Contemporary Music

Musical Miscellany no 3

With thanks to the William Grant Foundation for their support:

Rescheduled - Sunday 17 June
3.00 pm
Scottish Arts Club, 24 Rutland Square
Tickets £15 (£6 students)
With wine/soft drinks and canapes 

Tickets available from the venue between 11am and 5pm or at the door on the day

Celebrated pianist Mark Spalding performs works by contemporatry composers, several of whom will be present at the performance.
 Thea  Musgrave            
Ronald  Stevenson           
John  McLeod           
 Morris  Pert         
Eddie  McGuire
James  McMillan        
Iain  Matheson                 
Judith  Weir                
Janet Graham     
Michael  Bonaventure  

The Composers

Thea Musgrave

John McLeod

Ronald Stevenson

Thea Musgrave is one of the most respected and exciting contemporary composers in the Western world. Her works are performed in major concert halls, festivals and on radio stations on both sides of the Atlantic. Her career has spanned 60 years and she is known for the clarity of her invention, the skill of her orchestration  and the power of her musical communication. Her outstanding works include a Clarinet Concerto, Horn Concerto and Viola concerto as well as works with specific programmatic ideas [such as the paintings in The Seasons and Turbulent Landscapes.] It is difficult to cover all the works she has produced over such a long career but as a Scottish-American composer she has developed a strong personal voice which commands respect and her orchestral pieces are atmospheric but  clear-headed that should be heard more frequently in her native Scotland.
John, one of Scotland's foremost composers
studied composition at the  Royal  Academy of  Music with  Sir Lennox Berkley, but later came under the influence of the Polish composer, Witold Lutoslawski who became his mentor. John has won many awards for his work, including the Guinness Prize for British composers, and  elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1989.  He has been shortlisted twice for a  British Composers Award and in June 2016 was appointed CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. John is passionate about life and music and that is reflected in his colourful and challenging orchestral, vocal and instrumental works which are now being commissioned, performed and recorded by orchestras and soloists worldwide.
Ronald studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music  [now incorporated in the Royal Northern College of Music], studying composition with Richard Hall and piano with Iso  Elinson, graduating with distinction in 1948. Among his many compositions, and the largest [in terms of duration] and his most famous is his  Passacaglia on DSCH  for solo piano written between 1960 and 1962. His other works include piano concertos, the second of which was performed at the Proms in 1972, a violin concerto commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin, and a cello concerto in memoriam to Jacqueline du Pre´. He wrote several chamber works including a String Quartet a Piano Quartet and numerous songs among which were settings of the works of  Hugh MacDiarmid, William Souter and James Joyce. In 2007 he completed a choral symphony Ben Dorain based on Hugh MacDiarmid's translation of the poem of the same title.

Gareth Williams

 Gareth is an Irish composer working as the
first  composer in residence for  Scottish Opera.  His work spans from opera to chamber music.  He studied at  Queens University, Belfast, before moving to Glasgow where he taught composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Was awarded a doctorate at  St. Andrews'  University. Now works as a freelance composer. Prizes include:- Dinah Wolf  Prize for Composition and his piece “ Search  Engines” winner of  2000 Great  British  Conservatoire Forum.

Iain Matheson 

Iain qualified with BMus [Hons] in composition from Glasgow University where his teachers included  George Newsome and  Lyell  Cresswell.  He spent some time working in Prague.On his return to Scotland he began to established himself as a composer. He lives in Edinburgh and works as  a freelance music teacher and composer. He has written chamber  and solo instrument music as well as vocal and orchestral works. Work by him  were performed at;-  Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust, Edinburgh Festival Fringe,  Bath Festival,  Spittalfields Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and places abroad.

Eddie McGuire

Eddie McGuire's work ranges from compositions for solo  instruments and voice to large-scale  orchestral and operatic works.  As a student at Royal Academy of Music he won the  Hecht Prize [1968] and the National Young Composers Competition  held at Liverpool University [1969.]  He won awards for his solo violin piece  “Rant” and his String Quartet was selected to be played  at the  Barbican  40th Anniversary Gala.  He received a British Composers Award in 2003 and a  Creative Scotland Award. He was  commissioned to produce the finale for the 2006 St. Magnus Festival, Calgacus, first recorded in1997 for the London Proms by the BBC  Scottish Symphony Orchestra and performed by them for the  2014 Celtic Connections.

Judith Weir

 Judith Weir studied composition with John Tavener and Robin Holloway, and attended Cambridge University. Starting out from a background of teaching, community arts and folk music, she first became known for a series of economically-sized theatre pieces (including the one-woman opera King Harald’s Saga) before going on to write several stage operas (starting with A Night at the Chinese Opera) which have been widely performed.

Michael Bonaventure

(b. 1962, Edinburgh), composer, concertising organist and promoter of new and experimental music based in Edinburgh & Amsterdam; member of the collective Automatronic, founded in 2013 to promote new music for organ and electronics ( Extended cyclic works predominate in his output, which includes a large number of electronic and electro-acoustic pieces as well as chamber, instrumental, choral and organ music. Recent examples are “Morphology” (2017 - 18) for organ & electronics, “Seven Days” (2011 - 16) for saxophones & piano, “Darenth” (2011) and an ongoing and open-ended series of “Preludes, Interludes & Postludes” (2016 -) for organ, “Castellations” (2015) for carillon, “Trilogy” (2008 - 16) for choir, organ & electronics, Green Odyssey and Black Odyssey (2013) for piano, all published by Firehead Editions of London
( His music has been heard internationally, with recent performances in Canada, the US, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and many of his electronic works have been broadcast on Resonance FM and Italian radio.  As a seasoned performer of contemporary music, with innumerable composer collaborations stretching back to the early 1980’s, he has concertised throughout the UK, in Europe & USA, on BBC Radio 3 & Radio Scotland, premiered over 100 new works and made numerous CDs.

Building a platform for contemporary Scottish music

 The Trust is promoting a series of concerts of contemporary music, mainly by Scottish composers, and including several important contemporary British composers.

Speaking for the Trust, Charlie Scott said: “We are concerned that existing classical music concerts in Edinburgh, and Scotland do not include much contemporary work. Works by Scottish, and some British, composers are largely overlooked. Only occasionally are new pieces given a first broadcast performance by the BBC and may never be heard again.”

The Trust’s concert series aims to provide a platform for works by composers covering a wide contemporary spectrum, especially those with a connection to Scotland, who may not otherwise be given the chance of public performances. The concerts are generally held in the intimate setting of the Scottish Arts Club although we hope to present these works in larger venues as demand rises.

The first concert was in March 2015 with Chick Lyall [piano] and Rob Hall [saxophone] with a programme of contemporary Jazz Music. Compositions by Chick Lyall.

The second concert was in June 2016 with Kevin McKenzie [guitar], Tom Lyne [double bass] and Chick Lyall [piano] with a programme of contemporary Jazz Music. These were mainly compositions by Chick Lyall.

Early in 2017 we decided to put on a series of concerts with identifiable titles and the first
of these was MUSICAL MISCELLANY No. 1, held in June 2017 in the Scottish Arts Club, with Feargus Hetherington [violin] and Lliam Paterson [piano.] Feargus has played in the USA and in the RSA; in Poland he recorded a CD of Scottish classical music. The music performed was by John McLeod, Eddie McGuire, Iain Matheson, Rory Boyle, James MacMillan and Gareth Williams.

MUSICAL MISCELLANY No. 2 was presented in November 2017, with Chick Lyall [piano] and Phil Bancroft [saxophone]. Chick has been active as a pianist and composer in both Jazz and Classical Music. He has written for and performed with the SCO, McFall's Chamber, RSNO, ECAT, Red Note Ensemble and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

MUSICAL MISCELLANY No. 3 was scheduled for 4th March 2018 with Antony Clare [piano] and Sara Watts [bass clarinet/ contrabass clarinet] but due to illness   it was cancelled and is rescheduled for a date in March 2019.  At short notice Mark Spalding [pianist] stood in with a piano recital of music by several contemporary composers. Unfortunately, this performance had to be cancelled due to heavy snow that week-end, but it has now been rescheduled. The recital will be on 17th June 2018.