Memory is the subject of this year’s BBC Radio 3 / Wellcome Collection mini festival, “Why Music?”. I recall as a young violinist that music seemed to embed itself in my fingers so that I never needed to learn to memorise, and never worried that I might forget in performance. Fast-forward a couple of decades (ok maybe a few decades) and I’m looping the first four bars of one of Kurtág’s Signs Games and Messages, desperately trying to alight on the correct continuation in the second phrase and wondering how many times I can get away with the repetition before anyone notices.
Since the start of the year, I have been working alongside the poet Frances Leviston to create a new piece combining words and music responding to the fascinating ideas coming out of the Horizon2020-funded PETMEM project. The first fruits of this will be performed on 15th October at the Wellcome Collection as part of their Why Music? festival, and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The piece features harmonics and microtones and glissandi, partly because I like those things, and partly because they offer interesting ways to respond to some of the concepts at play in the PETMEM project. Memories and material under pressure and changing states of conductivity. Schubert is loitering in the background (and sometimes in the foreground).
Last week I was in Glasgow and had a lovely conversation about my new flute concerto with Katherine Bryan and journalist Kate Molleson. You can read the interview by clicking here.
I'm delighted that Candlebird has been chosen as part of the PRS Foundation's Resonate programme – a partnership with the Association of British Orchestras and BBC Radio 3, which champions outstanding pieces of British orchestral music from the past 25 years and aims to inspire more performances, recordings and broadcasts of these works. This scheme will support a number of performances of Candlebird by my good friends the Aurora Orchestra in their 2017-18 season.