, Connecticut, USA

25 September 2015
The Rosegarden of Light (The Light Garden of the Angel King)
for string sextet and children’s ensemble (2015)
Cuatro Puntos and Avery Ensemble with students from Goodwin College
Goodwin College, East Hartford, Connecticut, USA

26 September 2015
The Rosegarden of Light (The Light Garden of the Angel King)
for string sextet and children’s ensemble (2015)
Cuatro Puntos and Avery Ensemble with students from Groton School
Groton School, Massachusetts, USA

Saturday, 7 November 2015
The Rosegarden of Light (The Light Garden of the Angel King)
for string sextet and children’s ensemble (2015)
Avery Ensemble and Cuatro Puntos
Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Sigourney St., Hartford Connecticut.
Programme: Beyond borders also includes works by Oswoldo Goliov, Bright Chen and Beethoven.

Observer review

August 2015

Excellent Review of Toccata Classics CD in the Observer

Absolutely delighted to receive an excellent review of my recently released portrait disc from Toccata Classics ‘Solos and Duos for Strings and Piano’. The CD contains a collection of miniatures for violin, viola and piano solos and for violin duets performed by Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandilovski, Diana Mathews and Roderick Chadwick - their websites are listed above.

Martin Anderson of Toccata writes: The Australian-British Sadie Harrison is no ordinary composer: she is also an archaeologist and a professional gardener. So it is hardly surprising that a fascination with historical artefacts and biological processes filters into her music. The instrumental miniatures on this recording are both reflective and brutal, some of them mirroring ancient worlds and natural phenomena and others, taking their starting point in the paintings of Brian Graham and Peter Sheppard Skaerved, expressing visual and textural ideas in sound.

Observer quote

Eve Daniell, Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Roderick Chadwick

July 2015

Performance of ..and love.. at Wiltons Music Hall

Eve Daniell, Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Roderick Chadwick will be giving the second performance of ..and love.. for voice, violin and piano on 8 July 2015 at the most wonderful of London venues, Wilton’s Music Hall. The work sets a vivacious text by Danish author and poetess, Malene Skaerved. It is a glorious evocation of love seen through both her own and her mother’s eyes, drawing inspiration from fairytales, the countryside, familial and romantic relationships. The group premiered the work in the National Portrait Gallery earlier this year.

‘Mother - what was it like when you were little?
My purple plum-tree, a tomcat
the black hen that laid two yolk eggs
Stolen cigarettes
A kiss behind the door
A steep climb home from the sea
Setting sun behind rolling hills
..and love...’

July 2015

300 New England musicians perform Interludes from Gulistan-e Nur
(The Rosegarden of Light)


Irish Composition Summer School

July 2015

Appointment as Guest Director at the Irish Composition Summer School 2015

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in the Irish Composition Summer School this year as Guest Director, working alongside Nicola Lefanu and Kevin O’Connell, in the fabulous surroundings of the Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin. The Summer School has been running for over 30 years and hosted international composers such as Sorenson, Finnissy, Lim, Volans, Ruders and Kondo - it is a real privilege to be joining such a fantastic group. Composition students will be writing works for the Performers in Residence, soprano Sylvia O’Brien and the Clarion Horn Trio and I am really looking forward to the workshops, lectures and tutorials that are designed to support the composers prior to the premieres of their new pieces. This is an extract from the brochure:

The Irish Composition Summer School started as the Ennis Composition Summer School, founded in 1983 by John Buckley, and has been responsible for over thirty years of excellence in composition teaching by Irish and international composers. Previous directors have included Martin O'Leary, James Wilson, John Buckley, Grainne Mulvey and Michael Alcorn. A majority of the most successful Irish composers of the last three decades have attended the Summer School. It has provided them the opportunity to work with leading names in composition - including Bent Sorensen, Poul Ruders, Christopher Fox, Liza Lim, Kevin Volans, Simon Bainbridge, Nicola LeFanu, Michael Finnissy, Jo Kondo and Clarence Barlow - and in performance, including Dorothy Dorow, Collette McGahon, the Prey Trio, Jane Manning, the Fidelio Trio, the Clarion Horn Trio and the ConTempo Quartet.


June 2015

Harrison Twitters!

Social media updates:
A new Twitter account at @SadieHarrison6


Record labels: (for Metier Records)
Metier Records MSV CD 92084 (2003)
Metier Records MSV CD92053 (2001)
Metier Records MSV CD 92056 (2002)
Metier Records MSV CD 92100 (2005)
Toccata Classics TOCC 0304 (2015)
Clarinet Classics CC0032 (2001)
Sargasso SCD 28036 (2000)
One Minute Wonders (Clive Williamson)
NMC D125
NMC D150
SPECTRUM for clnt ISBN: 9781860964084 (+CD)
SPECTRUM for pno duet: ISBN: 9781860969713 (+CD)

Flower of the Cherry

June 2015

New publications with Recital Music and UYMP

The following scores have recently been added to the catalogues of UYMP and Recital Music. The pieces have been (or will be) premiered in 2015.

• Flower of the Cherry: Robin’s Lullaby for double bass and piano, premiered in May 2015 (RM)
• ..around and a round..(Version 2) for flute and piano, premiered in June 2015 (UYMP)
• Four Jazz Portraits for solo piano, premiered in May 2015 (UYMP)
• Three Interludes (Afghan Songs and Dances) from Gulistan-e Nur for flexible youth/amateur ensemble, to be premiered in July 2015 (UYMP)
• Suite Theo for bass clarinet, bassoon and piano, premiered in April 2015 (UYMP)
• Aurea Luce for violin and piano, available for performance after 19 September (UYMP)

Toccata Classics

June 2015

New Portrait CD released on Toccata Classics on June 2015

Sadie’s latest CD will be released by Toccata Classics in July 2015. The CD contains a collection of miniatures for violin, viola and piano solos and for violin duets performed by Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandilovski, Diana Mathews and Roderick Chadwick.

Martin Anderson of Toccata writes:

The Australian-British Sadie Harrison is no ordinary composer: she is also an archaeologist and a professional gardener. So it is hardly surprising that a fascination with historical artefacts and biological processes filters into her music. The instrumental miniatures on this recording are both reflective and brutal, some of them mirroring ancient worlds and natural phenomena and others, taking their starting point in the paintings of Brian Graham and Peter Sheppard Skaerved, expressing visual and textural ideas in sound.

The works included are:

Gallery (Rooms 1 and 2) for solo violin (2012-14)
..ballare una passacaglia di ombre.. for solo violin (2011)
Hidden Ceremonies 1 for solo piano (2013)
Three Dances for Diana Nemorensis for soloviola (2013)
..under the circle of the moon.. for two violins (2004)

‘(Gallery Room 1): This collection of eleven short pieces is the first in an ongoing series of works inspired by Skaerved’s artwork, either in terms of the technique with which they were created, or as a response to the inherent drama and beauty of the subjects. J S Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas were invoked by the clarity and ,purity of Harrison’s idiomatic writing and in the timeless, archaic quality of her more study-like movements. Specific effects, such as glissandi and harmonics, were quietly effective and invariably at the service of the ideas, which were strong and memorable. The collection was split into two parts, the second of which contained some especially well-defined miniatures, such as the violent and implacable Nur Pünktlich, the wistful nostalgia of Sheppard’s Meadow, and the resolute, folk-like scrubbing of It Rubs Off. Peter Sheppard Skaerved surmounted the various technical demands with insouciant ease and gave a warmly characterful rendering of pieces clearly tailor made for his talents as a communicator. Gallery is a most welcome addition to the repertoire, with a scope and vision sufficient to suggest that even more of its facets might be revealed were other soloists to take it up. It is good news that Harrison has already ,embarked upon a further collection of these art-inspired, jewel like pieces.’

Review of First Performance of ‘Gallery (Room 1)’.
Tempo March 2014: Kreutzer Quartet, Wilton’s Music Hall, London Paul Conway

Arts Council England logo

June 2015

Arts Council England grant for International Collaboration

Sadie has been awarded an Arts Council England Grant from the International Development Fund to support her collaborative work with Cuatro Puntos (US) and the Afghanistan National Institute for Music. The generous grant will fund the completion of a substantial commission for string sextet and youth/amateur ensemble (Gulistan-e Nur: The Rosegarden of Light), will enable her to travel as Composer-in-Residence to the United States in September 2015 for a number of performances, workshops and lectures, and will go towards the production of a CD to include the new work and several related works performed by Cuatro Puntos and students from ANIM.

Premiere of …around and a round

June 2015

Premiere of ...around and a the Holburne Museum in Bath

Elizabeth Walker and Richard Shaw will be giving the premiere of ...around and a round... in the version for flute and piano on 2 June 2015 at 1.10pm as part of the Lunchtime Concert Series at the spectacular Holburne Museum in Bath. This little piece is taken from a set of pieces entitled Lunae : Four Nocturnes and was originally for solo piano, premiered by Duncan Honeybourne in 2012. The piano version is dedicated to John Law, composer and pianist.

Albany Piano Trio

June 2015

Albany Trio perform A Bride’s Journey for piano trio at Late Music Festival

Really looking forward to a performance by the Albany Piano Trio of my piece A Bride’s Journey in Three Songs and a Memory at the Late Music Festival in York on 6 June 2015 at 7.30. They are playing at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, a brilliant little venue in the heart of York. As well as my piece (which is based on a set of Lithuanian folksongs around the theme of first love, a wedding and the bride’s lamenting her lost family home) the group will be performing pieces by Judith Weir, Nicola LeFanu, Emily Howard, Charlotte Bray, Haley Jenkins and Sally Beamish. The Bride’s Journey was released on NMC D125 in 2007 performed by the Lithuania Kaskados Trio. Extracts can be heard on:

Cimera Ensemble

June 2015

Chimera Ensemble perform The Fourteenth Terrace in York

Fabulous news that this young ensemble are taking on my clarinet concerto The Fourteenth Terrace, originally written for Andrew Sparling and Lontano. The performance will take place on 5 June 2015 in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, York in a programme including:

Kaija Saariaho Tempest Songbook
Oliver Knussen Ophelia Dances

The Fourteenth Terrace is the second in a trilogy of works that take their inspiration from the life and works of the warrior-poet Zahiru’d-din Muhammad Babur. At his request, Babur was buried in one of his own gardens, now known as the Bagh-e-Babur. His tomb stands on the fourteenth terrace of the garden overlooking Kabul and its surrounding countryside. Typically Persian, the Bagh-e-Babur was once bordered by marble-edged streams, reservoirs and waterfalls, constructed within strict geometric patterns. It was said to be the first example of a Mughul ‘paradise garden’. Until 2001, the garden contained plane and mulberry trees planted by Babur’s grandson, Shah Jahan, in 1640.

I constructed the work’s proportions from the dimensions given in a contemporary description as if walking from the first terrace to the fifteenth. The arrival at the tomb is marked by the clarinettist’s whispered recitation in Afghan Persian of an inscription from Babur’s Mosque. The work closes with a lullaby, inspired by music sung by Herati women to the accompaniment of the dâireh or frame-drum.

The work received its first performance and BBC Radio 3 broadcast in 2002 performed by soloist, Andrew Sparling with Lontano, conducted by Odaline de la Martinez at the Purcell Room, South Bank. The work was recorded for METIER - The Light Garden: MSV CD 92084 (2003).

"The Light Garden is an offering of the highest quality, with no compromise for popular taste... This is without question one of my top recordings of the year, a ground-breaking release" Music Web

Holly Bishop

May 2015

World Premiere of The Flower of the Cherry for DB and piano in Connecticut

The Flower of the Cherry (Robin’s Lullaby) was written in celebration of the birth of Robin (on 29.12.2014), first grandchild of friends and colleagues John and Veronica Baily. They are both fine performers and great advocates of traditional Afghan
music and this little piece uses a melody transcribed from one of Veronica’s renditions of a beautiful Herati lullaby called Allah hu (God is great). The end of the piece makereference to the Christmas season during which Robin was born, transforming the Afghan melody into a carol with a joyful, bell-like accompaniment. It is dedicated with much affection to John and Veronica. The piece was given its premiere by Holly Bishop on 15 May 2015 at the Lutheran Church of St. Mark in Glastonbury, Connecticut and is published by Recital Music.

Cuatro Puntos

May 2015

Appointment as Composer-in-Residence with Cuatro Puntos 2015-2016

Following her previous collaborations with Cuatro Puntos, Sadie has now been appointed as the ensemble’s Composerin-
Residence. The residency will consist of a tour to America (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Boston) in September 2015 where she will work with the group in preparation for the significant world premiere (and three subsequent performances) of Gulistan-e Nur. Sadie will also give a number of lectures and pre-concert talks, including a session at the University of Connecticut where she will introduce her work to the students of the department for Gender Studies. Alongside work with the ensemble, Sadie will be taking part in 10 workshops, rehearsing sections of Gulistan with school and college students. The premiere of Gulistan-e Nur will be televised on Cox Channel 15 (Central Connecticut) TV on 24 September 2015.

The residency will be continued into 2016 with Cuatro Puntos’s UK tour, where they will give a number of performances of her music in UK venues within a programme entitle ‘From Damascus to Kabul’ (a celebration of the fabulous contemporary music being written in Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan). Venues currently include the Brighton Festival, Silk Mill (Frome), Bryanston School, Goldsmiths College, Purbeck Arts Festival. The European tour will finish with a performance at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin on 6 June 2016. Finally, Gulistan-e Nur and other Afghan-related works will be recorded for CD in both America and Afghanistan, supported by a grant from the Fuller Foundation. It is a truly international and ground-breaking project that will highlight the talent of the young performers in the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.

Kevin Bishop of Cuatro Puntos writes:

‘Sadie has completed several major collaborations with Cuatro Puntos in the past - including composing Dast be Dast for rubab, viola, and tabla, which was triumphantly performed in a ground-breaking chamber music concert held in Kabul in June 2013. Now she is writing Gulistan-e Nur for string sextet and Afghan youth ensemble, which will be recorded and performed on three continents in 2015-16. Sadie’s demonstrable success at melding folk music (especially Persian/Afghan) with western classical music, her ongoing worldwide acclaim as a composer, and her passionate and compassionate personal dedication to musical diplomacy makes her the perfect fit for this position.’

Geert Callaer After 'Sacrarium' (Brian Graham 2000)

May 2015

Geert Callaert premieres Hidden Ceremonies I for solo piano

I am absolutely thrilled that the extraordinary pianist Geert Callaer (international soloist and core performer of the HERMESensemble) will be premiering Hidden Ceremonies 1 on 1 May 2015 as part of the York Spring Festival of Music, in the Early Music Centre at 6.30pm. Devised by Geert and Marc Yeats, the programme includes a number of premieres with pieces by Idin Samimi Mofakham, Martyna Kosecka, David Dies, Robert Groslot and Marc’s own monumental 45 minute piano cycle the magical control of rain.

Hidden Ceremonies I is the first volume of an ongoing series of works based on the paintings of Dorset-based artist Brian Graham - paintings which draw together the worlds of prehistoric archaeology, geology, music and contemporary landscape. Brian brings the reality and imaginings of prehistoric sites into the present through direct, emotive expression, sometimes inspired by the music of past and contemporary composers. The works are by turns pale, delicate and fragile, then ablaze with red-black drama; they are quiet contemplations of the scarred landscape and the conjurings of dark spells and ancient ritual acts. These nine musical fragments, almost exclusively fitting on a page as if a painting themselves, add a further layer to Brian’s palimpsests. Some mirror physical shapes on the canvases (Sacrarium, Flint), others interpret the colours, perhaps just the title (Antiphon, The Intervening Figure), others the objects depicted (Hearth, Spine, Antler Music). All attempt to capture, fleetingly, something of the intensity and energy of the paintings.....each over in seconds, in stark contrast to the deep past that has inspired them. The works are dedicated to Brian. Roderick Chadwick has recently recorded the pieces to be released on Toccata Classics later in 2015.

The movements are entitled:

I - after ‘Antiphon’ (1999)
II - after ‘Sacrarium’ (2000)
III - after ‘Palimpsest’ (2000)
IV - after ‘The Intervening Figure’ (2002)
V - after ‘Flint’ (2003)
VI - after ‘Hearth’ (2003)
VII - after ‘Hidden Ceremony’ (2004)
VIII - after ‘Spine’ (2005)
XI - after ‘Antler Music’ (2006)

Helen Burford

May 2015

Helen Burford premieres Four Jazz Portraits at the Brighton Fringe

Helen will be premiering Four Jazz Portraits on Sun 10th May at the Friends Meeting House as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival. She will also be playing Lunae: Four Nocturnes which was written for Duncan Honeybourne in 2011. Helen is renowned for her innovative programmes which combine jazz classics with new commissions and works by little known contemporary composers. I wrote these miniatures in celebration of her joyful approach to repertoire. The pieces are titled:

I Pavillion Ferris Stride (Fats Waller)
II Just air and water (Bill Evans)
III Erroneous Monkish (Thelonius Monk)
IV Boogie Woogie Barcarolle (Albert Ammons)

Sarah Watts and Laurence Perkins Antony Clare

April 2015

World Premiere of Suite Theo for bassoon, bass clarinet and piano on Rasaay

Absolutely brilliant that Sarah Watts (bass clarinet), Laurence Perkins (basson) and Antony Clare (piano) are premiering these little pieces at the Rasaay Bass Clarinet and Bassoon Course tutor’s concert on 22 April at 8pm. It will be taking place in Raasay House, on the spectacular island situated off the coast of Skye.

Suite Theo was written for my grandson - little doodles about his various antics including his first steps, sad tears, nightmares and tantrums. The first of the set, Theo’s Lullaby was written while we were waiting for him to be born. The pieces were originally for double basses and piano (published by Recital Music), here dramatically arranged for some other bass instruments thanks to a request from bass clarinet impresario Sarah! The piece has five movements (so far):

• Theo’s Lullaby
• Theo’s Toddle
• Theo’s Tears
• Theo’s Dreamtime
• Theo’s Raindance

Eve Daniel & Peter Sheppard Skaerved

April 2015

World premiere of ‘..and love..’ (Keep Going) at the National Portrait Gallery

Eve Daniel (voice), Peter Sheppard Skaerved (violin) and Roderick Chadwick (piano) will be giving the premiere of ‘..and love..’ on Friday 24th April 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The text is written by Malene Skaerved, as part of an on-going collaboration that will culminate in the completion of an opera based on her story ‘The Kind, the Wise and the Beautiful’.

Malene writes: Keep Going is about love at different stages in my life. Writing for Sadie is at once, a privilege and a challenge. Her questing spirit required that I dig deep, and clarify my emotions, sometimes beyond what is comfortable! The first verse/
movement is a fantasy of love, so she dipped it in romance, and even Disney, which is rather close to the truth (I still like the idea of a ‘happy ending’, which is, of course, no ending at all). For the second verse/movement, she asked for the ‘Danish song tradition’. I sent her songs by the composer Oluf Ring. I grew up in his house, and imagined that his music had made the house a happy one. Sadie chose a melody which my mother used to sing to me ‘Solen er så rød, Mor (The sun is so red,
mother). For the final verse/movement, representing the present day and future, Sadie asked me to portray my marriage. The first time, we met, my husband played Bach for me, in a crowded room. At that moment, only he and I realised just how intimate we were. Sadie is right, of course; for me all these moments represent love.’ (See June 2014 News for more information.)

A Flash Between Darkness

March 2015

Peter Sheppard Skaerved plays Gallery at the Pharos Centre for Contemporary Art, Cyprus

Peter will be performing a selection of pieces from the cycle for solo violin Gallery (Rooms 1 and 2) in the Shoe Factory, Nicosia in Cyprus on 29 March. He has played the miniatures a number of times in London and abroad and it is fabulous that this performance will take place amongst Peter’s own paintings as Gallery was written as a response to his artwork created over several years. How wonderful that Peter’s creative life as a visual artist is now going public! Peter has recorded Gallery for Toccata Classics, to be released later this year on a disc entitled Hidden Ceremonies. The exhibition and concert are described on the Pharos website:

‘Peter Sheppard Skaerved is known to the general public as an outstanding violinist and a prolific musician. His close circle, however, knows that he is also a highly gifted visual artist. During the intervals he sits backstage drawing, capturing the audience and the general feeling of the performance. After the concerts, he always withdraws to elucidate his post-performance feelings on paper, using various mediums – graphite, ink, charcoal and paint. Peter Sheppard Skaerved the violinist has been hosted by the Pharos Arts Foundation quite a few times and all of his concerts have been marked by tremendous success. But music aside, Pharos has also stimulated him to draw a series of art-works inspired by the music he played in Nicosia, the audience’s response, the philosophical and thought-provoking conversations backstage with the rest of the team and the musicians. A Flash Between Darknesses – the Exhibition will open on 27 March at The Pharos Centre for Contemporary Art and will last until 6 April 2015. As part of the exhibition, Peter Sheppard Skaerved will team up with violist Morgan Goff, on Sunday 29 March at The Shoe Factory for a recital of works that have inspired and were inspired by the exhibition’s artworks… Mozart duos for violin and viola, works from 17th-century London, and contemporary miniatures by David Matthews, Sadie Harrison, Evis Sammoutis, Robin Holloway and Michael Hersch.’

Nancy Ruffer plays ‘Three Expositions’ at Huddersfield University

March 2015

Nancy Ruffer plays ‘Three Expositions’ at Huddersfield University

‘Ruffer's playing is fastidious, impassioned and silver-tongued throughout.' Paul Driver (The Sunday Times)

Nancy will be playing my solo flute piece Three Expositions on 2 March in St. Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield University at 7.30pm (following a morning workshop with students). The piece is based on three musical fragments, heard in their most basic form in the opening phrase. The first fragment, two 'bell-like' harmonics develop into a lyrical Song. The second, a group of fast semiquavers become an agitated, virtuosic Dance and the third, an angular, syncopated figure acts as an interruption cutting off the development of Dance and Song. The three characters are juxtaposed in a collage-like structure with the expressive Song gradually transforming the other musics into versions of itself. The piece was recorded by Carola Neilinger on Metier in 2002:,102641,en.php

Young Bassist Competition

March 2015

Adjudication at the final of the Taunton National Competition for Young Bassists

I will be working with the super composer Tony Osborne adjudicating the final of this new competition being held in Taunton next March (21st). It is part of The Taunton Festival of the Arts- an exciting and innovative competition for school age bassists of all abilities. This national competition, the brainchild of David Heyes, offers young bassists the opportunity to prepare and perform a short programme of their own choice and to compete for significant prize money and awards. Joel Quarrington, Principal Bass of the London Symphony Orchestra, is delighted to be its patron “It is initiatives like the Taunton National Competition for Young Bassists that are responsible in part for the huge advances and improvements we hear today in double bass playing and its pedagogy.”

SCAW perform 'Owl of the Hazels'

February 2015

SCAW perform ‘Owl of the Hazels’ (Lazdynn Peleda) at Bristol University

The fabulous duo SCAW (Sarah Watts and Andrew Clare) are performing Owl of the Hazel (Lazdynn Peleda) for bass clarinet and piano on Friday 13 February at 2pm in the Bristol University Lunchtime Concert Series. It was originally premiered by Ian Mitchell and pianist Tim Jones at the International Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam in 2005. The concert also features a work by Stephen Davismoon and a world premiere by Sohrab Uduman.

“Bass clarinet and piano constitute a successful and increasingly popular recital combination, and this is one of the very best I have heard” The Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain Magazine

Mutiple Dances

February 2015

Multiple Dances for trio (2013) at the Seaton Festival

Trittico (Nancy Ruffer-flute/ John Anderson-oboe/ Sophia Rahman-piano) are giving another performance of Multiple Dances on 17 February in Seaton. They gave the premiere (brilliantly!) at the 1901 Arts Club in September 2014. The work is in three brief movements, and the ‘melody’ lines are designed to be played by any treble instruments. The music is rather neoclassical in style with references to Stravinsky, the Song of the Volga Boatmen and Fauré - three lighthearted little doodles.

Renee Reznek

January-February 2015

Renée Reznek at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival and Stellenbosch University

I am absolutely delighted that Renée will be giving a repeat performance of Par feshani-ye ‘Eshq at the JIMF in January next year (29th at Northwards House, Johannesburg), followed by another at the Endler Concert Series held at Stellenbosch University (8 February). Renée has already played the work a number of times receiving wonderful reviews. (See previous News Items for more details).

Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Mihailo Trandilovski in Deptford

January 2015

Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Mihailo Trandilovski in Deptford

‘..under the circle of the moon..’ (Mansions 1-VII) for violin duo received another outing in the Deptford Town Hall, Goldsmiths College on 29 January, performed by the Superduo Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Mihailo Trandilovski! Each piece take some aspect of the number 28 (there being 28 Mansions to the Moon) as their starting point. The titles of the movements are:

I The Vision of Anne Catherine Emmerick
II The Life of Skin
III Brahma’s Angels-Indra’s Thunderbolt-Vaivasvata’s Ark
IV The Thousand Songs of Thebes
V Albrecht Durer Self Portrait 1500AD-The Frankfurt Zoll
VI Tourmaline
VII The Curse with Turtledoves.

(Peter and Mihailo have recorded the work, to be released on Toccata Classics later this year. The
photo was taken during the session on 22.10.2015 in Albury. Peter’s just broken a string!

Ambache Charitable Trust logo

Kevin Bishop from Cuatro Puntos and students from ANIM during a trip to Kabul in 2014

The Avery Ensemble

January 2015

Grant from the Ambache Charitable Trust to support international commission

I am absolutely delighted that the Ambache Charitable Trust has supported a substantial international commission to be completed this year/. The piece is to be titled This Theatre of Heaven - The Light Garden of the Angel King. It will be performed by members of the US based groups Cuatro Puntos (a collective of chamber musicians dedicated to global cooperation and peace through the writing, performance, and teaching of music worldwide) and the Avery Ensemble together with children from the AFCECO Girl’s Orphanage in Kabul and the Afghanistan National Institute for Music. The performances will initially take place in September 2015 in Connecticut, USA with video links/recordings from the Afghan venues. Where this is not possible, the interludes between movements will be performed by local US school children.

In 2014, I composed a piece titled Dast be Dast for viola, rubab and tabla. In the Afghan language of Dari the title means Hand to Hand, and it was a written for a collaboration between Cuatro Puntos and ANIM. The world premiere took place as part of a ground-breaking chamber music collaboration at the French Cultural Centre in Kabul. Inspiration for The Theatre of Heaven came recently when, just a few months after the premiere of Dast be Dast, the French Cultural Centre in Kabul was seriously damaged by a bomb blast during a performance by ANIM. The founder and director of ANIM, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, was severely wounded, and the students of ANIM are currently left confused and frustrated. As ANIM has done for the past six years, we wish to respond to this violence against them with music.

(Performance details: see September - November 2015 News)

Photos: Kevin Bishop from Cuatro Puntos and students from ANIM during a trip to Kabul in 2014
and the Avery Ensemble © Susan Wilson.

Cuatro Puntos:
Avery Ensemble:

Dr K Sextet

January 2015

Dr K Sextet with Lesley-Jane Rogers perform Aster at Club Inégales

The third part of The Pierrot Project is kicking off at Club Inégales on Thursday 22nd January at 8.00pm. Lesley-Jane and the Dr. K Sextet (conducted by Ewan Campbell) will be giving Aster its second complete performance in the series, this time alongside newly-commissioned works taking the poems from Schoenberg's 'Brettl-Lieder' as inspiration.

‘To begin Pierrot's journey the Dr K. Sextet travel to the intimate and riotously informal Überbrettl in 1901: the iconic venue for the first German Kabarett. We will strive to recreate the gaudy settings and gallows humour of the Kabarett within a 21st Century artistic context. The mood is light to complement Pierrot's preoccupation with love and moonlight, whilst we begin the over-arching exploration of humanity within nature in Chou's captivating 'Ode to Eternal Pine'.

Pierrot Project III: 'Kabarett' concert