Colin Currie makes his conducting debut with European premiere of Reich/Richter
Colin Currie makes his conducting debut this week, conducting the Britten Sinfonia in the European premiere of Reich/Richter at the special request of Steve Reich himself.
Currie conducts two sold-out performances at the Barbican on Wednesday 23 October, before bringing the project to Saffron Hall the following day.
Reich/Richter is a collaborative cinematic exploration of Gerhard Richter’s intense, abstract painting 946-3, which will be stretched and manipulated on screen in the hall, to new music by Reich. “A stream of images, its rhythmic flow interpreted by music and, at the same time, a musical composition visualized by film images” is how Richter describes the collaboration.
Reich personally requested that Currie conduct the European premiere of the piece after seeing him conduct his music at a Colin Currie Group residency in Paris’ Fondation Louis Vuitton, which was recorded live and later released on Colin Currie Records.
> Listen to Colin Currie & Steve Reich Live at Fondation Louis Vuitton on Spotify here
Reich and Currie’s relationship stretches back to 2006, when Currie was asked to curate a BBC Prom of his music to celebrate Reich’s 70th birthday, which resulted in the formation of the Colin Currie Group, who, for over a decade, have exclusively performed the works of Reich, to worldwide acclaim.
Reich has written Quartet for the Colin Currie Group and looking ahead, will be writing a substantial new work for the group and Synergy Vocals.
On 6 and 7 December the Colin Currie Group give four sold-out performances of Drumming at the Hayward Gallery (where the work received its UK premiere nearly 50 years ago), alongside the visually puzzling art of Bridget Riley. The live performance/gallery viewing experience forms part of Southbank Centre’s International Chamber Music Series, a strand of the venue's classical season which Intermusica is proud to have co-promoted for many years.
Colin Currie Group makes their debut at Edinburgh International Festival
The Colin Currie Group open their 2019/20 season with a debut at Edinburgh International Festival, where they will give their first performance of Gubaidulina Glorious Percussion – a concerto for percussion quintet and orchestra – under the baton of Thomas Dausgaard with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Thursday 8 August.
Highlights for the 2018/19 season included the release of their second album – 'Colin Currie & Steve Reich Live at Fondation Louis Vuitton' – programmed and performed at the composer’s request. The recording was named one of the best albums in the June issue of Gramophone magazine.
On the concert stage, the group made its debut in Southeast Asia at the Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore, returned to the Cambridge Music Festival where they performed Steve Reich Six Marimbas for the first time and took an all-Reich programme to Shanghai Symphony’s MISA Festival in collaboration with Synergy Vocals and Shanghai Symphony musicians.
Future engagements include four sold-out performances of Steve Reich Drumming at London's Southbank Centre. The group will also return to Kings Place as part of their Master Series on 13 June 2020.
Colin Currie & Steve Reich Live at Fondation Louis Vuitton released on Colin Currie Records
Colin Currie Group’s second album, Currie Currie & Steve Reich Live at Fondation Louis Vuitton, is released by Colin Currie Records on 12 April 2019. The album celebrates the group’s long-running artistic relationship with the American cultural icon Steve Reich. The recording was taken from three concerts in Paris which were programmed and performed at the composer’s request, capturing a group of truly world-class performers at the peak of their powers.
For this recording, Colin Currie conducts and performs with the Colin Currie Group and their long-standing collaborators Synergy Vocals. The album features Pulse and Proverb, which the group performed for the first time, as well as Mallet Quartet, Music for Pieces of Wood and Clapping Music performed by Currie and Steve Reich himself.
This is the third album on Colin Currie Records, which launched in March 2018 with the group’s critically acclaimed recording of Steve Reich Drumming:
"The album marks the debut of Colin Currie Records, a promising new outlet for the artistry and flair of Britain’s most adventurous percussion player."
"a spectacular first release for the Currie label."
"It’s hard to imagine how this inaugural disc could be made any better."
Click here to pre-order Colin Currie & Steve Reich Live at Fondation Louis Vuitton now.
Intermusica artists to appear at 2019 Edinburgh International Festival
The Edinburgh International Festival has announced its line-up for 2019 and Intermusica artists feature predominantly throughout the month-long event.
> Click here to see the full calendar and scroll down to watch the Festival trailer
Among the Festival’s highlights this year is ‘Sir James MacMillan at 60’ – a special series of concerts to mark the composer and conductor’s 60th birthday. The series features five concerts displaying MacMillan’s vocal and orchestral works beginning with The King’s Singers performing the premiere of a new version of MacMillan’s Quickening on 10 August with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Edward Gardner. MacMillan’s poignant oratorio All the Hills & Vales Along will be performed by the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Whitburn Brass Band and conducted by Christopher Bell on 16 August. MacMillan’s works feature across three concerts on 17 August: The Nash Ensemble perform Fourteen Little Pictures; the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Joana Carneiro perform A Scotch Bestiary and his concerto for orchestra, Woman of the Apocalypse; and the series culminates that evening with the world premiere performance of MacMillan's Fifth Symphony ‘Le grand Inconnu’, performed by The Sixteen, Genesis Sixteen, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and conductor Harry Christophers alongside MacMillan’s Symphony No.2, conducted by the composer.
On 4 August Yuja Wang will give the European premiere of John Adams’ new piano concerto Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, a work written especially for her. She is joined by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, with whom she has already performed the work to huge acclaim in the US and Asia. The day before, Wang launches The Queen’s Hall Series with clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer in a programme to include works by Weber, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Chopin and Horowitz. Check out Wang and Ottensamer's recent duo disc on Deutsche Grammophon, Blue Hour, here.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner brings his trademark energy to Bernstein’s West Side Story with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on 5 and 6 August. The score is an augmented Broadway theatre version, as Bernstein originally intended.
Richard Egarr performs twice. In the St Cecilia’s Hall Series on 20 August, he will play and conduct musicians from the Dunedin Consort in Bach Keyboard Concertos in E major BWV 1053 and D minor with fellow harpsichordist Diego Ares. On 22 August, he performs more works by Bach with the Dunedin Consort, this time alongside three other renowned harpsichordists. The repertoire includes Concertos for three and four harpsichords as well as Brandenburg Concerto No.5.
Wallis Giunta makes her debut at the Festival on 21 August as Dodo McNeill in the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s opera Breaking the Waves, a wrenching moral drama based on Lars von Trier’s controversial film. The opera won the 2017 Best New Opera Award at the Music Critics Association of North America and was shortlisted the same year for an International Opera Award.
Colin Currie Group perform the UK premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's concerto for percussion quintet and orchestra, Glorious Percussion, on 8 August with BBC Scottish Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard.
Southbank Centre & Intermusica reveal International Chamber Music Series for 2019/20
The Southbank Centre has revealed the line up for the 2019/20 International Chamber Music Series, which is co-promoted with Intermusica. The season opens on 16 October and includes 11 concerts from world class artists and ensembles.
Alisa Weilerstein opens the season at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 16 October with the Trondheim Soloists, performing works by Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Schoenberg.
Austria's Hagen Quartet appear at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 2 December for a performance of Beethoven String Quartets No.14 and No.15, part of the Southbank Centre's series commemorating the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth, Beethoven 250.
The Colin Currie Group returns to the series for four performances of Steve Reich Drumming at the Hayward Gallery on 6 and 7 December. The performances recreate the piece's UK premiere, which took place at the Hayward Gallery in 1972, and are complemented by the gallery's retrospective of the work of photographer Bridget Riley. Audiences will have half an hour to explore the exhibition before the concerts.
Guitarist Sean Shibe also performs at the Hayward Gallery's Bridget Riley exhibition on 10 January. Shibe performs works from the 17th century to present day, in the context of the exhibition.
Colin Currie appears again in the series on 1 February, this time at the Purcell Room with the JACK Quartet. They collaborate on a programme of contemporary works drawn from the last 10 years, culminating in the world premiere of a new work from Andy Akiho.
On 27 February, Benjamin Grosvenor reunites with Kian Soltani, Hyeyoon Park and Timothy Ridout for a concert of piano quartets by Brahms and Richard Strauss at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. They previously performed Schubert's 'Trout' Quintet at the series with Leon Bosch in May 2018.
Fellow BBC Young Musician of the Year winners Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Guy Johnston unite at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for a concert of historic and contemporary works on 15 March. The duo perform sonatas by Boccherini interspersed with works by Barrière, Glière, Elizondo and Tortelier as well as Emma-Ruth Richards Until a reservoir no longer remains, a new work for two cellists.
Anne-Sophie Mutter is joined by the principal members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 26 March to perform chamber music by Beethoven as well as the UK premiere of a new work by Jörg Widmann.
On 19 April, Vilde Frang, Lawrence Power and Nicholas Altstaedt join together at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for a performance of Beethoven chamber works, part of the Beethoven 250 series.
The final concert of the series is given on 20 May by the Borodin Quartet, who are joined for the concert by Alexei Volodin and Sergei Nakariakov. Together they perform Borodin String Quartet No.2 and two works by Shostakovich.
Click here for more details about the series.
Host of Intermusica artists featured in international Best of 2018 press picks
2018 was another fantastic year for Intermusica artists, with many singled out by the world’s top publications and broadcasters in their end-of-year highlight features. Read a selection below:
Daniil Trifonov featured in a plethora of publications including The Guardian, Sunday Times, New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, Arts Fuse, Seen & Heard and New York Classical Review. His recent release on Deutsche Grammophon, Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, with Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, was widely praised, as was his ‘Decades’ recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker called “playing of unreal beauty”. A recital with mentor Sergei Babayan was highlighted in Boston Classical Review, with Trifonov deemed “among the most sensational keyboard artists of his generation” and Babayan “second-to-none in his own right.”
Also popular amongst critics was Sir John Eliot Gardiner, whose Carnegie Hall appearance with his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, as part of Carnegie’s Berlioz Festival, drew glowing commentary. Gardiner’s Berlioz and Schumann exploration with the LSO, including an appearance at the 2018 BBC Proms, was similarly lauded (Arts Desk: “I reeled from… [Gardiner’s]… contributions … He sold instantly the ideas that wind and brass as well as upper strings… should stand”), and memorably enhanced by Antoine Tamestit’s take on Harold in Italy, which saw the soloist use theatrics to better inhabit the wandering eponymous hero (Tamestit’s Harold also came in for praise from Arts Desk, Limelight and New York Classical Review). Gardiner’s Verdi Requiem at the Concertgebouw and other venues was also mentioned by NRC and Seen & Heard.
British music champion Martyn Brabbins was singled out by several publications including The Guardian and Sunday Times, who included his releases of Tippett Symphonies 1& 2 (BBC Scottish Orchestra, Hyperion) and Ferneyhough: La Terre est un Homme (BBC Symphony Orchestra, NMC) in their recordings of the year round-ups.
Matthew Aucoin was picked out by WQXR for his opera Second Nature (on the topic of climate change) and “[making] the [classical] tradition more alive and urgent than ever.” Aucoin’s conducting skills impressed The New York Times, who noted his “instinct for tension” when conducting Peter Sellars’ Santa Fe Opera production of Doctor Atomic.
Colin Currie Group’s release of Drumming, the first on the new Colin Currie Records label, enchanted listeners with Arts Fuse calling it “one of – no, the – greatest recording of the piece to date” and The Boston Globe terming it “an ecstatic rendition…[which]…absolutely transports.”
Andrew Manze’s Mendelssohn symphony cycle with NDR Radiophilharmonie, where he is Chief Conductor, garnered praise from Arts Fuse, as did his moving War Requiem with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and NDR Radiophilharmonie at Liverpool Cathedral and in Hannover (one of Fiona Maddox at The Guardian’s Best of 2018), which saw British and German players unite to mark 100 years since the end of World War I.
Mark Wigglesworth was roundly praised by Seen & Heard (“typically first-rate conducting”), The Stage (“an exceptional musical performance”) and Arts Desk for his House of the Dead at the Royal Opera House; while over at English National Opera, Porgy and Bess, conducted by John Wilson, was a highlight for The Stage, The Guardian and Evening Standard.
Other notable recordings included Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “eminently accessible” rendition of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet (WQXR); Nora Fischer’s Hush – “radically unorthodox yet utterly gorgeous” (WQXR), Boris Giltburg’s Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 with Royal Scottish National (Politiken); and Marek Janowksi’s “sumptuous Hindemith collection” on Pentatone (Arts Desk). Recordings by Francesco Piemontesi and Renaud Capuçon (Liszt Années de pèlerinage, Orfeo, and Bartok Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 with LSO, Hyperion) featured in The Sunday Times’ Classical Albums of the Year.
Lahav Shani’s new position as Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra was noted as a special moment by Seen & Heard and NRC, while Giancarlo Guerrero’s performances with Boston Symphony Orchestra (“a spectacular, kinetic reading”) and Curtis Symphony Orchestra (“at once authoritative and at the same time warmly collaborative") were noted by Arts Fuse and Seen & Heard. Mischa Maisky’s Jansen/Maisky/Argerich Trio performance at the Barbican was deemed “chamber music writ large” and “opulent” by Arts Desk.
Singers singled out by cultural commentators included Lise Davidsen for her “superlative” performance in the title role in a “long overdue feminist reassessment” of Ariadne auf Naxos at Festival d’Aix en Provence (Seen & Heard), as well as for her involvement in the Royal Opera House and Antonio Pappano’s Verdi Requiem – “the classiest perfection imaginable, crowned by the phenomenal Lise Davidsen” (Arts Desk).
Fellow dramatic soprano Iréne Theorin was noted in Seen & Heard as a “commanding Isolde” in Staatsoper Berlin and Daniel Barenboim’s Tristan und Isolde, as was Natalya Romaniw, who sang "with grace and conviction” in the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Testament alongside the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits.
David Alden’s “fine Lohengrin” at the Royal Opera House was singled out by The Stage, as was Garsington’s first full-scale commission, The Skating Rink, featuring Susan Bickley creating the role of Carmen.
2018 ended well for Sir James MacMillan, whose Cumnock Tryst took the number one spot in Fiona Maddox’s Best Classical Music of 2018 list for its unique role in “revitalising a local community with world-class performances”. The Scotsman, looking ahead to 2019, noted “it’s going to be a big year for Scotland’s most high-profile composer” as MacMillan turns 60, celebrating with a host of concerts and new works.
Colin Currie Group & Intermusica raise nearly £2,000 in Shelter's Vertical Rush 2018
On 15 March Colin Currie, his Colin Currie Group bandmates George Barton and Matt Farthing and Intermusica staff members Kate Caro and Florence Eves successfully climbed the 932 steps of London's Tower 42 as part of homeless charity Shelter’s Vertical Rush challenge.
The team’s fundraising efforts have resulted in a total of almost £2,000: 241% of their original target.
Their fundraising page will be open until the end of April if you would still like to donate to Shelter – click here to donate.
Intermusica leads eight major Asia tours in 2016
Intermusica will take eight world-class ensembles to Asia in 2016 in a year of ground-breaking firsts. Watch our video below to find out more.
Academy of Ancient Music
- Conducted by Richard Egarr
- First British orchestra to play in Prince Mahidol Hall, Bangkok
- Marking 275th anniversary of Vivaldi’s death
Budapest Festival Orchestra
- Conducted by Iván Fischer with soloist Ning Feng
- BFO’s debut in Xi’an, the ancient capital of China
- Chinese premiere of Dutilleux’s L’arbre des songes
Choir of King's College, Cambridge
- Choir’s debut in Nanjing and Tianjin and fourth Intermusica tour to China
- Opening Beijing NCPA’s International Chorus Festival
Colin Currie Group
- Group's Macau debut
- Celebrating Steve Reich’s 80th birthday year
- Debut of Steve Reich's music at Macu International Music Festival
- Conducted by Sir Mark Elder
- Hallé's debut in Wuhan and Shanghai
- First British orchestra to collaborate with Chinese choruses in the Chinese premiere of William Walton’s Henry V
- Conducted by Andrew Manze
- UNESCO World Cities of Music collaboration with Tongyeong
- Sir Andras Schiff’s debut concerto tour of China
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
- Conducted by Osmo Vänskä with soloist Renaud Capuçon
- OSR's debut in India
The English Concert
- With soloists Tim Mead and Mary Bevan
- ‘Shakespeare in Love’: a concept designed by Intermusica in collaboration with The English Concert to celebrate Shakespeare 400
- The English Concert’s debut in Wuhan, Shanghai and Beijing
Colin Currie Group makes Helsinki Festival Debut
The Colin Currie Group makes its debut at the Helsinki Festival on 19 August 2015 with an all-Reich programme, featuring Colin Currie and Steve Reich performing Clapping Music and the group giving the Finnish premiere of Quartet.
The Helsinki Festival continues its tradition of showcasing prominent contemporary composers with this all-Reich programme that sees members of the group collaborating with Avanti! Chamber Orchestra to perform Steve Reich’s Radio Rewrite. The concert also features the group performing Sextet and Avanti! performing Pendulum Music, Reich’s 1968 composition for microphones and speakers.
The group has enjoyed a busy 2014/15 season, including a five-concert tour of The Netherlands, performances of Music for 18 Musicians at Saffron Hall and Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, performances of Drumming in Paris and Prague and the world and regional premieres of Steve Reich’s work composed for the group, Quartet.
Colin Currie gives US and Paris premieres of Steve Reich’s Quartet
Colin Currie gives the US premiere of Steve Reich's Quartet at Carnegie Hall as part of an all-Reich programme on 29 October, where Currie, Steve Reich and pianists Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore will be joined by American percussionist Dan Druckman. Currie and Druckman also join Julliard students in a performance of Reich’s seminal work Drumming. This is followed by the Paris premiere of Quartet on 8 November at Cité de la Musique by the Colin Currie Group in an all-Reich programme completed by Mallet Quartet and Drumming.
Quartet was co-commissioned by Southbank Centre, Carnegie Hall, the Julliard School, Cité de la Musique and Kölner Philharmonie / KölnMusik, and Reich has dedicated Quartet to Currie:
"The piece is dedicated to Colin Currie, a percussionist who has broken the mould by maintaining his solo career with orchestras and recitals and also, quite amazingly, by founding the Colin Currie Group which plays whatever ensemble music he believes in. I salute him and hope others will take note."
The Colin Currie Group gave the world premiere of Quartet on 12 October in a highly-praised concert that also saw Currie joined by Reich to perform Clapping Music and a performance of Sextet.