Entries in bcmg (14)


BCMG announces 2016-2017 season in Birmingham and London

From 15 October 2016

CBSO Centre, Birmingham and Wigmore Hall, London

BCMG - photo credit Robert Day

Celebrating 25 years of BCMG Sound Investment, music’s first crowd-funding scheme.

World Premieres of BCMG Sound Investment commissions by Colin Matthews, Kevin Volans, Helen Grime and Francisco Coll.

Conductors and soloists include Oliver Knussen, Thomas Adès, Geoffrey Paterson, Ryan Wigglesworth, Claire Booth, Barry Douglas and Huw Watkins.

For the past 25 years, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has put its audiences at the heart of commissioning new music via Sound Investment, a pioneering fundraising scheme that introduced the concept of ‘crowd-funding’ long before the word had even entered the lexicon.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group marks the first 25 years of Sound Investment in a 2016/17 season packed with commissions, including new works and old favorites. World premieres include piano concertos by Kevin Volans and Helen Grime and works for voice and ensemble by Colin Matthews and emerging Spanish composer, Francisco Coll. The season also includes recent and earlier Sound Investment commissions from composers Thomas Adès, Simon Holt, Gerald Barry, Richard Baker and Zoë Martlew. A special 25th Anniversary concert, conducted by former BCMG Music Director Thomas Adès takes place on Saturday 10 December at CBSO Centre, Birmingham. Underlining BCMG’s commitment to emerging composers, the concert also features the world premiere of a new work by Patrick Brennan, BCMG/Sound and Music Embedded Composer.

Since 1991, over 400 people in the UK and internationally, have supported Sound Investment, collectively donating more than a quarter of a million pounds to the creation of new music. Sound Investors have played a vital role in establishing a vibrant catalogue of more than 85 works from the world’s leading composers and emerging talent. An anniversary fundraising campaign, running through the 2016-17 season, aims to raise £25,000 for the next generation of new commissions.Composer Colin Matthews comments:

It’s been a joy to see the way Sound Investment has grown and become a vital part of everything that BCMG does. When I wrote the large-scale piece for voice and ensemble, Continuum, in 2000, I was thrilled at how the work’s 53 Sound Investors became almost part of it through their support and the warmth of their reaction – they followed the work’s progress, many were keen ears at open rehearsals and there were Sound Investors in the audience at every stage of a European concert tour. It’s a relationship like no other.”

Stephan Meier, Artistic Director BCMG

BCMG’s 2016-17 season also marks the arrival of the ensemble’s new artistic director, Stephan Meier, and new Executive Producer, Caroline Newton. Stephan Meier comments:

“This season celebrates the extraordinary contribution that BCMG, and its many Sound Investors, have made to creating the music of today, for the audiences of now and tomorrow. It is invigorating to lead into the future an ensemble that by its nature sails in uncharted waters, and I am very much looking forward to navigating further BCMG adventures alongside international composers, musicians and audiences of all ages.”


BCMG at Helen Grime Day, Wigmore Hall, London

Saturday 15 October at 7.30pm

 Helen Grime - photo credit: Amy BartonHelen Grime was first commissioned by BCMG in 2009. This is the first of two BCMG concerts featuring Grime’s music and works by composers who have profoundly influenced her. Helen Grime is currently Composer in Residence at Wigmore Hall, and the concert is presented as part of a day celebrating her music. It features four works by Grime, including the colourful, textured Seven Pierrot Miniatures, and her Clarinet Concerto (with soloist Mark van de Wiel). Grime’s music is placed alongside works by two formative influences – BCMG Associate Artist, Oliver Knussen, and Elliott Carter.


Kevin Volans Spotlight

World premiere: Kevin Volans - String Quartet no.12 and Piano Concerto No.4

Friday 11 November at 7.30pm, CBSO Centre, Birmingham 

photo credit: Robert Day

Kevin Volans is one of the world’s least predictable and most distinctive composers. His second Sound Investment commission for BCMG is a substantial, high-energy piece for piano and ensemble. Barry Douglas joins BCMG to premiere Piano Concerto No. 4. Geoffrey Paterson conducts. The evening also features the Signum Quartet as guest artists in the world premiere of Volans’ String Quartet No. 12.


Thomas Adès conducts Sound Investment 25th Anniversary Concert

Saturday 10 December at 7.30pm, CBSO Centre, Birmingham 

Francisco Coll - photo credit: Judith Latscher

Thomas Adès conducts a special concert to celebrate BCMG Sound Investment’s considerable achievements. The latest Sound Investment premiere, a tragicomedy for soprano (Elizabeth Atherton) and ensemble by rising Spanish star Francisco Coll is at its centre, alongside three works from 2016: Zoë Martlew’s barnstorming Broad Street Burlesque, and the world premieres of the complete version Richard Baker’s Hwyl fawr ffrindiaur/Bant â ni, and a new work by 31 year old Irish composer Patrick Brennan. The concert is completed by two popular successes from the first 25 years of Sound Investment: Simon Holt’s arresting and otherworldly revision of his Capriccio Spettrale from 2009 and Gerald Barry’s Wiener Blut, which he describes as: “prompted by my idea of mass- producing a Poignancy Grid for sale in supermarkets. Because all the harmonies would have a distilled poignant essence, they could be played in any way and be poignantly foolproof... BCMG was a supermarket and I could not have been happier in it.”


World Premiere of Helen Grime’s Piano Concerto

Friday 3 March 2017 at 7.30pm, Wigmore Hall, London

Sunday 5 March 2017 at 7.30pm, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

In the second concert centered on the music of Helen Grime, Oliver Knussen conducts Huw Watkins in the world premiere of Grime’s Piano Concerto (a Sound Investment co-commission with Wigmore Hall). The programme also includes Grime’s first BCMG co- commission, A Cold Spring (2009) and works by three influential composers: Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez and Peter Maxwell Davies.


BCMG at Thomas Adès Day

Saturday 25 March 2017 at 7.30pm - Wigmore Hall, London

Thomas Adès photo credit: Brian VoceFew contemporary composers have proved as consistently inventive as Thomas Adès. BCMG and the Calder Quartet, as part of Wigmore Hall’s day-long exploration of his eloquently expressive chamber music, perform works including Adès’ BCMG Sound Investment commission Concerto Conciso (conducted by Timothy Redmond with Adès as piano soloist) and his string quartet Arcadiana. The programme also features Thomas Adès playing solo piano in selections of György Kurtág’s Játékok and Janácek’s In the Mists, and selections from Janácek’s On an overgrown path, Kurtág’s delicate, introverted Officium breve and Gerald Barry’s virtuosic, extroverted Octet.


Colin Matthews world premiere

Saturday 10 June 2017 at 7.30pm, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Claire Booth

BCMG closes its 16/17 season with a concert celebrating three established masters of British contemporary music: Oliver Knussen, Harrison Birtwistle and Colin Matthews, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. Soprano Claire Booth joins BCMG to premiere Colin Matthews’ Sound Investment vocal work and perform Oliver Knussen's Four Late Poems for solo soprano. The programme is completed by Knussen’s Songs Without Voices, and one of Harrison Birtwistle’s most performed ensemble works, Secret Theatre.


BCMG concerts and workshops for families and young people September 2016-July 2017

BCMG Music Maze workshop - photo Robert Day

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group presents an outstanding range of concerts and participatory music-making for young people, including free weekend Music Maze workshops for 8-11 year olds, the Zigzag Ensemble for 12-18 year olds who play an instrument and can read a little bit of music notation, and Feel the Buzz workshops for young composers (aged 14-18). There are also two Families @ 4 concerts, which this season focus on a sparkling collection of short pieces by composers Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez and Helen Grime (5 March) and Harrison Birtwistle’s Secret Theatre (10 June). As part of the nationwide Family Arts Festival in October, BCMG joins forces with Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery to explore graphic scores and the ‘art’ of music.

BCMG Audience Exchange

In the spirit of audience involvement that has been central to BCMG from the outset, BCMG Audience Exchange returns for more post-concert conversation, offering an informal platform for concertgoers to meet and exchange views on the works that they have heard in concert. This season, the Audience Exchange invites reflections on new works by Kevin Volans (November) and music by Birtwistle, Knussen and Colin Matthews (June 2017).