My new song for Tenor and Piano, “Dream”, setting a poem by Vahagn Davtian, will be premiered by Berj Karazian and Arpine Kalinina at the Komitas Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia on Friday 19th October. I am thrilled to have had the chance to work with Berj and Arpine again after last year’s project with the British Embassy, and though I won’t be able to attend this time, I know that they’ll give a great performance. You can hear my previous piece for them, Imaginary Lover, here. “Dream” will be available to listen to online shortly after the premiere.
I am pleased to say that SEXTET (“Lump of Love”) will be receiving its London premiere at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on Wednesday 11th July. I will conduct players from the School as part of the summer New Music Society concert, starting at 8pm in the Silk Street Music Hall. The piece was commissioned by Patrick Bailey and Kevos, and premiered by them in Cornwall earlier this year. The programme note is as follows:
SEXTET lasts about 20 minutes. The piece is a combination of short or extremely short fragments with more continuous, forward-driven passages, all using the same musical material. In this sense we hear the material “said” in many different ways and on many different timescales. The main musical motto of the piece, which the clarinet plays at the start, is based on a phrase from the Joni Mitchell song “Both Sides, Now”, and the rest of the piece lets an array of different musical styles and allusions into its DNA, from Mahler to Meat Loaf. I found the subtitle, “Lump of Love”, in Joyce’s Ulysses, where its meaning is, unsurprisingly, somewhat layered. I’ve used it for its sonorous quality and its evocative ambiguity. Make of it what you will.
I am delighted to say that I will writing a new piece for players from the Liszt Academy in Budapest as part of a joint project between them and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where I am currently doing my PhD. The piece will be performed in the Solti Hall of the Academy in Budapest on 12th November, before being aired again at the Milton Court Concert Hall here in London on 30th November (further info here).
I am also pleased to announce that I will be writing a new piece for tenor Berj Karazian and pianist Arpine Kalinina to be premiered at the Komitas Museum in Yerevan, Armenia in October. My previous piece for Berj and Arpine, Imaginary Lover, was premiered in the same venue last September as part of a project with the British Embassy celebrating musical links between Britain and Armenia. You can listen to it here.
I have two exciting premieres coming up in May:
BIRTH RITUAL for Wind Orchestra
(West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, Friday 11th May, 8.00pm – full info here)
SEXTET (“Lump of Love”) for Chamber Ensemble
(The Tolmen Centre, Constantine, Cornwall, Sunday 20th May, 7.30pm, full info here)
It was a particular privilege to be asked to write both of these pieces, and I am hugely looking forward to hearing them performed. BIRTH RITUAL was written to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cambridge University Wind Orchestra, while SEXTET will be performed alongside wonderful music by Jonathan Harvey and Steve Reich. Further details about each piece coming soon.
I am delighted that Atomic Fragments for Violin and Piano will be given its second performance in the Guildhall New Music Society concert on Wednesday 21st March, with Gwyneth Nelmes on violin and myself on piano. The concert starts at 8pm in the Silk Street Music Hall and features a range of brand new pieces written by fellow composers at Guildhall. You can find more information here.
As part of my work at City of London School for Girls, I have written Atomic Fragments. This set of 7 tiny pieces will be premiered by Leili, one of the students there, accompanied by Alexander Soares, at St Giles’ Cripplegate at 1.15pm on Wednesday 31st January. This is part of a concert of contemporary music organised by Alexander and performed by students at the school. It’s been fantastic to see these young people getting to grips with new music.
A recording of my choral piece Evening Proverb, made by the Chapel Choir of Eton College conducted by Tim Johnson, is now available to listen to online at soundcloud.com/jonathanwoolgar. The recording was made for the choir’s recent CD, Audi filia et vide, during my time as Composer in Residence at the college. It was a joy to work with such talented young singers. The text is taken from the book of Proverbs:
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; You will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet.
The world premiere of my piece Imaginary Lover, given by tenor Berj Karazian and pianist Arpine Kalinina, is now available to view online. The piece was written as part of a project with the British Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia and premiered at the Komitas Museum-Institute on 22nd September 2017. More information about the project can be found here, and you can view the first page of the score here. The text is compiled from the work of Armenian poet Vahan Terian.
My new piece 3 Studies for 2 Pianos will be premiered on Friday 22nd September at Milton Court in London (details here). The piece was written as part of a project at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where I have just begun my PhD studies, and will be performed by Riho Akagi and Konstantinos Korkodelios. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the performance as I will be in Armenia for the premiere of Imaginary Lover (details here), but it has been a joy to work with Riho and Konstantinos on the piece over the last week. The concert also features brand new music by Guildhall composers alongside other seminal works for two pianos, including Schumann, Messiaen, Dutilleux and Weir.
Next week, I am visiting Armenia for the world premiere of my piece Imaginary Lover for Tenor and Piano. This is part of a project organised by Armenian composer Arpine Kalinina and the British Embassy in Yerevan to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between Britain and Armenia. The concert, on 22nd September, will also feature my solo soprano piece Six Dream Songs and a premiere by British composer James Moriarty, alongside music by Britten, Purcell, Komitas and Kalinina. I will be giving a seminar on my music for student composers at the Aram Khachaturian House Museum the next day.
The text of Imaginary Lover is compiled from the work of Armenian poet Vahan Terian, and the piece will be performed by tenor Berj Karazian, an Honoured Artist of the Republic of Armenia, and Arpine Kalinina. You can view the first page of the score here. Six Dream Songs will be performed by soprano Sofya Sayadyan.
I am thrilled to be taking part in this exciting project and immensely grateful to the British Embassy for enabling me to travel to Armenia.