A week ago a group of 10 musicians including me on voice performed Philip Glass's mammoth 4-hour long Music in Twelve Parts in front of a full Barbican Hall. It was the first time the piece was performed by a group other than the Philip Glass Ensemble - an incredible experience which I'm not ready to forget, and we will hopefully be doing it again!
Some weeks ago my violinist friend Fiona Monbet and I were interviewed by the BBC, she in Paris and me in London, to talk about our collaboration over the years as part of Modern Muses on Radio 3's programme Hear and Now. Among other things we discuss my pieces DUO, if nomen boat, lignéchos and our opera project Les Constellations - Une Théorie.
Tuesday was the premiere in Dunkirk of the new opera I have been writing with Antoine Thiollier for over a year, Les Constellations - Une Théorie, in collaboration with L'Éventuel Hérisson Bleu theatre company and Miroirs Étendus. A great close to the year and to the first chapter of this adventure, which we hope will tour France next year, starting with 3 dates in Amiens in February. The show, a real blend of pure theatre and opera, mixes a lot of different musical genres & narrative devices to tell the story of a troup of randomers sent into space to find out why the stars have disappeared from the sky... It is for 3 actors, 2 singers and 4 instrumentalists (including me on electric guitar!). Hope you can see it someday.
What an honour to be featured in this month's edition of the French Classical music magazine Diapason as 'Young Talent'! Full article if you buy a copy
opera: final steps
Les Constellations - Une Théorie teaser
Last month while on a residency in Lille we shot a little teaser video for Les Constellations - Une Théorie, the devised opera I have been working on for nearly a year with L'Éventuel Hérisson Bleu. You can watch it below. Just under a month now before the premiere!
EVERGREEN LP2 strings
I wrote some string arrangements for Evergreen (aka We Were Evergreen)'s new album, which we recorded at RAK studios earlier this week with players from the brilliant 12 Ensemble. Record out next year on Because Music!
ce n'était pas nous@ Maîtrise de Radio France 70th
On the 18th of October the Maîtrise de Radio France, the French Radio's children's choir, celebrated its 70th anniversary with a concert at the Auditorium of the Maison de la Radio in Paris. Under 4 different conductors, current and past choristers sang a huge range of music from their repertoire, old and new.
I was lucky and honoured to have my piece ce n'était pas nous, written for the choir earlier this year, performed for the second time alongside some of the Maîtrise's classics. You can rewatch the performance, conducted by Morgan Jourdain, below (starts around 15:00):
Dulwich Picture Gallery interview
In November my friend the viola da gamba player Liam Byrne will be performing a pair of concerts at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, in tandem with their exhibition 'Dou in Harmony'. I'm writing a new short piece for Liam for the occasion, and you can read an interview of us talking about it with the chief curator Xavier Bray in the gallery's magazine here.
The concerts take place on the 3rd and 4th of November at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Come! Tickets are available here
I was a guest on the latest 'Proms Extra' on BBC Two (episode 3), discussing the Bowie, Berlioz and Mahler Proms of the previous week with conductor Jessica Cottis and soprano Ailish Tynan, hosted by Katie Derham.
HART was the closing act for the last Listenpony in March. I arranged one of his songs for the violin duo Mainly Two and the vocal consort Eo Nomine to join him. The video of it has just been released and you can watch here & now:
Bowie Prom @ Royal Albert Hall
A week ago I had the honour of being part of the super BBC Prom no. 19 at the Royal Albert Hall, a tribute to David Bowie curated by André de Ridder with his ensemble s t a r g a z e.
Guest singers Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls), Anna Calvi, Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), Paul Buchanan (The Blue Nile), Laura Mvula, Conor O'Brien (Villagers), Marc Almond (Soft Cell), John Cale (The Velvet Underground) and Philippe Jarroussky sang new versions of DB songs arranged by Jherek Bischoff, Greg Saunier, stargaze, Michel van der Aa, David Lang, Anna Meredith and myself.
I worked on 3 songs for the occasion: 'The Man Who Sold the World' (from The Man Who Sold the World, sung by Conor O'Brien), 'I Can't Give Everything Away' (from Blackstar, sung by Paul Buchanan) and 'After All' (from The Man Who Sold the world, sung by everybody).
It was an incredible night - watch it again (my numbers at 16:00, 58:00 and 1:57:00):
Music Meets interview
Earlier this year I recorded a little podcast with my friend Matthew Ker aka producer MaJiKer. We discuss music we like: I played him a cover of an Yves Simon song by Christine and the Queens and a piece for solo cello by Laurence Crane, he played me a song by Les Doubles Six and a DJ Krust track. We also play a bit of our own work.
Last night was the 2015/16 season finale of Kammerklang, a wonderful concert series of contemporary classical/experimental music held monthly at Cafe Oto in Dalston. I had the joy and privilege of opening the concert with the violinist Eloisa-Fleur Thom playing a new, live version of my 2013 tape piece if nomen boat for violin and tape. Followed performances by EXAUDI of Christopher Fox's Catalogue Irraisonné and by Tom Pauwels and Liesa Van der Aa from ICTUS of music by Christopher Trapani and Larry Polansky, putting traditional American folk music in the context of just intonation. Both sets were completely astonishing.
You can listen to the broadcast of the concert on BBC3's Hear and Now podcast here until the 1st of August.
The latest 'Fabrication Maison' programme on the French radio France Musique included a 20min report around the Maîtrise de Radio France's 9th April concert, which included the premiere of my and Antoine Thiollier's piece ce n'était pas nous.
You can replay the podcast here by clicking 'Écouter l'émission' (the specific bit about our piece happens between 37:40 and 45:00!)
Radio France interview
I was interviewed by Radio France ahead of the premiere of ce n'était pas nous, a new piece I wrote for the Maîtrise, next month.
The main project I am working on this year is a new devised opera: a collaboration with the wonderful French theatre company L'Éventuel Hérisson Bleu. It's called Les Constellations - Une Théorie and tells the story of a group of artists' journey in space. The cast consists of 2 actors, 2 singers, and 4 musicians (violin/electric violin, piano/synth, clarinet/bass clarinet and electric guitar). It is being produced by Miroirs Étendus and co-produced by Lille Opera. The premiere will take place in December of this year and we will perform the show throughout France in 2017. Keep your eyes out!
You can read more (in French) about the project here.
through the bleak midwinter @ Karolaoke
Last December I was asked to write an 'anti-carol' for KAROLAOKE (The Coveryard). Ben Osborn and I created a new song in response to the famous 'In the bleak midwinter', focusing on those people who spent Christmas out in the cold, especially those travelling towards us, trapped between worlds by the shutting of borders.
Watch the beautiful video Rachel Margetts made for the performance, with the music:
Emma, Change The Locks award
Yesterday I was lucky to receive the 'Best Composer' award at Underwire Film Festival for my little score to Julia Hart's short film Emma, Change The Locks, which stars Olivia Williams. Underwire is a great festival which promotes the role of women in film, and I am really grateful to them and the Musicians' Union for recognising our work!
The filmmaker Riccardo Servini approached me a while ago with the idea of making a film around my piece for solo cello, Anamnesis. I found the idea wonderful and immediately gave him the green light. He recently released the 'mood test' below, showing what the film might look like. Ric is planning on shooting a full film, from scratch, over the entire piece, at some point in the near future. Exciting.
FellSwoop Theatre's Ghost Opera, for which I co-composed the music with Ben Osborn, opened its UK tour last week at the Lowry Theatre in Manchester. I wrote a blog about the journey of the composition process for the show over the last few months.
You can find all the show dates, including a week at the New Diorama in London, here
if only @ Bristol Proms
I recently wrote a short piece for 40 voices on a text by Ben Osborn called if only. It was performed by the Erebus Ensemble at the last night of the Bristol Proms ('Songs of Hope') on the 1st August, alongside Thomas Tallis's Spem in Alium and 7 other new pieces by composers including Nico Muhly, David Bednall and Murray Gold. The concert was recorded by Universal Records, so stay tuned!
At the end of June I spent a week in Aix-en-Provence with FellSwoop Theatre working on Ghost Opera, their new show for which I am co-composing the music with Ben Osborn, as part of the 'Atelier Opéra en Création' of the Festival Academy. We were lucky to be joined by the amazing Van Kuijk Quartet and to be mentored by the Dutch dramaturge Willem Bruls.
You can see photos of our work-in-progress performance, which took place on Saturday the 27th of June at the Hotel Maynier d'Oppède, here
We are continuing to work on the show which will be performed later this month at the Madrid Frinje and tour the UK in the Autumn.
I am happy to finally release the recording of my first orchestral piece, Abend, recorded last year with Harry Ogg and his orchestra Sinfonia d'Amici, who commissioned the work. The recording was supported by a PRS/Bliss Trust bursary and by the Richard Carne Trust.
We Were Evergreen + The Hermes Experiment arrangement
We were lucky to have the amazing indie-pop trio We Were Evergreen perform at the last Listenpony in May. I arranged one of my favourite songs from their first album, Dormant, for The Hermes Experiment to join them. Watch it:
I wrote a short blog ahead of The Hermes Experiment's concert Lovescapes at Crypt on the Green on the 20th of June, about the piece I wrote them for the event. The piece is called tanka and sets a short poem by Ben Osborn inspired by Thurstan Redding's photograph below.
The video of On False Perspective, my twenty-minute Hogarth opera with a libretto by Ben Osborn staged in May at the Britten Theatre, has been released! You can watch it right here:
within the circle of your transience review
"inspired by a phrase from Siegfried Sassoon, a piano trio creates a sound world that is fraught with tension and yet, confusingly but hauntingly, peaceful at the same time."
click here to read Anna Beer's blog post on women composers which mentions my recent piece for The Albany Piano Trio, within the circle of your transience
On False Perspective reviews
"On False Perspective got us off to a strong start...Josephine Stephenson's music was full of elegant and atmospheric strings, made eerie with lustrous woodwind. The vocal line was always beautifully drawn...resoundingly positive for the future of opera as an art form with relevance and vitality for the modern age" Bachtrack
"Stephenson's score...never merely 'depicts'; it contributes to the drama, as good operatic music should" Boulezian