Steven Devine – Harpsichord
Steven Devine – Harpsichord
“One cannot ignore the immensely intelligent and impeccably placed keyboard continuo work of Steven Devine.” International Record Review
Steven Devine enjoys a busy career as a music director and keyboard player working with some of the finest musicians and was recently praised in The Gramophone for “fantastic touch and élan.”
He is the Co-Principal keyboard player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and also the principal keyboard player for The Gonzaga Band, Apollo and Pan, The Classical Opera Company and performs regularly with many other groups around Europe.
He has recorded over thirty discs with other artists and ensembles and made six solo recordings. His recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Chandos Records) has been received critical acclaim – including Gramophone magazine describing it as “among the best”. The complete harpsichord works of Rameau (Resonus) has received five-star reviews from BBC Music Magazine and Steven’s latest recording of Bach’s Italian Concerto has been voted Classic FM’s Connoisseur’s choice. Future releases for Resonus include the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach.
He made his London conducting debut in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall and is now a regular performer there – including making his Proms directing debut in August 2007 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has conducted the Mozart Festival Orchestra in every major concert hall in the UK and also across Switzerland. Steven is Music Director for New Chamber Opera in Oxford and with them has performed repertoire from Cavalli to Rossini. For the Dartington Festival Opera he has conducted Handel’s Orlando and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. He is currently conductor and Artistic Advisor for the English Haydn Festival in Bridgnorth.
Steven works regularly with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Trondheim Barokk, the Victoria Baroque Players (BC, Canada) and Arion Baroque Ensemble (Montreal).
He teaches harpsichord and fortepiano at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London and is Early Keyboard Consultant to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal Welsh Colleges.
“…[Electra Mourns] stole the show as a moving study of madness and remorse.” The Daily Telegraph
Bombay was Brian Elias’s first home; he lived there until he was sent to school in England at the age of thirteen. By then he had already composed a fair amount – or rather improvised, as it was not until the need arose to make parts for school performances that Elias began properly writing his ideas down. He still has fond memories of a youthful Flute Sonata and a music-theatre piece based on Mr. James’ ghost story Lost Hearts. In 1966 he entered the Royal College of Music, officially studying composition under Humphrey Searle and Bernard Stevens, though it was the experience of ‘moonlighting’ with the composer Elisabeth Lutyens he found most stimulating. Under Lutyens’s influence, Elias produced a Webern-like cantata La Chevelure, which made a promisingly positive impression at its first hearing in 1968. After leaving the RCM, Elias spent a few years in New York where he studied briefly at the Juilliard School, New York.
On his return to England he produced a modest number of small-scale works, culminating in the unaccompanied choral Proverbs of Hell, based on William Blake. This and a revival of La Chevelure gave Elias the confidence to tackle larger-scale structures. The first significant product was Somnia (‘Dreams’, 1979) for tenor and orchestra, based on words by the hedonistic Roman writer Petronius, followed in 1982 by the song cycle At the Edge of Time. Then in L’Eylah (1983), he at last felt free to write a large, abstract orchestral work. L’Eylah was greeted with enthusiasm by audience and critics at its BBC Proms premiere in 1984. By now the broad features of Elias’s mature style were fully in focus. A fastidious and imaginative craftsman, he was also beginning to show the impassioned urgency and capacity for sustained compelling invention that remain evident in his work to this day.
Geranos for chamber ensemble (1985) confirmed his growing confidence and mastery, as did Variations for solo piano of 1987 (composed in homage to Beethoven’s 32 Variations in C minor) and the vividly atmospheric Pythikos Nomos (‘The Law of the Python’, 1987-8) for alto saxophone and piano. But even these were surpassed by Elias’s next major work, an orchestral song cycle Five Songs to Poems by Irina Ratushinskaya (1989), commissioned by the BBC. The dark intensity and lyrical eloquence of Elias’s settings fully matched the power of the Soviet dissident Ratushinskaya’s poetry. It is an extraordinary demonstration of creative empathy from a composer brought up under very different political conditions, at the same time showing Elias’s exceptional skill in finding and responding to the musical qualities of the Russian language. Five Songs to Poems by Irina Ratushinskaya was such a success at its London premiere that it was toured by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and repeated at the 1991 BBC Proms. Then in 1992 came one of Elias’ greatest successes, The Judas Tree, a riveting forty-minute score written for the Royal Ballet and choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, with designs by Jock MacFadyen. The Judas Tree has remained securely in the Royal Ballet’s repertory, and it has been taken on tour to France, Germany, Russia and the USA. Although written to be danced, The Judas Tree is scarcely less impressive performed purely as an orchestral work. Not only is the material strong and vibrant, the score is proof of Elias’s capacity to sustain a gripping musical narrative over a long time scale.
For all his achievement as a composer of large-scale works, Elias has not forgotten his early liking for music of a more intimate scale and manner. Two of his most recent successes include Three Songs (2003) on poems by Christina Rossetti for alto voice and harp, and a piece for solo clarinet, Birds Practise Songs in Dreams (2004).
Elias has never been a prolific composer, and all his work – from ambitious orchestral scores to the tiniest instrumental pieces – is executed with meticulous care. Yet the result is music that never sounds merely ‘careful’. The House That Jack Built is bold, dazzlingly inventive and full of dancing energy. Elias’s basing of much of the material for The House That Jack Built (2001) on perhaps the simplest and most memorable of all playground chants also means that one doesn’t need a degree in musicology to follow its many ingenious developments – the process is clear for anyone who has ears to hear. In 2004 Elias was commissioned by the Cheltenham Festival to write A Talisman, which was performed by the National Youth Orchestra Sinfonietta and Paul Putnins, and scored for bass-baritone and small orchestra. It is based upon Hebrew text inscribed on a silver 19th century amulet which was given to Elias by his late mother.
Elias is the recipient of two British Composer Awards; the first in 2010 for the orchestral work Doubles, which was commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the second in 2013 for Electra Mourns. This piece, a setting of Sophocles in ancient Greek, was written for Susan Bickley (mezzo soprano) and Nicholas Daniel (cor anglais) and first performed with the Britten Sinfonia at the BBC Proms in 2012. Elias’ String Quartet, composed in 2012 for the Jerusalem String Quartet, was premiered at Wake Forest University in North Carolina in 2013. The piece was performed and broadcast by the EBU at the Zeist Festival in Holland in 2014 and received its London premiere at the Wigmore Hall in 2015.
In spring 2017 a recording of Geranos, Electra Mourns and Elias’ vocal music was released on the NMC label. The release coincided with the premiere of his Oboe Quintet by Nicholas Daniel and members of Britten Sinfonia. Leonard Elschenbroich and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales gave the premiere of his Cello Concerto at the 2017 BBC Proms. The following autumn The Royal Ballet staged a revival of The Judas Tree as part of its Kenneth MacMillan anniversary celebrations.
© Stephen Johnson – updated by Brian Elias
“Daniel Kidane’s Metamorphosis were strong and expressive.” The Independent
Daniel Kidane’s music has been performed extensively across the UK and abroad as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 3, described by The Financial Times as “quietly impressive” and by The Times as ‘tautly constructed; and “vibrantly imagined.”
Daniel began his musical education at the age of eight when he started playing the violin. He first received composition lessons at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and then went on to study privately in St. Petersburg, receiving lessons in composition from Sergey Slonimsky. He completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the RNCM under the tutelage of Gary Carpenter and David Horne. Currently, he is undertaking a doctoral degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, supervised by Julian Anderson.
Recent projects include the premiere of his orchestral work Zulu by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; a new work for the CBSO Youth Orchestra, which is inspired by Grime music; a chamber work for the Cheltenham Festival which draws inspiration from Jungle music and a new type of vernacular; a song cycle commissioned by Leeds Lieder and inspired by the poetry of Ben Okri; and a new piece entitled Dream Song for the baritone Roderick Williams and the Chineke Orchestra which was premiered at the reopening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in April, 2018.
This season Dream Song receives its US premiere with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard. His piece Woke was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Last Night of the Proms in 2019.
Recent commission for Michaela Petri (recorder) and Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) were released on CD and premiered in the UK at Wigmore Hall. Works for members of the London Symphony Orchestra, which have focused on multiculturalism, and an orchestral work for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, motivated by the eclectic musical nightlife in Manchester, also received critical acclaim.
“Stevie Wishart’s Eurostar: A journey in sound between cities (2016), the evening’s most experimental work, explored improvisation using vocalise, with whooshes, whines and a whole variety of modern loco impressions: motion in poetry.” The Guardian
Stevie Wishart is a composer, performer and improviser. She explores medieval and contemporary extremes, using voices, ancient technologies such as the hurdy gurdy, and electronic music technologies of our own time.
Stevie’s music explores medieval and contemporary extremes, using voices, ancient technologies such as the hurdy-gurdy, and emerging technologies of today. She studied composition at York University with Trevor Wishart, improvised and aleatoric music with John Cage in Edinburgh, postgraduate studies in early music (violin and voice) at the Guildhall, London and with a Vicente Cañada Blanch JRF at New College, University of Oxford, and through many collaboration.
She has composed for modern orchestras and vocal groups and for her own group, Sinfonye. As a composer she works acoustically with music notation, sometimes combined with improvisation, sometimes using computer music systems, and sometimes using all these elements.
The challenge of creating music for a wide range of contexts is important, such as composing for productions by Michèle Noiret (Théâtre National de Bruxelles) and Wayne McGregor, a large-scale choral work for a Proms commission with the BBC Singers & Sinfonye, and for the designer Philippe Starck. With the support of a Visiting Music Fellowship at the University of Cambridge she is currently composing a Double-Bass Concerto for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London.
Exploring music’s unique ability to express new ideas on a level which transcends other routes of communication motivates her work as a composer (and improviser).
Stevie Wishart studied composition and electronic music at the University of York with Trevor Wishart and Richard Orton, as well as improvised and aleatoric music with John Cage and David Tudor in Edinburgh. She continued postgraduate performance studies in early music (baroque violin and voice) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (Diploma in Advanced Performance) and with a Nuffield Foundation award and a Vicente Cañada Blanch Junior Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford (Degree of MLitt) for research into medieval musical iconography.
Invited for a number of composer residences and fellowships, she has presented her work at IRCAM in Paris; the Institute for Music and Acoustics in the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie) in Karlsruhe, Germany; the ADK, Akademie der Künste, in Berlin, and Mills College in California. She received a Wellcome Trust award to develop her compositions using musical gestures and sound-to-control computers, and to work at the University of Cambridge with the neuroscientist Ian Winter on audio processes based on the physiology of the ear.
She is currently a Visiting Music Fellow at the University of Cambridge with the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP).
Stevie Wishart’s Cantata for the Seasons was given its world premiere at Snape Maltings in April 2014. Other major projects include a Concerto Grosso, a double bass concerto, commissioned for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, which premiered at London’s Southbank Centre, a solo piece for piano for Joanna MacGregor, a choral piece for Ex Cathedra, and a new piece for the Dunedin Consort for the 2019 BBC Proms.
“…superbly conveyed by Thomas Kemp who conducts with unerring perfection.” Musicweb
Thomas Kemp is an acclaimed conductor renowned for his innovative programming and passionate advocacy in concerts, opera, ballet and recording. The Guardian recently commented: “…an extraordinary performance… with a fluency that came over brilliantly under the baton of Thomas Kemp.”
Thomas is the Music Director of Chamber Domaine, which is at the forefront of ensembles focusing on 20th and 21st century music. He regularly directs Chamber Domaine in festivals and concert series in the UK, Europe and North America including Edinburgh, Cheltenham, City of London, Huddersfield Contemporary, Wien Modern, The Proms, Aldeburgh, Vale of Glamorgan, Kuhmo and Brighton Festivals. The ensemble has made regular appearances at Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre and have had residencies at Bargemusic, New York; The Schoenberg Centre, Vienna; The Victoria and Albert Museum and Gresham College, London. Thomas has a distinguished discography with the ensemble including world-premiere recordings of Benjamin Britten, Jean Sibelius, Frank Bridge, Arthur Bliss, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Arvo Pärt, Henrik Gorecki, Ned Rorem and Judith Bingham.
The Times recently praised the ensemble for its “superb artistry…with pungent playing from Chamber Domaine under the baton of Thomas Kemp.” A recent recording with the ensemble of the Mozart Flute Quartets was YLE Recording of the Year.
Thomas is regularly in demand as a guest conductor with orchestras and ensembles in the UK and Europe. Forthcoming engagements include guest conducting with The Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, RTE National Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and a tour of an interactive production of Stravinsky – The Soldier’s Tale with Chamber Domaine.
An acclaimed exponent of late nineteenth and early 20th century repertoire, recent engagements include groundbreaking concerts in the UK, Europe and Asia with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducting the 1925 film version of Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier. Thomas was a featured artist at the Oxford Lieder Festival conducting Mahler and Strauss with the OAE and outstanding vocalists Toby Spence, Dietrich Henschel and Louise Alder. The Spectator commented “It’s supremely, exhaustingly virtuosic writing…the OAE conducted by Thomas Kemp gave their all…” Seen and Heard praised the performances for their “marvellous sweep.”
The critical edition of Der Rosenkavalier prepared for these performances will be published in 2021 by Schott. .
Thomas has worked with many of the world’s leading contemporary composers and has given numerous world and territorial premieres including Judith Weir, Thomas Ades, Judith Bingham, Charlotte Bray, Arvo Part, Ned Rorem, David Horne, Huw Watkins, Brian Ferneyhough, Alexander Goehr, Mark Simpson, Magnus Lindberg, Danny Elfman, Brian Elias and Mark- Anthony Turnage. Forthcoming projects include six commissions to run alongside performances of Bach – Brandenburg Concertos, a tour of an interactive production of The Soldier’s Tale and a Composer Focus Day at Wigmore Hall.
He made his operatic debut in a new production of Cosi fan tutte for Opera Holland Park with the City of London Sinfonia to widespread praise. “Cosi fan tutte was conducted with real shape and nuance by Thomas Kemp…Altogether this was the most original and idiomatic attempt on this ungraspable work London has seen in a long time” Opera Now.
Thomas is the Artistic Director of Music@Malling – an international festival that promotes the works of contemporary composers alongside classical, jazz, world, film and vocal music. Founded in 2011, the festival is held each September in historic venues in and around West Malling, Kent and has a year around outreach programme that engages hundreds of young people from across the county in creative activities. In 2019, the festival had 30 events and profiled the music of Alexander Goehr. Music@Malling was recently featured the annual international roundup of The Best Classical Concerts in The Artsdesk.
From 1989-92, Thomas read music at St.Catharine’s College, Cambridge and went on to study violin and chamber music at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester where from 2000-2014 he worked as a professor. He has given masterclasses, conducted and coached ensembles in conservatoires and universities worldwide.
From 2003-2007, he studied conducting at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm with Jorma Panula, Paul Magi and Alan Gilbert winning the prestigious conducting award from The Swedish Academy.
Thomas has enjoyed an international career as a soloist, concertmaster, and chamber musician with many renowned orchestras and ensembles and has led many recording sessions for TV and film in London.
The Strad recently commented: “He displays a remarkable variety of tone in playing that’s lyrical yet assertive, and there’s a real sense of sincerity to his glowing interpretations.”
“A work that takes one’s breath away.” The Gramophone
Deborah Pritchard won a British Composer Award for her solo violin piece ‘Inside Colour’ in 2017. She has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, released commercially by NMC, Signum and Nimbus and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Sinfonietta, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Singers, Manchester Camerata and the English String Orchestra.
As a synaesthetic composer she has worked with numerous visual artists including Maggi Hambling, Hughie O’Donoghue and Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Her violin concerto ‘Wall of Water’ after the paintings by Maggi Hambling was performed at the National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing Theatre and held to critical acclaim by Gramophone as a ‘work that will take ones breath away’. She also paints music and has been commissioned a series of ‘music maps’ for the London Sinfonietta, described in The Times as ‘beautifully illustrated…paying visual homage to those wonderful medieval maps of the world.’
She studied composition with Simon Bainbridge for her MMus Degree in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded her DPhil from Worcester College, Oxford where she studied with Robert Saxton. She currently teaches composition tutorials at the University of Oxford. She was composer in residence at the Lichfield Festival, 2016 through the Sound and Music Embedded scheme and her work features in the ‘Hitting the right note: Amazing Women of the Royal Academy of Music’ exhibition on display at the Royal Academy of Music.
“Six beautifully restrained impressionist essays which comprise an affecting journey.” BBC Music Magazine
Joseph Phibbs was born in London, and studied at The Purcell School, King’s College London, and Cornell University. His teachers have included Param Vir, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Steven Stucky.
Described by BBC Music Magazine as “one of the most successful composers of his generation”, Phibbs’s works have been championed by some of the world’s leading conductors, including Edward Gardner, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Vassily Petrenko, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alexander Shelley, and Leonard Slatkin. Rivers to the Sea, the first of several large-scale orchestral works composed in recent years, was premiered to acclaim in 2012 by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and has since received numerous performances in the UK and abroad, winning a British Composer Award in 2013.
His most recent large-scale work is a Clarinet Concerto, a three-way commission between the soloist, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Malmo Symphony Orchestra, and first performed in 2017 by Mark van de Wiel and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Edward Gardner. A recording was released recently on Signum, attracting critical acclaim in The Sunday Times, Classic FM, Classical Source, and elsewhere. It was recently selected by The Sunday Times as one of the 100 Best Albums of 2019. He has also composed concertos for Evelyn Glennie (Bar Veloce), Sarah Williamson (Concertino for clarinet, strings, and harp), and Nicholas Daniel (Towards Purcell, a concertante work for oboe, horn, harp), as well as Evian Variations (Dacha Savoyarde) for cello and orchestra, premiered under Laurence Dale at the 2013 Evian Festival.
Other orchestras to have performed and commissioned his works include the London Symphony Orchestra, Washington Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Symphony Orchestra, for which he has written five works to date, including In Camera, Lumina (Last Night of the Proms), and Partita, for which he received a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Award.
His instrumental music includes three string quartets, the most recent receiving its premiere at Carnegie Hall in 2018 by Belcea Quartet, before coming to the Wigmore Hall earlier this year. String Quartets 1 and 2 were commissioned by Piatti Quartet and Navarra Quartet respectively, and are performed regularly throughout Europe, with No.2 featuring at this year’s Three Choirs Festival. A work for viola and piano, Letters from Warsaw, has been performed extensively by its commissioner Krzysztof Chorzelski, on whose family background it is based.
Additional chamber works have been performed and commissioned by London Sinfonietta, Chroma, Orchestra of the Swan, Britten Sinfonia, Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Michael Chance, Katya Apekisheva, Iestyn Davies, Tim Mead, James Boyd, and Andrew Matthews-Owen (Richard Thomas Foundation commission), and have appeared at festivals including Aldeburgh, Three Choirs, Cheltenham, Spitalfields, Tanglewood, and Hampstead Arts. Over the last decade he has been closely associated with the Presteigne Festival, for which director George Vass has commissioned numerous works, including (jointly with Nova Music Opera and Cheltenham Festival) the chamber opera Juliana, to a libretto by Laurie Slade.
Large-scale choral works include Rainland (commissioned and premiered by Phillip Scott), Tenebrae, and Choral Songs of Homage (commissioned by Aldeburgh Music Club for the Britten centenary). His unaccompanied choral works are performed regularly, and include Nesciens Mater (commissioned and recorded by The Sixteen/Harry Christophers), a Missa Brevis, and the carol ‘Lullay, Lullay, thou lytil child’ (toured by The Sixteen/Christophers last Christmas). Night Songs, was recently released by Chromium Music Group.
Future commissions include a concerto and a set of piano pieces for Tomoaki Kimura, a Cello Sonata for Guy Johnston, jointly commissioned by Wigmore Hall and 2021 Hatfield House Festival, a string symphony for Basel Symphony Orchestra, and a Bass Clarinet concerto for Malmo Symphony Orchestra. He is currently writing a Violin Sonata, commissioned for the 2020 Presteigne Festival to be premiered by Chloe Hanslip.
From 2008-2018 Phibbs was a director of The Britten Estate Limited. He has held teaching positions at Wells Cathedral School (2009-2010), King’s College London (2011-14), and Cambridge University (supervisor, 2014-15), and currently teaches composition part time at The Purcell School.
His works are published by Ricordi London (Universal Music Publishing Group) and Boosey and Hawkes.
“If Michael Price and David Arnold did not exist, it would be necessary for Man to invent them. Their contribution to ‘Sherlock’ is immeasurable. Thrilling, cheeky, sinister, playful and simply world-class…The music’s not bad either.” Mark Gatiss – Writer
Michael Price is one of the UK’s most sought after composers. His critically acclaimed debut album on Erased Tapes Records, Entanglement, released in April 2015, was described as ‘gorgeous’ by Rolling Stone, as ‘a neo-classical treat’ by Uncut, and Clash remarked that ‘the emotional clout of this music is quite staggering’. A new album, Tender Symmetry, was released on August 31st 2018. This ambitious musical project takes in a series of iconic National Trust locations across England as its inspiration, turning them into unlikely recording spaces.
Michael’s work for film and television has been also widely recognised, winning an EMMY award in 2014, and Royal Television Society, Music&Sound, and Televisual Bulldog awards as well as a BAFTA nomination and 2 further EMMY nominations for the critically acclaimed BBC series Sherlock, which he scores with David Arnold. Other recent TV projects include the 4th season of BAFTA-winning crime drama Unforgotten and the BBC’s new Dracula adaptation, created by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Prior to achieving acclaim as a composer himself, Michael enjoyed significant achievements as a music editor on a number of blockbuster films such as Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Richard Curtis’ Love Actually, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. As a music editor, Michael has been nominated for 4 MPSE Golden Reel Awards, winning in 2001 for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
Michael’s first film experience was as musical assistant, co-producer and arranger to the late Michael Kamen, with whom he collaborated for 5 years. During this time Michael worked on a number of prestigious projects including X-Men, Band of Brothers, The Iron Giant, Metallica – S&M, and live concerts around the world. Michael has also arranged or written additional music on a number of major film projects, including Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
Having studied there as an undergraduate, Michael has recently been appointed Visiting Professor of Composition on the Tonmeister Course at the University of Surrey, and is a full member of BAFTA, BASCA, MU, PRS and ASCAP.