Martin Scheuregger Embedded at the British Music Collection

Martin Scheuregger

Martin Scheuregger has been Embedded Composer-in-Residence at the British Music Collection, supported by a Sound and Music residency. Since beginning this project in 2014, Martin has seen The Collection move to a brand new purpose-built facility, Heritage Quay. As the culmination of this residency, Martin is collaborating with contemporary music group CHROMA to curate concerts at the Camden Forge on 11 November 2015, and at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival on 23 November 2015.

In London, the group will play a programme of works that reflect some of Martin’s compositional interests reflected in and gained from the British Music Collection. Of this programme, Martin says:

Philip Cashian’s Horn Trio was the first work I seriously looked at in the Collection, writing about it early on in the residency for Classical Music Magazine: I think something of this work’s energy and focus can be heard in my own. In contrast, I came to know Helen Grime’s music much more recently, and being able to programme a relatively recent work of hers – Snow and Snow – shows the continued impact the Collection has for me.

Sadie Harrison’s work is always surprising, each work different to the next and featuring contrast as a strong element of its character. The Bride’s Journey in Three Songs and a Memory is an evocative work that showcases this (and what a great title). I discovered Anthony Powers’ music midway through the residency, programming other works of his with my own ensemble, Dark Inventions. In Sunlight opens the door into a bright, sonorous world that characterises much of his work and has influenced a few works of mine over the last few years.

Together, these works represent a mere snapshot of what I’ve found in the Collection but reflect some of the themes and sounds I’ve taken away from this residency.

When I first approached CHROMA, we discussed work they were already undertaking: their commissioning of David Gorton fitted so well with the aims of these concerts, and to have a world premiere alongside the premiere of my own piece was a great opportunity and takes my work with the Collection right into the present day. Taking the interesting instrumentation of Burgh Castle as a starting point (string trio, clarinet, accordion, horn, piano), I’ve been able to create a substantial new work of my own and draw on just a few strands of the amazing work that the British Music Collection represents.

Here’s what Martin and David say about their two new works, featured in both the London and Huddersfield concerts:

Harlequin – Martin Scheuregger

Harlequin is the culmination of my work as Embedded Composer-in-Residence at the British Music Collection. Conceived in four broad sections, the focus changes greatly in each, sometimes concentrating exclusively on horizontal momentum, at others, exploring textural detail. Despite its diversity, a sense of playfulness pervades the whole work – in material and technique, if not always in the aural result – and it is this that suggested the title. Harlequin does not directly model any one work or composer I have studied in The Collection, but may reflect some of what I have learned during my time there.

Burgh Castle – David Gorton

Burgh Castle is a Roman 3rd century ‘Saxon Shore’ fort with views over Breydon Water near Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast. The piece was composed around, and designed to be performed alongside, a sequence of 19 photographs taken by Claire Shovelton at Burgh Castle and the nearby Strumpshaw Fen on 19 January 2014. There is no programme as such, except the depiction of a passage of time in a particular place. The piano and horn are the main protagonists in an ensemble that is partially retuned to a microtonal schema.

Alongside this performance with CHROMA, Martin is working with Heritage Quay and HCMF on an education workshop that will take place as part of the Festival on 23 November. This hands-on event will give sixth-form students the opportunity to engage with work from the British Music Collection spanning six decades, listening to and discussing new music and addressing issues of originality and identity.

These events are supported by Sound and Music’s Embedded scheme.




The Forge, Camden


  • Philip Cashian Horn Trio
  • Helen Grime Snow and Snow
  • Martin Scheuregger Harlequin
  • David Gorton Burgh Castle
  • Anthony Powers In Sunlight
  • Sadie Harrison The Bride’s Journey in Three Songs and a Memory

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival – Monday 23 November; 15:00


  • Martin Scheuregger Harlequin
  • David Gorton Burgh Castle


Founded in 1997, the critically acclaimed CHROMA is an acclaimed, London-based, flexible chamber ensemble dedicated both to new music and to revisiting classic repertoire in fresh and exciting contexts; mentoring the next generation of composers, and involving audiences in compelling, inspirational experiences. Following its debut at the Purcell Room, CHROMA has become most closely associated with the performance of contemporary music and has forged close links with many prominent British composers through many premières and collaborations.

CHROMA commissions include Luke Bedford, Michael Nyman, David Gorton, Philip Cashian, David Bruce, Michael Zev Gordon, Raymond Yiu, Claudia Molitor, Julian Grant, Arlene Sierra, and Marcus Barcham-Stevens. Recent projects include premieres of several works in the Linbury Studio Theatre, including operas by Anne Dudley and Stewart Copeland as part of operashots, Tarik O’Regan Heart of Darkness (a co-production with ROH2 and Opera East) Elspeth Brooke The Commission and Francisco Coll Café Kafka (Aldeburgh Music/ROH/Opera North), Luke Bedford Through His Teeth, Søren Nils Eichberg Glare and Will Tuckett’s Wind in the Willows. As Associate Ensemble with Tête à Tête, CHROMA has collaborated on new works by Lucie Treacher, Na’ama Zisser, Laurence Osborn, Kerry Andrew, Samuel Bordoli, Charlotte Bray, Stephen McNeff, Joanna Lee, Robert Fokkens & Michael Zev Gordon through Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.

CHROMA has a lively strand of intimate chamber concerts combining music and storytelling, which has also produced its first own-label album Folk Tales. CHROMA’s mentoring programme includes ongoing work with student composers at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Holloway University of London and Oxford University.


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