LATEST NEWS | 2020

Celebrating Collaboration - Peter Sheppard Skaerved

18 December 2020

Peter Sheppard Skaerved performs Gallery at The Exhale’s Celebrating Collaboration

https://www.the-exhale.com/class/celebrating-collaboration?fbclid=IwAR2Yj1BGM7A8Rro
UFCDUWz4OghwlA5ljfsVyTDeWWRxjg2T0AbR
nch1iNf4

I remain indebted to Peter for his continuing support of my music, no less enthusiastic during lockdown. In a new online initiative The Exhale, curated by Gwendoline Masin, Peter presented two talks exploring the collaboration between performers and composers, alive and deceased, and between music and the arts. In the second, Collaborating with Art, he included examples of my pieces from Gallery, also looking at music by Hafliði Hallgrímsson and Robert Saxton amongst others. Exhale writes: Where do the worlds of Art and Music counterpoint? Where do they collide? Music and painting live in intertwined worlds, and many composers have found their inspiration through graphic Art. Peter introduces the work of the composer/painter Hafliði Hallgrímsson, whose cycle of solo violin works evokes the life of the painter-violinist Paul Klee. Alongside these, two composers who have written and are writing cycles of works based on Sheppard Skaerved's own work with pencil and brush, Sadie Harrison and Robert Saxton.’

UYMP - 10,000 Black Men Named George

16 December 2020

Kreutzers premiere 10,000 Black Men Named George: the Multiple Burdens of Injustice

https://www.uymp.co.uk/news/2021-01-08-harrisons-10000-black-men-named-george

I am just so grateful that the Kreutzer Quartet have released a film recording (Youtube 16 December) of my short string quartet piece 10,000 Black Men Named George:The Multiple Burdens of Injustice, which was written as a response to the murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. 10,000 Black Men Named George is in four sections each based on Martin Luther King’s favourite hymn Precious Lord, take my hand. King’s last words prior to his assassination were a request that it be sung at a mass he was to attend that night (4 April 1968). After its simple rendition, the hymn is transformed firstly into a dark, dissonant Lament - the lines are entangled, the tune fragmented, struggling to be heard. Hope follows, Precious Lord framed with references to the joyful Shaker song Simple Gifts. The final section Lullaby is marked ‘with all gentleness’, the hymn returning in simple form played on the viola, Clifton Harrison’s beautiful outpouring in my mind as I wrote:
‘This isn’t just America crying out. The whole world is weeping. I am human. I am a black man. I am a musician. I'm an American. I am scared. I am disquieted. I am hurt. I am angry. I am awake. I am resolute. I am strong. I am worried for humanity. I am worried for our people. I am not to be feared. I am not less than. I am not an ‘other’. I am not to be marginalised. I will not be silenced. I will not give up. George Floyd’s life mattered. Every life matters. (31 May 2020). ’The title of the piece comes from two sources. 10,000 Black Men refers to the custom of 1920s America when porters for the Pullman Rail Company all of whom were black, were addressed as “George". The subtitle The Multiple Burdens of Injustice was a phrase spoken by the black artist Chris Ofili on 4 June 2020. 10,000 Black Men was written In Memorium George Perry Floyd (1974-2020).'

Classical Music Digital Awrards 2020 - Kantos Chamber Choir

14 December 2020

As-salāmu ‘alaykum Bethlehem performed by Kantos Chamber Choir

https://www.facebook.com/kantoschamberchoir/
videos/845550042681061

Ellie Slorach and the Kantos Chamber Choir give a fantastic performance of my carol As-salāmu ‘alaykum Bethlehem as part of their award-winning online Advent Calendar (Classical Music Digital Awards 2020). A particular shout-out to Robin Wallington for the huge tenor solo - a call for peace from the rooftops! As-salāmu ʿalaykum Bethlehem combines selected words from O Little Town of Bethlehem (written by Phillips Brooks after his visit to the town in 1895) with the Islamic greeting meaning ‘Peace be unto you’. At a time when Bethlehem is beset with troubles, this optimistic carol brings together the two traditions in a spirit of solidarity - ‘Peace be unto you O little town of Bethlehem!’

The work was released by Prima Facie in the collection The Silver Stars at Play, receiving a fabulous and much appreciated review from 5:4: But for me, the most striking carol on the album is Sadie Harrison‘s As-salāmu ʿalaykum Bethlehem, which doesn’t merely challenge the conventions of Christmas music but boldly sets out more or less to ignore them completely (brava!). Combining words from ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ with an Islamic greeting, its music – though contemplative at its epicentre – is daringly wild, so ebullient and confident in its expression of joy and optimism that the carol’s culmination sounds positively feral. Utterly amazing.The effect of Harrison’s carol is only as powerful as it is due to the astonishing determination and fervour that Kantos Chamber Choir bring to it, and that’s just as true for the more introspective and meditative performances captured on the disc as it is for firecrackers like this..’ While The carol is dedicated with much love to Mark Hewitt.

Music Web International

December 2020

Excellent reviews for ‘..in the air..’ (Contemporary Piano Soundbites’ CD)

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/
2020/Oct/Contemporary-soundbites-PFCD140.htm

https://primafacie.ascrecords.com/piano_
soundbites.html

I am very grateful to John France for this lovely review in Musicweb International. ‘I have not come across Sadie Harrison before, although she has been performed and broadcast across the globe by many of the world’s leading ensembles and soloists. The liner notes explain that her short piece ‘In the Air’ ‘muses on the unseen, nebulous identity of the coronavirus, an invisible enemy that brought the world to its knees.’ This urbane music uses a clever combination of ‘improvisatory’ melodies and spinetingling harmonies to achieve it effect; this is one of the loveliest pieces on this CD.’ The piece has also received some kind words from Paul Conway in Musical Opinion (December 2020): ‘Using stealthy and wide-ranging melodic lines and insinuatingly rich harmonies, Sadie Harrison’s ‘..in the air..’ contemplates, with an improvisatory freedom, the nature of an invisible virus’. The disc can be purchased via Prima Facie’s website with a proportion of funds going towards Help Musicians UK (PRIMA FACIE PFCD140).

Pasture & Storm - New Music for the single handed pianist

November 2020

Arts Council Grant Awarded for Pasture & Storm 2021-2022

www.uymp.co.uk/news/sadie-harrison-awarded-substantial-ace-gran
nicholasmccarthy.co.uk
www.jordirobert.co.uk
www.bmp-recording.co.uk
peyeechen.com
johnpickard.co.uk
www.bluecatdesign.co.uk

I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have been awarded a substantial Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant for a 2 year project entitled PASTURE & STORM (New Music for the Single-Handed Pianist). Over the next year, I will be writing eight new works for the internationally renowned virtuoso left-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy, Sophia Benton (a former pupil currently studying as a single-handed pianist at Welsh College of Music and Drama), singer Peyee Chen and the Bristol Ensemble conducted by John Pickard.

These works will include piano solos, piano duets, duos for flute/piano and violin/piano, a trio, quintet and single movement concerto. The works will be premiered at St. Georges, Brandon Hill in 2022 and recorded in 2021. I am very happy indeed to have Ken Blair at BMP on board as recording engineer, and Nick Shearn from Bluecat looking after design. One of the most important aspects of the project will be a collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Jordi Robert who will be documenting our work, also producing a film for distribution to international festivals celebrating disability. Jordi writes: ’using innovative visual narratives I capture the private, the unfamiliar and the different to gain and share insights’.

The project came about through my coaching a single-handed pianist, disabled following a school accident. The search for contemporary repertoire proved almost fruitless, and I found myself arranging pieces for her conservatoire auditions. After discussions with Nicholas it became clear that repertoire specifically designed for single-handed pianists of all abilities is much needed, not least as a vehicle for encouraging disabled people to engage in music more widely.

The Geography of Sound

1 November 2020

‘..in the air..’ featured on Antena2 Geography of Sound (Portuguese Radio)

https://www.rtp.pt/play/p285/e502882/geografia-dos-sons

https://ascrecords.com/primafacie/piano_
soundbites.html

My solo piano piece ‘..in the air..’ was featured on an episode of The Geography of Sound (hosted by composer Luis Tinoco) alongside the music of Thomas Simaku, Francis Pott, John McLeod, Christian Mason and John Casken. ‘..in the air..’ was recently released on Contemporary Piano Soundbites (Prima Facie) performed by Duncan Honeybourne - a collection of piano miniatures written as a response to the effects of coronavirus.

Glen Sheldon gives world premiere of Meditation

29 October 2020

World premiere of Meditation for solo violin given by Glen Sheldon

UYMP writes: The violinist Glen Sheldon, member of the English Chamber Orchestra has been doing a series of informal Zoom concerts of solo violin repertoire during the various lockdowns. He is delighted to have re-established contact with Sadie Harrison, with whom he studied and performed at Surrey University. His programme on 29 October (to be repeated on 1 November) included a short selection of her Gallery pieces, and the world premiere of Meditation, written especially for Glen during the lockdown period.

Three Dances for Diana Nemorensis

16 October 2020

Three Dances for Diana Nemorensis in Listening Guide by Rosaura Aguilar (Mexico)

https://toccataclassics.com/product/sadie-harrison-strings-and-piano

It is always wonderful when international artists contact you with news like this. Rosaura Aguilar, violist and member of the Mexican group Colectiva Tsunami gave an online talk about my solo viola piece Three Dances for Diana Nemorensis on 16 October - a programme also containing an introduction to the work of Mexican composer Valeria Rubi. The piece was released by Toccata Classics in 2015 performed by its dedicatee Diana Mathews.

Gemini live stream

6 October 2020

Recording of Fire in Song for Divine Art/Metier with Gemini

https://divineartrecords.com/music-for-clarinet-and-strings-from-gemini

I am thrilled that my Fire in Song for clarinet, viola, clapsticks and reciters has just been recorded for Divine Art/Metier to be released early in 2021. The recording took place on 6 October through an enterprising virtual process set up by sound engineer David Lefeber. This enabled Sadie in Dorset to watch the recording taking place in London via Youtube, with comments via her phone directly into the venue in real time! The work will form part of a disc entitled ‘..for clarinet and strings..’ (MSV28608) recorded by members of Gemini, with Fire in Song performed by Ian Mitchell, Caroline Balding, Aleksander Szram and Sophie Harris.

Ian writes: 'From its very beginning in 1974 Gemini has commissioned composers in a variety of styles, and programmed works and composers that have been overlooked sometimes for many years. This album presents works by Cyril Scott and Rebecca Clarke that have been championed by the ensemble. The Scott quintet was premiered by the Melos Ensemble in 1953 and possibly given only its second performance (his widow thought this was the case) – at London’s South Bank Centre in 1995. The Clarke duo, like much of her music, was unfamiliar to most people, and (performing from manuscript copies) Gemini has given a number of airings including a live BBC Radio 3 broadcast. A central plank of Gemini’s programming has always been to promote contemporary composers including music by women – 32 of whom have been commissioned, with over 70 performances of works by women. The ensemble has developed long-standing relationships with many composers: commissioning, performing and recording with the aim of giving their music a wider audience. Gemini has had a long and close musical relationship with Nicola LeFanu (eventually inviting her to be the ensemble’s Honorary President); supported Sadie Harrison from very early in her career and commissioned a number of works from Howard Skempton.'

Fire in Song tells the fire creation story told by the Yolngu group of Aboriginal Australians who live primarily in north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The work was written during the catastrophic bush fires that swept much of Australia in 2019-2020, and reflects on the Aboriginal approach to the event. The outer movements provide a contemporary context - dark, abrasive commentaries on the current extreme climatic events with the central movements based on Aboriginal songs and dances from Northern and Central Australia. The story of fire's creation by Baru the Saltwater Crocodile and the joyful unification of clans as it was spread across Australia by animals, insects and birds is recited by percussionists to the pulse of Aboriginal clapsticks. The work is dedicated to David Lumsdaine and Ian Mitchell, teachers and supporters both.

The work is in seven movements:

I The World's Lament
II Bandicoot and the Hollow Log
III Quail and the Burning Twig
IV Honey Bees and the Paperbark Swamp
V Honey Bees and the Tall Grass
VI Baru the Saltwater Crocodile and the Ancient Fire
VII Lament for the Whole World

…in the air… CD and music

Winter 2020

‘..in the air..’ released on Prima Facie ASC Records with Duncan Honeybourne

primafacie.ascrecords.com/piano_soundbites

weymouthchamberconcerts.com/concerts

www.uymp.co.uk/composers/sadie-harrison/works/in-the-air

Very excited that ..in the air.. for solo piano has been released on the Prima Facie ASC Records label performed by Duncan Honeybourne. The CD is the culmination of Duncan’s Contemporary Piano Soundbites, a project created during lockdown as fundraising to support Help Musicians UK. Duncan writes that the objective of this project ‘is to harness the zeitgeist of our present situation, to bring comfort and enjoyment to a large ready-made audience stuck at home, to aid musicians badly affected by the “cultural lockdown” and to add to the contemporary repertoire, creating an artistic keepsake of this extraordinary phase in our lives. Contemporary Piano Soundbites is a collection of solo piano miniatures composed, directly or indirectly, in response to the 2020 coronavirus crisis.’

Programme note: Whilst the title of the piece makes reference to the aerial transmission of the virus, it is meant primarily to express a feeling of quiet unsettledness, where drifting melodic fragments and harmonies come to rest momentarily before floating away again. The piece was written as a gift for Harrison’s mother for her birthday on 12 April.

‘..in the air..’ was premiered online as part of the Weymouth Chamber Concerts Series on 2 May 2020 and will receive
its first live performance on 21 October 2020. The score is available from UYMP (link above).

Duncan Honeybourne

Winter 2020

‘..in the air..’ performed LIVE! by Duncan Honeybourne in Weymouth Chamber Music Series

primafacie.ascrecords.com/piano_soundbites

weymouthchamberconcerts.com/concerts

www.uymp.co.uk/composers/sadie-harrison/works/in-the-air

Duncan gave the online premiere of ‘..in the air..’ on 2 May 2020 as part of his Contemporary Piano Soundbite Series. I am totally delighted that he will be performing the piece LIVE as part of two concerts at 12.00 and 1:15 on 21 October at St Mary’s Church, St Mary Street, Weymouth. Duncan writes: ‘Each miniature from this project was premiered in a video recording, posted online on our YouTube channel, with donations invited in support of Help Musicians UK. To date, the project has raised over £2000 and proceeds from sales of the CD will also be donated to the charity. The project is a united gesture of support by and for musicians at a time of great concern and hardship…as well as supporting our colleagues, the connection will provide a snapshot of reflections and musings by some of the finest composers of our time at a unique and unprecedented moment in our history.’ The programme will also include the Cello Sonata Op.63 by Ruth Gipps where Duncan will be joined by Joseph Spooner.

Programme note: Whilst the title of the piece makes reference to the aerial transmission of the virus, it is meant primarily to express a feeling of quiet unsettledness, where drifting melodic fragments and harmonies come to rest momentarily before floating away again. The piece was written as a gift for Harrison’s mother for her birthday on 12 April.

Rolf Hind - Is it too soon to talk about all this?

Winter 2020

Barkarole performed LIVE! by Rolf Hind at Kings Place London

www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/classical/rolf-hind-is-it-too-soon-to-talk-about-all-this

www.rolfhind.com

www.facebook.com/rolf.hind/videos

Rolf is playing my tiny Barkarolle at King’s Place, London on Wednesday 7 October alongside Adam’s Phrygian Gates and several new pieces written especially for him during lockdown (by Stuart MacRae, Mark Simpson, Elaine Mitchener, Tom Coult, Ben Gaunt, Lisa Robertson, Mika Pelo, Greg May, Daryl Jamieson, Greg May, Ellie Wilson, Yehuda Yannay and Ben Lunn). ‘At the beginning of lockdown Hind felt the need to keep his relationships with composer and musician friends alive by asking for short pieces to reflect the times. From a harvest of nearly one hundred responses, from all corners of the world and varying widely in style, he has curated a selection. All the moods that we have experienced are there, from anger to introversion to the consolations offered by Nature, and they all resurface again in John Adams’ virtuosic and ultimately exultant masterpiece which completes the programme and reminds us of music’s endless power to thrill and uplift.’

Rolf writes: Sadie Harrison has written a piece called Barkarolle, which is inspired by this story I posted earlier this week! ‘I worked with thoughts of empathy/aversion in my ashtanga practice this morning. I've taken to going early to the local park, where even though it's cold, there's a sunny and sheltered spot. Towards the end of my practice, when I'm getting into the meditative, lotus-y asanas, someone walks a dog across the park. Its bark sounds like a hoarse 6 year old screaming, and it's absolutely unstoppable. On previous mornings I've practically had steam coming out of my ears, and been on the brink of shouting SHUT THAT FUCKING DOG UP, which doesn't look too cool when you're in lotus... Today I tried to listen to the dog, it was hard, there was SO MUCH anxiety, and when I couldn't listen and feel any more I channelled the aforementioned steam down from my ears to bathe the requisite chakras..’

Portraits from the place of the Yew trees

August 2020

Duncan Honeybourne premieres ‘Portraits from the place of the yew-trees' at Sheffield Cathedral

I have had a wonderful association with Duncan Honeybourne for several years, resulting in several premieres and celebrated recordings of my Lunae: Four Nocturnes and Shadows: Six Portraits of Wiliam Barnes (Prima Facie 2017) and am absolutely thrilled that Duncan will be giving the premiere of a further substantial work for solo piano Portraits from the place of the yew-trees on 21 August 2020 in the glorious surroundings of Sheffield Cathedral. The 25 minute work is inspired by characters and monuments associated with Yorkshire, the title taking its name from a translation of the ancient name of the county-city, Eborokan. The work has a dual dedication - to Duncan in gratitude for his enduring support and to Helen Anahita Wilson with much admiration. The movements are entitled:

• Ranulf Higden: ‘Polychronicon’
• Mary Bateman: The Yorkshire Witch
• Blue Man-i-th’-Moss & Auld Wife’s Trod
• Aelred of Rievaulx: ‘Speculum Caritatis’
• Our Lady of the Crag

Corona Defined Premiere

June 2020

Corona Defined premiere: Sound World Coronavirus Fund for Freelance Musicians Project

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/musicians-coronavirus-fund?fbclid=IwAR3qVQsznCQ
sP005WzrWfWwLtHHzOGEYcBD_9WjWLN8-M6SawGRPqV8Iwg4

https://sound-world.org

Corona Defined was written at the request of Julian Leeks and Sound World as part of a project to support freelance musicians during the period of lockdown due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. I have written especially for the work’s dedicatees Paul Barrett (violin), Fran Hicks (viola), Steph Gilbert (flute) and Tomas Klément (piano), fantastic musicians with whom I have worked extensively over the past years as part of Sound World’s composition workshops. The piece is in four brief movements, in total lasting just over 3 minutes. Each uses a different definition of the word ‘corona’ as its starting point:

I - Corona (Solitaire): Game: A relatively long and difficult solitaire game using two decks where the object of the game is to move all the cards to the Foundations.

II - Thin clouds, mist or sometimes dust: Meteorology: A circle or set of circles having a small radius and ranging in color from blue inside to red outside, attributable to the diffraction caused by thin clouds, mist, or sometimes dust as distinguished from a halo.

III - Spring Narcissus: Botany: The structural homology of the daffodil corona has remained a source of debate throughout the history of botany. Scanning electron microscope images and serial sections demonstrate that corona initiation occurs late in development, after the other floral whorls are fully developed.

IV - Loops, streamers and plumes. Astronomy: The corona is in the outer layer of the Sun’s atmosphere—far from its surface, yet it is hundreds of times hotter than the Sun’s surface, a mystery of temperature. The Sun's magnetic fields affect charged particles in the corona to form beautiful features, including streamers, loops, and plumes.

Director of Sound World and devisor of the project, Julian Leeks writes: We're a music and education charity seeking to raise £7000 to employ freelance musicians, whose livelihoods have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, to perform and record a new, multi-movement work written by 12 leading composers from around the world. This valuable, professional work will provide crucial financial support along with the creative outlet and collaborative experience that is so central to musicians' lives. These fantastic performers, many from the Bristol Ensemble, have been at the heart of our work for many years and we owe much of our success to their talent and generosity of spirit. The 12 composers who will be writing new work for this project* are:

  • Sally Beamish
  • Gavin Bryars
  • Michael Ellison
  • Graham Fitkin
  • Dame Evelyn Glennie
  • Sadie Harrison
  • Nico Muhly
  • John Pickard
  • Geoff Poole
  • Howard Skempton
  • Mark-Anthony Turnage
  • * and Steve Reich who has granted us exclusive rights to create and use an arrangement of our choice of one his works.

Once we have received the completed pieces, the performers will record their individual parts at home, in “lockdown”, in accordance with government restrictions. With your help, they will receive upfront payment of their recording fees, providing immediate relief from financial hardship. The recorded parts will then be edited and mixed for online distribution (via streaming and download sites).

In a gesture of support for, and solidarity with, their performing colleagues, the composers are waiving their commission fees; also, Sound World is not charging a fee for running this project. Any revenue from online sales and any donations received beyond our initial target will go towards helping more musicians, making a difference to more people's lives.

This project focuses on creating something genuinely positive and valuable out of a terrible situation. It solves an immediate financial crisis, not through charity handouts, but through a wonderful, collaborative, artistic endeavour. It will make a real difference to the participants, not just in material terms, but to their wellbeing and mental health. It will provide the wider public with a great example of what art and artists can achieve and contribute in a time of need.

About Sound World
Sound World promotes wider access to great music through concert series, commissioning programmes and educational events. Our concerts and commissions place the best regional performers and composers alongside those of national and international renown, creating programmes of high ambition and strong local identity.

Rolf Hind

June 2020

Rolf Hind gives online premiere of Barkarolle for solo piano

https://www.facebook.com/rolf.hind/videos/
10158808035034410/UzpfSTEzMDM
5MDI0MjY6MTAyMjM5MTMwNzkwNzcyMjE/

Rolf Hind premiered the miniature ‘Barkarolle’ on 15 May 2020 as part of his ongoing series of online performances of new works composed in lockdown. Rolf writes: Sadie Harrison has written a piece called Barkarolle, which is inspired by this story I posted earlier this week! I worked with thoughts of empathy/aversion in my ashtanga practice this morning. I've taken to going early to the local park, where even though it's cold, there's a sunny and sheltered spot. Towards the end of my practice, when I'm getting into the meditative, lotus-y asanas, someone walks a dog across the park. Its bark sounds like a hoarse 6 year old screaming, and it's absolutely unstoppable. On previous mornings I've practically had steam coming out of my ears, and been on the brink of shouting SHUT THAT FUCKING DOG UP, which doesn't look too cool when you're in lotus... Today I tried to listen to the dog, it was hard, there was SO MUCH anxiety, and when I couldn't listen and feel any more I channelled the aforementioned steam down from my ears to bathe the requisite chakras..

The Kreutzer Quartet

June 2020

The River Dreams of Sleep receives online premiere from Kreutzer Quartet members

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEVVF8
S2xTc&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2f27vo
m9O6WFThmT5fX7lXer-s3PNd16L9R
vrDXqO0oFbEBzjYDhspMPw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP2PZj3
bbdE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0IKkD
YnZH8gIvmKtr52IRQZfKgTjSqbF0l_06P9N
23FeCH4fnXuni7IQs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7F7FJhJf
ec&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3a9YvS5RP-5lUT0gEf0Fda1FmUPuxyKOWiGaEKZdGOa7
WXKmolOljWLbw

The Kreutzers have now premiered 3 movements from my new series The River Dreams of Winter for string quartet written during lockdown. The piece is based on the ever-inspiring artwork of Peter Sheppard Skaerved. The spectacular online performances have been ‘compiled’ by Peter from recordings made individually by himself, Mihailo Trandilovski and Clifton Harrison. The movements completed so far include a solo violin piece Slackwater-Midnight-Mist presented by Peter in his online series Opening the Composer’s Workshop, a gentle violin duo entitled The River Dreams of Winter II, and a trio for 2 violins and viola entitled City streets, dead ends, open windows, conversations, car horns, retracing steps, into the country! A further movement Feet on the Path (The Conquest of Granada: Dryden: Humphrey: Dorset Garden Theatre c. 1670) will be aired in early June.

The importance of these collaborations is immeasurable. To have the privilege of writing for musicians like Peter, Mihailo and Clifton is one thing, but to send new pieces on a weekly basis and then hear them performed in lockdown is simply life-giving. Not only have the players learnt and recorded the demanding parts in physical isolation, they have then been sewn together by Peter without regard for time taken. It’s an embarrassment of riches for which I am so extremely grateful.

Cantare et Trepidare for singing violist

June 2020

Cantare et Trepidare for singing violist at St. Brides, London

http://www.stbrides.com/music/recitals.php

https://www.youtube.com/channel/
UCop3hNCMDtNWuCjOoOepDTg

I am so grateful to Katherine for another repeat performance of my piece Cantare et Trepidare for singing violist, this time in the glorious surroundings of St. Brides Church, London. Katherine is gaining a much deserved reputation for her innovative and virtuosic programming, with many of her performances now on Youtube - it’s worth watching her sing and play the viola at the same time with such ease!

Programme note for Cantare: The Llibre Vermell de Montserrat (Red Book of Montserrat) is a devotional collection of Catalan, Occitan and Latin texts including several late medieval songs. The 14th century manuscript is located at the monastery of Montserrat outside Barcelona in Catalonia. The monastery also holds the shrine of the Virgin of Montserrat, which was a major site of pilgrimage during the time the manuscript was prepared. The purpose of the Llibre Vermell is expressed by its anonymous compiler:

Because the pilgrims wish to sing and dance while they keep their watch at night in the church of the
Blessed Mary of Montserrat, and also in the light of day; and in the church no songs should be sung unless they are
chaste and pious, for that reason these songs that appear here have been written. And these should be used modestly,
and take care that no one who keeps watch in prayer and contemplation is disturbed.

My reworking of four of the texts maintains much of the original vocal music with the viola taking the part of an other canonic voice, a hurdy-gurdy or a medieval fiddle. I reworked four of the songs especially for Katherine after hearing her wonderful performance of my solo viola piece Three Dances for Diana Nemorensis.

I Ad mortem festinamus peccare desistamus (Death dance)
We hurry towards death, let us desist from sin. I have resolved to write about the contempt of the world, that the living should not spend their time in vain things. Now is the hour to rise from the evil sleep of death.

II Mariam, matrem viginem (Polyphonic chant: virelais a 3)
Extol Mary, the Virgin Mother, extol Jesus Christ with one accord. Mary, haven for the whole world, protect us. Jesus, saviour of us all, hear us. Indeed you are our sanctuary, truly a refuge for the whole world.

III Stella splendens in monte (Danse: virelais a 2)
Splendid star on the jagged mountain, with miracles shining like a sunbeam, hear the people. From all around they rally, rejoicing, rich and poor, young and old. Splendid star on the jagged mountain, with miracles shining like a sunbeam, hear the people.

IV Imperayritz de la ciutat joyosa (Polyphonic chant: virelais a 2)
Empress of the joyous city of paradise, eternally happy, purified of sin, abounding in virtues, Mother of God, by divine order; the beautiful Virgin with an angelic face, because you are so beloved of God, have pity on the faithful, pious one, praying for them to the celestial king.

V Ad mortem festinamus peccare desistamus (Death dance)

The River Dreams of Winter

May 2020

Kreutzers premiere 3 new movements from The River Dreams of Winter

UYMP writes: We are delighted that Sadie has continued to receive premieres during lockdown with new works written for members of the Kreutzer String Quartet - Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandilovski and Clifton Harrison. Sadie’s new series ’The River Dreams of Winter’ for string quartet written during lockdown. The piece is based on artwork by Peter Sheppard Skaerved. The spectacular online performances have been ‘compiled’ by Peter from recordings made individually by himself, Mihailo and Clifton. The movements completed so far include a solo violin piece Slackwater-Midnight-Mist presented by Peter in his online series Opening the Composer’s Workshop: Slackwater-Midnight-Mist (5 May 2020 Youtube)
a gentle violin duo entitled The River Dreams of Winter II (13 May 2020 Youtube) and a trio for 2 violins and viola entitled The River Dreams III (City streets, dead ends, open windows, conversations, car horns, retracing steps, into the country!) (29 May Youtube).We are extremely grateful that these fabulous musicians are continuing to support Sadie through this period of such uncertainty and hoping that the new works will be heard live before too long. 

Duncan Honeybourne

May 2020

Duncan Honeybourne premieres ‘..in the air..' for Help Musicians UK Lockdown fundraising Project

https://justgiving.com/fundraising/contemporary-piano-soundbites?fbclid=IwAR0vx2gxkOOOyzAJ
I1uCOREmriIlKGCqnsauOagLnIC-69bwVag-OiC_pKM

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCausH3I_
1NyeXOLNwQl4Cjw?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/duncan.honeybourne

..in the air.. was written at the request of Duncan Honeybourne for his series Contemporary Piano Soundbites, conceived as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. Whilst the title of the piece makes reference to the ariel transmission of the virus, it is meant primarily to express a feeling of quiet unsettledness, where drifting melodic fragments and harmonies come to rest momentarily before floating away again. The piece was written as a gift for my mother on her birthday on 12 April, spent in lockdown.

Duncan writes: My objective is to harness the zeitgeist of our present situation, to bring comfort and enjoyment to a large ready-made audience stuck at home, to aid musicians badly affected by the “cultural lockdown” and to add to the contemporary repertoire, creating an artistic keepsake of this extraordinary phase in our lives. Contemporary Piano Soundbites is a collection
of solo piano miniatures composed, directly or indirectly, in response to the 2020 coronavirus crisis. Each miniature will be premiered in a video recording, posted online in the Contemporary Piano Soundbites series over the coming weeks. I’m planning to post one or two each week during this difficult period, and to invite donations for the Help Musicians UK Coronavirus Hardship Fund. The project is thus a united gesture of support by and for musicians at this time of great concern and hardship. My plan is that, as well as supporting our colleagues the connection will provide a snapshot of reflections and musings by some of the finest composers of our time at a unique and unprecedented moment in our history. 

Fire in Song with Gemini

May 2020

Premiere of Late Music York Commission of Fire in Song with Gemini

https://www.latemusic.org/event/gemini-ensemble/

Ian Mitchell (clarinet/clapsticks), Caroline Balding (viola/clapsticks) and members of Gemini (reciters/percussion) will give the premiere of Fire in Song on 2 May 2020 as part of the Late Music York Series, at the Unitarian Chapel, York. Fire in Song tells the creation story about fire for the Yolngu group of Aboriginal Australians who live primarily in north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The work was written during the catastrophic bush fires that swept much of Australia in 2019-2020. It reflects on the Aboriginal approach to the fires, one that remained largely ignored in news coverage at the time.

The work is in seven movements:

I The World's Lament
II Bandicoot and the Hollow Log
III Quail and the Burning Twig
IV Honey Bees and the Paperbark Swamp
V Honey Bees and the Tall Grass
VI Baru the Saltwater Crocodile and the Ancient Fire
VII Lament for the Whole World

The outer movements provide a contemporary context - dark, abrasive commentaries on the current extreme climatic events with the central movements based on Aboriginal songs and dances from Northern and Central Australia. The story of fire's creation by Baru the Saltwater Crocodile and the joyful unification of clans as it was spread across Australia by animals, insects and birds is recited by percussionists to the pulse of Aboriginal clapsticks:

'The fire spread inland from the ceremonial ground and burnt the nest of Wangurra (Bandicoot) forcing him to hide in a hollow log (larrakitj) to save himself. Djirrikitj, the Quail, picked up a burning twig from this fire and flew away with it, dropping it at Matamata. There is a large paperbark swamp at Matamata, where native honey bees live. Fire from the burning twig dropped by Djirrikitj took hold of the tall grass in the swamp area and the native bees fled to Djiliwirri in Gupapuyŋu clan country. Thus, Gupapuyŋu honey and Gumatj quail are linked through fire. Through fire, bandicoot, quail and honey bee the clans are linked. Through ceremonies the ancestral lands are linked - linked through fire in songs.'

Fire in Song was commissioned by Gemini with funds from a private donor, and is dedicated with much affection to David Lumsdaine and Ian Mitchell, teachers and supporters both.

King Kong’s Love Song

May 2020

Further performances of SQUISH! King Kong’s Love Song in Connecticut USA

http://www.cuatropuntos.org/2019-2020-season.html

So happy to see SQUISH! King Kong’s Love Song for string quartet and ASL Interpreter being performed by the superb US ensemble Cuatro Puntos on 16 and 17 May 2020 at the Lutheran Church of St. Mark, Glastonbury, and Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, Connecticut, USA. The work is a musical retelling of King Kong's love affair with Ann Darrow. In the ASL version it doesn’t quite end in the way you might expect! SQUISH! was commissioned as part of a celebration of deaf culture in Connecticut and was written as part of my Residency with Cuatro Puntos in 2016. The commission was funded generously by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. The work will be heard alongside Bell, a new opera by Richard Einhorn and Kathryn Walat which tells the story of Alexander Bell and his deaf mother.

Bristol University Lecture

April 2020

Bristol University Lecture: Composing for the Afghanistan National Institute of Music: Collaborations and Collisions

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/events/2020/
april/music-seminar-harrison.html

Off to the Department of Music, Bristol University on 16 April 2020 to give a talk on my work with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.

Charis Foster

April 2020

Charis Foster premieres My Hazara People in Kingston, Ontario

Absolutely thrilled that Charis Foster has included the voice and piano version of My Hazara People as part of her Graduating Recital on 18 April at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

My Hazara People is a setting of two texts, the title work by Shukria Rezaei and Lalai, lalai, bobe bacha shikar rafta (Baby’s father went hunting), a traditional Hazari lullaby. Although their characters are entirely different, the two poems share much in common. The importance of family and home and the connection with country and heritage are at the centre of both. Shukria’s poem is a direct expression of love and despair for Afghanistan with intimate moments of terror - a cup falling from her mother’s hand during an explosion, her aunt fainting - set against the suffering of Hazaras across the world. In the context of this devastating contemporary experience Lalai lalai is nostalgic and poignant - open gates, straw latches, a sleeping child. The tune of the lullaby is heard in two highly contrasted versions. For Shukria’s words it is dark and restrained, a repeating rhythm illustrating the Hazara’s seemingly never-ending pain, and for Lalai lalai it is bright and joyful with sounds of the hunt, a crackling fire and a gentle chorus as the child is rocked. A further thread runs through the music - a quotation of my favourite traditional Afghan Herati lullaby Allah Hu(God is great), reflecting Shukria’s reference to her people’s religious heritage. I have adapted the text at the end of Lalai Lalai to bring it into the Shukria’s world, a reminder that each innocent person caught up in conflict is a mother, a brother, a sister, a father, a daughter….kids like us. My Hazara People was premiered by Charlotte Tetley and Graeme Bailey as part of the Displaced Voices Project in June 2018. Information about Afghan poet Shikria Rezaei can found at:
https://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/stories/2018/5/5b0ea9f94/poetry-helps-afghan-girl-find-her-path-in-england.html

Premiere of ‘I am in love..’

April 2020

Premiere of ‘I am in love..’ at Late Music York with Anna Snow & Kate Ledger

https://www.latemusic.org/event/anna-snow-soprano-kate-ledger-piano/

I am delighted to have been invited by Dot Dash Music to contribute ‘I am in love..’ to their project One Hundred Second Songs. The song will be given its premiere by the fantastic artists Anna Snow and Kate Ledger on 4 April 2020 at Late Music York at the Unitarian Chapel.

The beautiful line of text (translated by Bruce Wannell and Robert Maxwell, Persian Poems, 2013) is taken from a lyrical ghazal by the 13th century Persian writer Shaykh Muslih Al-din Sa'di. Sa'di believed that the ecstatic response created through listening to music was a legitimate form of religious praise and many of his poems explore the relationship between divine and human expressions of love, often within the context of the natural world. ‘I am in love..’ is dedicated to Bruce with thanks for introducing me to a thousand years of extraordinary poetry and to dear friends Mark Hewitt and Marc Yeats for their encouragement.

Schools Compise Quartets 2020!

March 2020

Appointment as Composer-in-Residence for SOUNDSTORM Composition Project 2020

https://soundstorm-music.org.uk

I am delighted to have been appointed as this year’s Composer-in-Residence for the Schools Compose Quartets Project 2020 with SOUNDSTORM and the Asana String Quartet (drawn from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra). SoundStorm is the award winning Music Education Development Agency for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole conurbation, in South West England. Sadie will be working alongside students from Leaf Studio and The Bishop of Winchester Academy, composing quartets to be performed in July 2020.

SOUNDSTORM: 'Our mission is transform lives through music. We aim to give every young person who wants it the opportunity to participate in exciting musical activities, whilst also reaching out to the wider community. Over 250,000 participants and 500,000 audience members have been involved in our work since our establishment in 2002. Their involvement has been through workshops, concerts, special projects, community choirs, festivals, annual conferences, skills development sessions and much more…We’re a huge advocate for how important inspirational musical experiences are for young people. Everyone can recall a musical experience or performance that helped shape them, be that as a musician or as a fan of music. Experiencing or being part of live music, whether as a performer or audience member, profoundly enriches lives. Whether it’s the first time seeing an Indian tabla played live, the first time seeing an audience from the stage, or their first time having your composition performed by professional musicians — these moments are invaluable and formative in young people’s development.'

Sound World Composition Workshop

March 2020

Composition workshops with Sound World

https://www.facebook.com/SoundWorldUK/

Have had a great time working with GCSE and A level students from Churchill Academy, King Edward’s School and Wellington School alongside members of the Bristol Ensemble this Spring. The charity organisation, Sound World (previously known as New Music in the South West) puts on concert series, commissions new music, runs educational projects in partnership with schools from some of the region’s most deprived areas and supports the development of our brightest young musical talent. ‘We always aim for the highest artistic and educational standards and work with most of the region’s major cultural and educational organisations.’

Praise Him with Trumpet Sounds!

March 2020

‘Praise Him with Trumpet Sounds!’ published by Royal Schools of Church Music/UYMP

https://www.uymp.co.uk/news/release-of-uymps-new-choral-volume-anthems-for-sopranos-altos-and-unison-male-singers-10-anthems-for-the-church-year

I am delighted that my anthem Praise Him with Trumpet Sounds! (Psalm 150) has been published by the The Royal School of Church Music/UYMP as part of their volume ‘Anthems for Sopranos, Altos and Unison Male Singers: 10 Anthems for the Church Year’.

UYMP: ‘This collection of anthems is intended to provide modern but approachable and singable works for choirs that face the challenge of finding appropriate repertoire for ensembles with few tenors or basses. The composers were challenged to write anthems that remain within a reasonable voice range, that provide vocal lines of interest for each part, that ensure that accompaniments help singers find starting notes and reinforce vocal lines, and have accompaniments that work on organ or piano and are not outrageously difficult.’

Composing Archaeology

March 2020

Cardiff University Composition Seminar Lecture: Composing Archaeology

https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/music/research/
themes/composition

Off to the School of Music, Cardiff University on 24 March 2020 to give a talk on my life as a composing archaeologist!

NASA audio on Soundcloud

January 2020

Anthem for singing string quartet and NASA audio on Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/sadie-harrison-composer/anthem-for-singing-string-quartet-and-nasa-moon-landing-audio?fbclid=IwAR0Smo
6nH43sr4ssAfmv8948zq
AaEWtCPvSjOSIYaInrYAXZPNZ1SzQlU1E

Bristol Planetarium

January-February 2020

Further showings of Anthem as part of In The Steps of Apollo 3D at We the Curious (Bristol Planetarium)

https://www.wethecurious.org/event/steps-apollo-3d

https://sound-world.org/apollo/

Further journeys to the Moon with the Zelkova String Quartet on 10 January and 7 February 2020. A privilege to have been commissioned by Sound World to write a new work in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing (with generous funds from the Ambache Charitable Foundation). Anthem was premiered in a brand new specially created 3D Planetarium show In The Steps of Apollo: from the first moon landing to the Universe beyond… alongside new works by Julian Leeks, Litha Efthymiou, Michael Ellison and Richard Blackford.

Programme note: In his 2018 Guardian article about the biopic First Man. Steve Rose wrote: 'Neil Armstrong made one concise, famous proclamation about the moon landing being a giant leap for mankind. Perhaps, in that transcendent moment, he wanted us to be more than a planet of warring tribes, nation states or political factions.’ Anthem is an increasingly joyful celebration of mankind, combining fragments of twelve national anthems, focusing on those countries that have successfully landed vehicles on the moon. The human element is heard in superimposed recordings of NASA's Apollo commentary and concludes with the singing voices of the quartet.

Julian Leeks, Sound World Director, commented:
“This project has been a fascinating experience for all of the composers. We really needed some very special music for this, music capable of standing alongside the beauty and mystery of the Universe! But we’re fortunate to have some brilliant composers working in the region and everyone has really risen to the challenge. “I’m absolutely delighted with the quality of the music. The incredible visuals and these great new pieces are a match made in Heaven. We recently attended a preview and it was amazing – a genuinely unique and utterly absorbing experience.”

In The Steps of Apollo is supported by Arts Council England, Ambache Charitable Trust, Foyle Foundation, International Astronomical Union, Science & Technology Facilities Council and University of Bristol.