The Magic Paintbrush (By Helen Madden) and Greenacre School Anthem (By Judith Weir and Helen Madden).
Feb 13th and 15th 2017 saw two very special performances of ‘The Magic paintbrush’, a folk opera written for professional performers and school children. Performers ranged from 7 year old primary students to special needs college students who wanted to take their drama skills outside of the classroom. iPads were used to create occasional soundscapes to enable non vocal performers to contribute musically. All projected artwork was produced by students from the participating primary schools.
The opera was written by Helen Madden and utilised the talents of other York students and Alumni. Morag Galloway ran many of the school workshops and performed alongside the children on the evening. James Whittle was cellist in the 4 piece ensemble and Omar Shahryar played the evil but often hapless Emperor.
The evening of the 15th was supported by Judith Weir CBE, who on a pervious visit to Barnsley had agreed to write a school anthem for Greenacre Special school. The words were provided by the children and developed into song form by Helen. Judith turned this into a song with piano score which was then made into voice and brass band arrangement by Helen.
The anthem was premiered on 15th February 2017 with Judith in attendance, and she captured the essence of the evening in the following blog:
Plans are afoot to develop of the opera to include artwork from mental health patients, community groups including dementia groups and the development and use of technologies such as visual mapping.
Following the success at the 2019 International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) – World Music Days , Thomas Simaku’s most recent work, La Leggiadra Luna for mixed choir a cappella, has been broadcast by four European radio stations.
The Royal Philharmonic Society have announced the latest members of their prestigious Emerging Composers scheme, including Robin Haigh, currently studying for a PhD at York with Martin Suckling, and Joel Järventausta, a former York undergraduate.
Back in June Martin was invited to speak about Radulescu’s seminal solo viola piece Das Andere alongside violist Garth Knox at the Spectralisms conference in IRCAM.
Praise for Music Dept students featured in BBC Proms
Following on from his specially-commissioned Radio 3 takeover to extend the Last Night of the Proms 2018, Music Department PhD student Neil Luck was invited to contribute a live set as part of 2019’s first ‘Proms at…’ event. Joined by second year undergraduate Rebecca Burden and former student James McIlwrath, Neil masterminded three pieces in an event described by the Guardian as a ‘teasing, challenging new-music bill’. Proms at …
His new work will be performed by four different ensembles in four European cities and released on CD in 2020
The objective of Discovering Young Composers of Europe (DYCE) Competition was to bring together the four regions of Europe (North, South, East, West) by inviting the composition students and alumni of all European Academies, Conservatories and Universities to submit a work.
His work will be performed by a Grammy Award-winning ensemble
Thomas Simaku’s recent work, La Leggiadra Luna for mixed choir a cappella, has been selected by the international jury for performance at the 2019 ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) – World Music Days, which takes place in Estonia from 2 – 10 May.