Friday March 15th, 1.10pm; Barber Institute of Arts, Birmingham
Friday March 15th. 7pm; Austrian Cultural Forum, London
Michael is thrilled to announce the issue of a new full-length portrait CD of chamber music on Resonus Classics, performed by leading performers the Fidelio Trio and clarinettist Julian Bliss. Covering works from 1994 to 2016, the CD is a comprehensive survey of Michael’s work. It features solo works, duos, a quartet, Fragments from a Diary for clarinet, violin and piano and the title work of the CD, the piano trio In the Middle of Things. The CD will receive a double launch in March at the University of Birmingham, where Michael is Professor of Composition, and in London. Admission is free to both events.
Michael is at work on two new projects:
String Quartet no.3: Following his 2018 Cheltenham festival commission for his string quartet no. 2 for the Ligeti Quartet, he is now composing a third quartet for the internationally acclaimed Canadian Bozzini Quartet to be premiered in 2020.
The Fall of Icarus: Michael is excited to announce that he will be completing his chamber opera on the subject of Icarus, the first act of which was commissioned by Tête-à-Tête opera festival. The complete production has been commissioned by the Barber Trust and the premiere will take place at the Barber Institute of Arts in September 2021.
Michael is this year’s featured composer in Oxford University’s exciting, diverse new music MASH Marathon. Two works will be played: The Impermanence of Things for piano, ensemble and electronics, a meditation on the passing of time – this was originally a London Sinfonietta commission; and There Always, which uses a work by the Elizabethan composer John Dowland as its starting point – this piece was initially written for the viol consort Concordia for the Lichfield Festival and later arranged for the Finnish Mikkeli Chamber Orchestra for string orchestra, the version at Oxford.
Friday 1 February, 6.30pm; Jacqueline du Pré Music Building
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Michael is delighted to have been invited to lead the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Composers Scheme workshops. He will work with six young composers on new orchestral works; and two movements from his 2012 BBC commission Bohortha will also be performed as part of the event. The orchestra will be conducted by the American conductor Jung-Ho Pak.
Saturday 23 February, 3pm; Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Amphitheatre
Michael has written a new work for the world-leading American singer Nicholas Isherwood. Nigun for bass baritone and electronics elides state-of-the art electronic transformations – created in collaboration with Ian Dearden of Sound Intermedia – with ancient Chassidic chanting. Part of an international tour with 8 new works, the project begins in New York and then over the next 12 months takes in concerts in the USA, Poland, Holland and the UK.
Tuesday 5 February, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College CUNY
Michael is Director of the Cheltenham Festival Composer Academy for a third successive year. 12 composers are selected to take part, with a packed series of events and workshops, culminating in two showcase concerts. Vocal group Juice works with Michael, while fellow University of Birmingham composer Scott Wilson works this year with composers specialising in music for instrumentalists and electronics.
The festival also sees The Ligeti Quartet premiere Michael’s String Quartet no.2 at 9pm, Wednesday 11 July, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham.
A Short Book of Harmonies for flute, clarinet, piano, vibraphone, violin and cello. The work will be broadcast alongside two other premieres – by Richard Ayres and Ryan Latimer – part of the launch concert for Loki, a brand new contemporary music ensemble conducted by Daniele Rosina.
As part of Birmingham’s 2nd CrossCurrents Festival – of which he is Artistic Director – Michael is writing two new works.
The first is Quietness, a work for solo violin, written for the brilliant German violinist Carolin Widmann, who also premiered Michael’s BBC commissioned Violin Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo at the Barbican in February 2017. Quietness will be performed at the Barber Institute of Arts on Friday 16th February at 1.10pm.
The second new work is A Short Book of Harmonies for flute, clarinet, piano, vibraphone/percussion, violin and cello. It will be performed alongside two other premieres – from Richard Ayres and Ryan Latimer – as part of the launch concert for Loki, a new contemporary music ensemble conducted by Daniele Rosina. The concert is at the Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music Building on Friday 23rd February at 7.30pm. It is also being recorded for BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now and will be broadcast on Saturday 7 April.
Michael will be completing his third and final year as Cheltenham Festival Composer Academy Director in July 2018. As part of this, the Festival has commissioned a new String Quartet for the Ligeti Quartet, to be performed alongside a commission from one of the emerging composers who took part in the Academy in 2017.
Watch this space for further details.
Later in 2018, Resonus Classics will be issuing a new chamber music portrait CD of Michael’s music, involving the Fidelio Trio and clarinetist Julian Bliss.
Watch this space for further details nearer to the launch.