Kate Ledger

August 2017

Kate Ledger premieres Hidden Ceremonies at Late Music York

Kate will be premiering Hidden Ceremonies on August 5 at 7.30pm as part of Late Music York. She will be sharing the programme with soprano Peyee Chen in works by Gavin Bryars, Christopher Fox, Roger Marsh, Jennifer Walshe, David Lancaster and Hayley Jenkins.

Kate is a pianist specialising in the performance of contemporary and experimental music. She studied with Philip Thomas and Ian Pace through the University of Huddersfield and is currently based in York where she teaches at both St. John’s and York Universities. She plays with the Manchester-based new music ensemble Distractfold, who were awarded the prestigious Kranichstein music prize for Interpretation at Darmstadt International School for New Music 2014. She has played internationally at various festivals and events for the past 8 years, and has featured at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival both as a soloist and as part of the new music ensemble plus/minus in 2008, who were aired live on BBC Radio 3.

Hidden Ceremonies was recorded by Roderick Chadwick for Toccata Classics (TOCC0304):
Hidden Ceremonies, for piano, explores prehistory as depicted through paintings by Brian Graham. Musical echoes, from Vaughan Williams to Stravinsky to Afghanistan and beyond, are woven into Harrison’s works, each glittering in their intensity. (The Guardian)

Hidden Ceremonies I piece is subtitled, “nine fragments after paintings by Brian Graham” and is a 2013 work for solo piano lasting around 11 minutes. One of Graham’s inspirations is archaeology. Harrison calls the fragments, “quiet contemplations of the scarred landscape and the conjurings of dark spells and ancient ritual acts.” The stasis, the gestures that seem to work from bass up all speak of an ancient, buried past ripe for reworkings; all this while reflecting the energy of Graham’s paintings. (Fanfare)

Hidden Ceremonies ‘fragments’ in sound the huge canvasses of contemporary artist Brian Graham in nine arresting movements for solo piano. (BBC Music Magazine)

Mimih Kunstler Bei Wu

June 2017

Premiere of mimih at Kunstler Bei Wu Sculpture Park, Wessenberg

Aboriginal people in the rocky environments of western and south-western Arnhem Land relate stories of spirits which they call mimih. The Mimih taught the first people how to survive on the Arnhem Land plateau and also instructed them in dance, song and art. Mimih are still depicted in a popular form of wooden sculpture thought to be an adaptation of artefacts used in ancient mortuary ceremonies. The sculptures are regarded by the Aboriginal communities as a way of sharing their way of life with the outside world whilst also containing complex references to their cultural traditions. The Maningrida people describe the Mimih as extremely thin, having necks so slender that a stiff breeze would be fatal. For this reason they emerge to hunt only on windless days and nights. As soon as a breeze develops, Mimih run back to their rocky caverns and disappear inside. (

My musical interpretation of the mimih is in five brief sections that run continuously: The Land of the mimih spirit; The Dance of the mimih spirit; The Lament of the mimih spirit, with The Dance and The Land repeated. The structure of the piece is related to the repeating but varied layers of decoration on the sculptures, with the Indigenous clapsticks marking the changes between sections. The Land is full of bird song, transcriptions of Northern Territory Pied Butcherbirds, Yellow Orioles and Rainbow Pittas against a backdrop of slow atmospheric piano chords representing the vastness and age of the country. The Dance is fast and quirky, a depiction of the spirits jumping about the rocks, with its music based on an Arnhem Land tune called Truganinni’s Song. The Lament is composed from overlaid versions of a melody collected by anthropologist, Domeny de Rienzi in 1830. He entitled it Air australien des sauvages de la terre d’Arnheim. The music is a meditation on the post-colonial destruction of much Aboriginal culture, with the clapsticks almost entirely absent from the landscape.

Mimih was commissioned as part of my Residency with Künstler Bei Wu, its first performance taking place on 24 June 2017 in the Chamber Music Hall of the Künstler Bei Wu Sculpture Park, Wesenberg. The concert marked the inauguration of Bei Wu’s Indigenous Australian Art Gallery, in collaboration with the Australia Now Festival and Australian Embassy. The Residency is supported by an Arts Council England/British Council International Development Grant.The work is dedicated with gratitude to David Ng and Peter Wilmot Thompson. © Sadie Harrison 2017 with acknowledgement of


FSU London logo

May 2017

Lecture at Florida State University Centre, London

Really looking forward to my guest lecture ‘Composing Archaeology’ on 18 May at the Florida State University Centre in London as part of the Dartmouth Foreign Study programme. ‘For over 45 years, Florida State University has offered a small liberal arts college atmosphere in the heart of London. Small classes, dedicated teacher-scholars, and engaged peer groups make studying in London an enormously rewarding experience. With courses designed to maximize the use of the city as both a classroom and a text, and professors committed to an imaginative approach to teaching, students spend a great deal of their time learning by experience in London's museums, galleries, theatres, and neighborhoods.’

Invisible Cities & Imaginary Palces Nicola Lefanu

May 2017

Goldfield Ensemble celebrate Nicola Lefanu’s 70th Birthday with Gallery

Nicola Lefanu was my teacher and supervisor from 1986 -1989 during my studies at King’s College in London. Although my formal study with her lasted just these three years, her influence on my creative life has been immense and invaluable, and continues to be felt in every piece I write. I am so pleased that several of my miniatures for violin are being performed by Nickie Goldscheider and Ali Caldon as part of the Goldfield Ensemble’s celebration of Nicola’s 70th birthday.

Kate Romano writes:
“‘At some point,’ says author Eric Weiner, speaking on the 1972 book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, ‘you realize that Calvino is not talking about cities at all, not in the way we normally think of the word. Calvino’s cities—like all cities, really—are constructed not of steel and concrete but of ideas. Each city represents a thought experiment.’ This programme celebrates Nicola LeFanu’s 70th birthday with music inspired by her own Calvino-work Invisible Places and ‘thought experiments’ from 20th and 21st century composers, each taking the listener into worlds where fantasy expresses reality or, like Calvino, where discontinuous ideas make up a continuous narrative. The programme includes repertoire by LeFanu’s mother Elizabeth Maconchy and her former pupil Sadie Harrison. Harrison’s exquisite instrumental miniatures (Gallery Room 1 for solo violin) can be placed in any structural order, some of them mirroring ancient worlds and natural phenomena and others taking their starting point in the paintings of Brian Graham and Peter Sheppard Skærved, expressing visual and textural ideas in sound.”

Sadie Harrison - Gallery Room 1 for solo violin
Robin Holloway - String Trio
Nicola LeFanu - Songs without words
Sadie Harrison - Gallery Room 1 for solo violin
Tristan Murail- Les Ruines Circulaire
Elizabeth Maconchy - Clarinet Quintet
Sadie Harrison - Gallery Room 1 for solo violin
Elizabeth Maconchy - String quartet no. 3 1958 (13’)
Sadie Harrison - Gallery Room 1 for solo violin
Salvatore Sciarrino - Let me die before I wake
Nicola LeFanu - Invisible Places

Medeleine Mitchell & Nigel Clayton

April 2017

Madeleine Mitchell and Nigel Clayton record Aurea Luce for Divine Art

Absolutely wonderful that Madeleine Mitchell and Nigel Clayton are recording Aurea Luce for Divine Art this April. The work was written especially for Madeleine in 2015 as a thank you for her several performances of ‘an angel reads my open book’. The CD is a collection of world premiere recordings of works composed for Madeleine, including music by Judith Weir, David Matthews, Geoffrey Poole, Michael Berkeley, Michael Nyman and a live recording of Guto Puw's violin concerto with BBCNOW. The CD will be released later this year.

Kate Ledger

April 2017

Gallery in the Arctic and Baltimore

Peter Sheppard Skaerved will be performing movements from Gallery (Rooms 1 and 2) for solo violin on two continents in April. On 10 April, he will be presenting the pieces to students and staff at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and on the 25 April, the music will be singing out in Svalbad, Norway, at the Kunsthall Svalbard, Longyearbyen. This is most certainly the most northerly venue my music has ever been performed! The programme is typical of Peter’s wide-ranging passions, drawing together repertoire from the 17th - 21st century, also including a world premiere of his own Three Groth Caprices for Svalbard :

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber - Chaconne ‘Der Schutzengel als Begleiter des Menschen’ (ca. 1680)
Michael Hersch - ‘…in the snowy margins…’ (2010)
Peter Sheppard Skærved - ‘Three Groth Caprices for Svalbard’ (World Premiere)
Pietro Locatelli - ‘Il laberinto armonico’ (ca. 1730)
Nigel Clarke - ‘Pernambuco’ (1996)
Nicola Matteis - Prelude (1690)
Sadie Harrison - ‘Same Strand’ & ‘It Rubs off’ from Gallery (2012-13)
David Gorton - Caprices (2006 – 2016)

Welcome to a unique concert at Kunsthall Svalbard. Internationally known violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved invites you to a musical dialogue with Jan Groths work, Tegn V. Skærved has worked in close collaboration with the great artist Jan Groth, resulting in exchange of drawings, music, writing and ideas. Skærved, who is both a violinist, performer and storyteller, invites us to an interdisciplinary dialogue between visual art, thought and music. Prepare to be surprised, moved and challenged. Skærved has collaborated with well-known institutions like the Metropolitan Museum NYC, Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Britain, London, and Library of Congress Washington DC, among many others. This spring he will perform at Bergen International Festival and Kunsthallen in Bergen, where Jan Groth is this year’s Festival artist.

Channel 4 news

April 2017

Extracts from The Rosegarden of Light on Channel 4 News

Two extracts from Gulistan-e Nur:The Rosegarden of Light were heard as the background to a short Channel 4 documentary about Ensemble Zohra, the only female orchestra in Afghanistan, from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Negin Khpolwak, one of the two principal conductors of the ensemble is seen leading the ensemble in a performance of Watan Jan (Dear Homeland) which is based on a traditional Afghan 7/8 dance tune. Watan Jan was recently performed by Ensemble Zohra together with Bahar-e nastaran Bihag (Radio Piece), and a specially commissioned orchestral work, Sapida Dam Nau (New Dawn) in Ensemble Zohra’s European Tour to Berlin, Geneva, Zurich and Davos including a performance in the Closing Concert of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

Prima Facie logo

April 2017

Recording solo piano disc for Prima Facie

I am very excited indeed to be recording a number of recent piano works with four fabulous pianists - Pippa Harrison, Duncan Honeybourne, Ian Pace and Renée Reznek - for Prima Facie this April. All of the works - The Return of the Nightingales for piano and nightingale song, Par Feshani-ye d’Eshq, The Souls of Flowers, Northern Lights, Luna for Nicola, Four Jazz Portraits, Lunae: Four Nocturnes and Shadows: Six Portraits of William Baines have been written within the last 5 years. As several of the works contain references to the music and culture of Afghanistan I am so pleased to have been granted permission to use an image created by young Afghani street artist Shamsia Hassani for the cover. It is entitled Dreaming Graffiti from her Birds of no Nation sequence. Do take a look at her work which is dramatic, beautiful and brave -, Honeybourne, Pace and Reznek

Universla Design in the Classroom and Beyond

April 2017

Squish! at Columbia University, New York

Yet another outing for Cuatro Puntos and Squish! for string quartet and ASL interpreter, this time as part of a Panel Discussion and Performance for the Deaf Education Program at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, New York on 14 April at 5pm. The event is entitled Deaf Music: Universal Design in the Classroom and Beyond ‘with a film screening and panel event exploring the intersection of music and universal design in the context of deaf education and performance. The project brings together a team of deaf and hearing musicians, poets, educators, and artists to explore questions about the relationship between music, ASL poetry, Deaf culture, universal design, and education. At the panel and film screening, collaborators will come together to reflect on the experience, share practical tools for educators, and consider directions for future exploration.’

George Sleightholme & Alex Wilson Bell sheet music

March 2017

Dr K. Sextet performs Bell Music for St. Casimir at Late Music York

Clarinettist George Sleightholme and pianist Alex Wilson from Dr K. Sextet gave a fantastic performance of Bell Music for St. Casimir on March 4th at the Unitarian Chapel as part of Late Music York. The programme was themed around story-telling, several pieces exploring folk tales from around the world.

I wrote Bell Music after a visit to Vilnius, capital of Lithuania in February 2004. The clarinet plays a traditional lullaby called Aa-a-Mazulyte (Ah, the little one) and the piano echoes the music from an unusual set of bells in the towers of the Jesuit Church of St. Casimir. In 1997 the Lithuanian composer,Vladimir Tarasov, constructed a set of tubes and sails so that the 15 bells could be played by the wind. As the wind changes so does the music. The clarinet and piano play quite independently until they come together towards the end of the piece. Bell Music for St. Casimir was recorded by Ian Mitchell and Thalia Myers for SPECTRUM ABRSM:

There is also a version for violin and piano recorded on NMC An Unexpected Light by Rusne Mataityte and Sergey Okrushko.

BBC 3 - The Rose Garden of Light

March 2017

BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Gulistan-e Nur: The Rosegarden of Light

Gulistan-e Nur (The Rosegarden of Light) was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 2 March 2017 as part of the PRSF Women Make Music selections for 2016. The 25-minute piece was performed by the young women of Ensemble Zohra from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music conducted by Camilo Jauregui, alongside US string sextet Cuatro Puntos - Kevin Cortlandt Bishop, Allan Ballinger, Aaron Packard, Steve Larson, Holly Fischer and Annie Trépanier. The work has been recorded by Toccata Classics on a disc including traditional music performed by the young musicians from ANIM National and arrangements of popular Afghan songs by Cuatro Puntos’ violist Kevin Bishop. One of the Rosegarden’s Interludes was recently broadcast on BBC3 Record Review, the disc being described as ‘intriguing and moving’.

Ling Kong's Love Song

March 2017

Squish! at Big Red for the Arts Gala, Infinity Theater, Hartfor.

Cuatro Puntos gave another performance of Squish! King Kong’s Love Song as part of Hartford Connecticut’s Arts Council Big Red for the Arts Gala on 10 March 2017. it is wonderful that the piece has had so many outings, celebrating deaf culture in the state. ‘All proceeds from the Gala evening went to the Arts Council's 2017 United Arts Campaign, which supports arts organizations and programs that keep our communities strong and vibrant - providing educational opportunities for thousands of residents, revitalizing neighborhoods, celebrating diversity, and driving the local economy.’ The work was written during my Residency with Cuatro Puntos with funds from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

March 2017

Contributor to PRSF Women Make Music Evaluation 2011-2016

In 2016, the collaborative project The Rosegarden of Light European Tour (involving the American ensemble Cuatro Puntos, Ensemble Zohra from Afghanistan and myself) was awarded a PRSF Women Make Music grant. Following this award, it was a great privilege to be asked to contribute to the PRSF WMM Five Year Evaluation 2011-2016.

The aims of Women Make Music are:
To break down assumptions and stereotypes within the music industry by encouraging role models for future generations; to raise awareness of the gender gap and to ensure that women are aware that support for new music is available to them; to increase the profile of women who are creating new music in the UK; to encourage women who may otherwise not have applied for PRS for Music Foundation funding to do so.

Vanessa Reid (CEO, PRS Foundation):
‘Our evaluation explored the current barriers faced by music creators and solutions that respond to these challenges such as the continued importance of awareness raising across the music industry, the need for more women in the

industry workforce, involvement of men and women as ambassadors for change and investment in targeted initiatives like Women Make Music in response to specific barriers. This feedback informed a roundtable discussion that we organised in March 2017 at Portcullis House in Parliament. This was attended by MPs, Women Make Music grantees, representatives of the music industry, BBC, Arts Council England, Creative Industries Council and GLA. This evaluation shows how Women Make Music, as a strategic intervention in artist development, is playing a vital role in building confidence, supporting career development, and positively endorsing female talent in an industry which has significantly lower female representation than men, particularly amongst artists and also within the workforce.’

Women Make Music Evaluation

Tthe American School of the Deaf St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Glastonbury

March 2017

Squish! Three performances with students from the American School for the Deaf

Squish! (King Kong’s Love Song) will receive three further US performances on March 1 2017 at the American School of the Deaf; the fabulous Gothic Revival Christ Church on Main Street Hartford, Connecticut on 2 March and again on 3 March at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Glastonbury.

The work was written during my Residency with the US ensemble Cuatro Puntos with funds from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

The Afghanistan Women’s Orchestra with conductor Negin Khpolwak Afghanistan Womens Orchestra World Economic Forum logo

January 2017

Premiere of Sapida-Dam-Nau at the World Economic Forum, Switzerland with performances in Geneva, Zurich, Berlin and Weimar


Webcast live at

On ANIM’s website, Ensemble Zohra is described as ‘the first of its kind in the country. It consists of over thirty female students from grades 6 – 12. Led by young female conducting students who are the first female conductors in the country’s history, this ensemble is an important step in providing opportunities for female musicians to unite in solidarity, deepen their commitment to music, and develop their skills as collaborative musicians. Ensemble Zohra is prominently featured on the album "The Rosegarden of Light," released internationally on Toccata Classics and Naxos in 2016. Via this album, the Ensemble has been heard on radio and online broadcasts all across the world. The young female conductors are overseen by Ustad Kevin Bishop.’

It has been an unbelievable honour to write for these young women and I am absolutely thrilled that my new work Sapida-Dam-Nau (New Dawn) will be premiered at the Closing Concert of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 20 January 2017 conducted by Kevin Bishop with subsequent performances at the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich, Centre for the Arts, International School of Geneva, Kaiser-Wilhelm- Gedächtnis-Kirche (Berlin), Großer Saal des Musikgymnasiums Schloss Belvedere (Weimar). Full details of the tour including information about live streaming of the World Economic Forum Closing Concert and associated Press Conferences can be found at:


The AWO is unique in its integration of traditional and western instruments, including the tanbur, ghichak, dilruba, sitar, rubab and qashkarcha, instruments which feature alongside compliments of strings, woodwind, percussion and piano. Sapida Dam-Nau integrates the instruments into a piece which celebrates the unique sound of the ensemble.The huge variety of sounds are transformed into jubilant peals of bells and two contrasted melodies. The first melody is lyrical and reminiscent of the English pastoral and the second is joyous in character, inspired by an Afghan-Indian scale associated with early morning. The title is suggestive of the music that might be heard at dawn in both my home town of Shaftesbury and in Kabul and also celebrates the ‘new dawn’ of music in Afghanistan. It is particularly wonderful that this rebirth is being spearheaded by the Afghanistan Women’s Orchestra ‘Ensemble Zohra’ (Venus). The commission was generously supported by a 2016 Finzi Trust Scholarship.

Afghanistan women conductors Afghanistan women conductors

January 2017

Afghanistan’s first women conductors lead performances from Gulistan-e Nur (The Rosegarden of Light)


Webcast live at

Alongside the performances of Sapida-dam-Nau conducted by Ustad Kevin Bishop, the World Economic Forum Closing Concert and following European concerts will feature two of the Interludes from Gulistan-e Nur (The Rosegarden of Light) written for Ensemble Zohra and US ensemble Cuatro Puntos in 2015. It is absolutely wonderful that they will be directed by Afghanistan’s first female conductors - Negin Khpolwakand Zarifa Adiba, students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Negin will conduct Bahar-e nastaran-bihag (Radio Piece) with Zarifa conducting Watan Jan (Dear Homeland). Kevin Bishop, Director of Orchestral Studies at ANIM (and conducting tutor to the young women) says: It is an important and symbolic gesture for a woman to take a public, leadership role in Afghanistan - and it is one that does not come without risks. All of our young ladies have been very brave and defied the odds against violence and poverty to come to school each day.’ It has been my honour to be associated with all the young people at ANIM, but particularly with these women who are quite simply helping to rewrite history!

Strange Worlds

January 2017

New Music South West Commission at the Royal West of England Academy

I am very pleased indeed to have been commissioned to write a new chamber work as part of a collaborative project between New Music South West (Director: Julian Leeks) and the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. The work will be part of a programme inspired by the RAW’s exhibition STRANGE WORLDS: The Vision of Angela Carter. ‘Strange Worlds is a major exhibition that celebrates the life, work and influences of author and journalist Angela Carter, twenty five years after her death. In bringing together art and literature, this exhibition explores the enormous impact that Carter made as one of the most distinctive literary voices of the last 100 years’ (Fiona Robinson RWA).

My piece takes the extraordinary ‘fairytale’ world of Heather Nevay’s painting The Murder (2016) as its starting point - a world which references dark childhood games and the Salem witch trials within an idyllic bucoliclandscape. Sadie’s music attempts to capture something of the painting’s uneasy atmosphere through intertwining a setting of Psalm 124 (from the 16th century Ainsworth Psalter taken with the Pilgrims to Massachusetts and sung by the earliest settlers in Salem), a traditional Scottish dance tune The Twa Sisters associated with the text of a murder ballad dating from the same period and There is a Happy Land, a sacred hymn tune by Scottish schoolmaster, Andrew Young (heard in this performance on a 19th century hand cranked music box). Heather is Scottish!

The work will be premiered by Harriet Riley (marimba), Andy Keenan (clarinet) and Richard Phillips (cello) in the RAW Gallery on 22 January 2017 alongside works by David Greenhorne, Jean-Paul Metzger and Jim Aitchison.


Künstler Bei Wu Sculpture Park Künstler Bei Wu Sculpture Park

December 2016

Appointment as Composer-in-Residence at Künstler Bei Wu Sculpture Park, Berlin Arts Council Artist’s International Development Fund Award

It is a great honour to have been appointed as the first Composer-in-Residence for the Künstler Bei Wu Sculpture Park Wesenberg in Germany, generously supported by an Arts Council England Artist’s International Development Grant. Under the auspices of the Peter Wilmot Thompson Stiftung, the Sculpture Park Wesenberg was opened on 25th June, 2016. It is located between the three towns of Neustrelitz, Mirow and Wesenberg on the beautiful Weissensee (White Lake or Bei Wu), in the Mecklenburg lake district at the southern entrance of the Müritz National Park. The Park is committed to the cultural exchange of fine arts between Australian and German artists, functioning as both a working artist’s colony with in situ studios, and as a public exhibition venue with several newly-designed gallery spaces.

The inaugural exhibition displayed 23 large sculptures installed in the surrounding forest with more than 60 pieces in the adjoining exhibition galleries. Featured artists for 2016-17 currently include Inge King, Erwin Fabian, Jock Clutterbuck, Michael Cartwright and Shona Nunan, Jacob and Sollai Cartwright, Michael Kutschbach, Oliver Tanner, Johann Carrera, Mig Dann, Benjamin Storch, Laurence Edwards, Fre’ Ilgen, Takayuki Daikoku and Alan Chan.

I will write a number of works through the year, including a new piece for the Inauguration of the Park’s Australian Indigenous Art Gallery in June 2017. The opening will coincide with the AUSTRALIA NOW festival organised by the Australian Embassy in Berlin, celebrating the cultural and trade relationship between Australia and Germany. Sadie will also be writing a piece for the Park’s resident Ensemble Bei Wu which consists of Baroque strings, transverse flute and harpsichord, a chamber work in the style of Weimar Republic cabaret music and a series of solo works to be performed amongst the outdoor installations.