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.
James Cave has been announced as the winner of the ‘Same Notes – Ten Times Sweeter’ Competition
This competition was for a piece for unaccompanied descant or treble recorder, three to four minutes long.
James Cave’s setting of ‘Ave Maria’, commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for the Nine Lessons and Carols 2016, has been selected for inclusion on a new CD of pieces written for York Minster, to be released on Regent Records later this year.
For the second year running, Martin Suckling features in the Scottish Awards for New Music. His flute concerto, The White Road, premiered last February by Katherine Bryan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, is shortlisted in the ‘Large Scale Work (11+ performers) sponsored by PRS for Music’ category. Over 180 nominations were submitted by artists, audience members and the general public, reinforcing the depth and breadth of new music activity in Scotland. The awards event will be held at the Drygate Brewery, Glasgow on Wednesday 7 March 2017.
PhD student Patrick John Jones has been selected for PRS for Music’s new scheme for composers, Accelerate.
On Friday 12th January, Martin Suckling’s new string quintet, Emily’s Electrical Absence, a collaboration with poet Frances Leviston and scientists from the PETMEM consortium, receives its premiere in London as part of the ‘Time Unwrapped’ series at King’s Place. The following day in New York City, Lost Dog New Music Ensemble give the second US performance of Martin’s clarinet trio Visiones (after Goya) as part of their mini-festival of British music, ‘The UK Commotion’.
The Journal of Music, Technology and Education recently published a special edition on the Online Orchestra, an Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project that run between October 2014 to March 2016.