Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus
Who would have thunk it? My work Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) has been taken up by new music ensembles and orchestras all over the place, with 9 performances last year from Aldeburgh to Berlin to New York. Ensemble Cepromusic in Mexico played it 3 times including it in their 10th anniversary concert as a result of a popular audience vote (the audience also chose Xenakis…) and CRASH Ensemble in Dublin performed it as part of their 25th Anniversary concert in a program with Barry O’Halpin’s remarkable work Wingform. Ensemble Phoenix in Basel did me the great honour of performing it twice in November in two portrait concerts of my music.
In 2023, it gets 6 performances (that I know of so far… there’s a much shorter timespan for programming decisions these days, after all the ducking and weaving of these pandemic years)
Coming up on 7 Feb, Klangforum Wien conducted by Johannes Kalitzke perform the work at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. After a cancellation in 2020, the ELISION Ensemble give the Australian premiere on 20 April at the Melbourne Recital Centre together with works by Mary Bellamy and the premiere of Aaron Cassidy’s Piano Concerto. These large projects are meaningful on a number of levels when they can happen in Australia, one being the way they bring brilliant expat Australian musicians back to join the ELISION family. I’m particularly looking forward to working for the first time with the horn player Deepa Goonetilleke, and with the fabulous Harry Ward who will play the solo violin part.
Other performances of the work are at the Spoleto Festival in late May with the ensemble conducted by John Kennedy (I have very fond memories of the extraordinary performances at Spoleto of my opera Tree of Codes in 2018 and the cocktail they created in its honour); in the final concert of Theatre Freiburg’s season with André de Ridder directing the Philharmonischen Orchester Freiburg in a collaboration with ensemble recherche (Haydn’s Creation takes up the other part of the program); at the Time of Music Festival in Viitasaari, Finland with the Riot Ensemble conducted by Aaron Holloway-Nahum and Sarah Saviet on solo violin in July (I’ll be composer-in-residence there and also teaching a composition course); and in September at Casa da Musica in Porto with Ensemble Remix conducted by Peter Rundel and Ashot Sarkissjan, solo violin.
[photo: NYKY Ensemble, conducted by David Claudio, Yonatan Quemado, solo violin, Sibelius Academy, Extinction Events & Dawn Chorus, Musica Nova Helsinki 2021]
I’m working on a couple of similarly large-scale projects this year:
The Tailor of Time for 30 players including solo parts for oboist Philippe Grauvogel and harpist Valeria Kafelnikov co-commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Festival Musica Strasbourg and Festival d’Automne à Paris. There will be performances in September (Strasbourg Musica) and November (Paris) this year with the EIC under the direction of their new chief conductor Pierre Bleuse.
Multispecies Knots of Ethical Time, a 45-minute work for the Lucerne Festival Forward contemporary leaders involving film and featuring gestural performer Winnie Huang. This will be premiered in November in Lucerne.
A different work I’m rather obsessed with is a piano piece suitable for the Grade 3 AMEB syllabus—crafted for the technical capacities of beginner pianists but also opening up a space for them to compose… stay tuned…