My dear friend Elena Tonra's first solo album, released under the name Ex:Re, is out into the world today. It was an utter joy to witness her making these beautiful songs, and to work with her and Fabian recording some cello and backing vocals.
I'm also super excited that I get to be in the live band (teenage dream come true!). We had our first, sold-out concert at Hoxton Hall on Wednesday and it was absolutely great. More exciting live plans to be announced soon.. follow the project to find out more!
In the meantime you should also watch Antonia Luxem's dreamy video for the first single, 'Romance', here.
(album artwork photo by Marika Kochiashvili)
Thom Yorke's soundtrack for Luca Guadagnino's remake of Suspiria is out today! I had great fun doing some spooky singing on a couple of tracks with the London Contemporary Orchestra.. can't wait to see the film (though I'm a little scared)!
Lisa Hannigan with s t a r g a z e @ Barbican & NCH Dublin
Last week Lisa Hannigan and s t a r g a z e played 3 concerts, one in London and two in Dublin, of Lisa's songs arranged for her and the 12-piece ensemble. The show consists mainly of songs from her latest record At Swim, though I was overjoyed to be asked to arrange two of my favourite songs from Passenger, 'Little Bird' and 'Nowhere to Go', for the occasion, and share the arranging bill with the likes of Bryce Dessner, Timo Andres, Aart Strootman, Cormac Curran and André de Ridder.
The show was a real beauty and I can't wait for it to come out as a live album next year!
Friday was the final concert of the OPUS XXI summer contemporary music academy in Hamburg, in which I took part as composer. The International Ensemble Modern Academy gave amazing performances of music by composers including Fausto Romitelli and Ivan Fedele at the amazing resonanzraum, and I was lucky to get my German premiere as Lola Rubio, Moritz Schneidewendt and Frank Gutschmidt beautifully performed my trio for violin, clarinet and piano, lignéchos.
I had fun providing some backing vocals, along with Kate Huggett and Sarah Latto, for the tracks 'Hank', 'Many Faces' and 'Better Than That'.
SWAP'ra Gala @ Opera Holland Park
Last night was the first SWAP'ra Gala: an evening showcasing women from all disciplines working in the opera industry, hosted by Fiona Shaw. As part of the programme, which consisted in a series of semi-staged opera scenes sung, played, conducted and directed by women, sopranos Gillian Keith and Caroline MacPhie performed an extract from Les Constellations - Une Théorie, newly orchestrated for the occasion and conducted by Jessica Cottis. It was a real treat to have this music heard in the UK for the first time, and performed by such amazing artists.
"The real modernism came in a taster of Josephine Stephenson's 'Les constellations, une théorie' [...] - the most surprising highlight." The Arts Desk
Last night was the launch of my dear and talented friend Ana Silvera's new album Oracles, which we recorded live at the Roundhouse back in 2015. Back then I was in charge of the small choir accompanying Ana and her band. This year we created a new, smaller version of the piece for this unique performance, for which I was able to realise my dream of playing electric guitar in a band!
It was a beautiful concert, one which I'm not ready to forget (picture below).
Oracles is a very special and gorgeous piece, which I urge you all to check out!
s t a r g a z e: Blackstar @ Festival de Saint-Denis
Over the last couple of months, s t a r g a z e and Jherek Bischoff, accompanied by singers Anna Calvi, Laetitia Sadier and Soap & Skin, have been touring this concert in homage to David Bowie, inspired by their 2016 BBC Prom (to which I'd contributed 3 arrangements), but focusing primarily on his final record Blackstar. The first performances took place last month at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, and next month they will take it to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw as part of the Holland Festival. In the meantime, they gave a wonderful performance of it last night in Paris as part of the Festival de Saint-Denis, in the huge basilica.
The concert was filmed by ARTE and you can re-watch it below! Look out for my arrangement of 'I Can't Give Everything Away', sung by Laetitia Sadier, at 42:40.
Today is the release of Overseas, the second album of the French band Evergreen (formerly known as 'We Were Evergreen').
I wrote some string arrangements for two of the tracks, 'Maritime' and 'Conifère', which were played by 12 Ensemble. Check it out!
I had so much fun joining the band in France last year to play some piano on a few of the tracks. Here's a picture of all of us at the end of a glorious weekend at La Frette studios.
How To Talk To Girls At Parties
This fun film by John Cameron Mitchell is out in the UK!
I got to be the voice(s) of the entire alien community stranded in 1970s Croydon, composed by Nico Muhly and most prominent in the middle party scene. It's wonderfully bizarre. Go see it!
This week was the first time we ever took Listenpony out of London. We put on 3 concerts, one in Birmingham, one in Manchester and the final one in London last night. We took with us the wonderful artists George Fu (piano) and La Vaghezza (baroque ensemble), and were joined by local 'pop' acts in each town (Cinema in Birmingham, Aldous RH in Manchester and Elena Tonra in London).
The programme contained 6 world premieres, by Robin Richards, Joanna Ward, Daniel Fardon, William, Freya and I, as well as music by Castello, Fontana, Bach, Messiaen and Liszt. It was a really great experience which we hope to repeat in the future!
Today is the release of Jon Hopkins's new album, Singularity.
I provided some singing for the middle track, 'Feel First Life'.
Daughter: All I Wanted
Today a very special video came out: a live performance of the band Daughter's song 'All I Wanted', from their video game soundtrack Music from Before the Storm, in a new arrangement by me for singer Elena Tonra with string quartet and vocal quartet.
We filmed it at the Peckham Asylum last month in one take, directed by Simon Lane.
Nonclassical: Rise of the Machines #2 @ Village Underground
On the 18th of March Nonclassical put on their second Rise of the Machines event, a 'classical club night' which among sets from the brilliant Langham Research Centre included music by Barry Guy, Nick Ryan & John Matthias, and a new collaborative Concerto for drum machine and orchestra, of which I wrote the last movement.
The other movements for the concerto were composed by Laurence Osborn, Max de Wardener, Jo Thomas and Beni Giles. We talked a bit about it here. The machine we used was a Roland TR-8, and I got to perform Beni's piece on it as well as mine, with the Nonclassical orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis. What fun. I hope we do it again.