PRS Foundation and Southbank Centre reveal commissions to be performed at The New Music Biennial Festival 2022

●  New Music Biennial 2022 will celebrate its ten-year anniversary with previous New Music Biennial works performed at the festival alongside brand-new commissions

●  Composers and music creators featured include: Yazz Ahmed, Paul Purgas, AFRODEUTSCHE, Martin Green, Rakhi Singh / Vessel, Keeley Forsyth, Coby Sey, Roopa Panesar, Dr Toby Young, Philip Herbert, Anna Meredith, Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe, Daniel Elms, Errollyn Wallen, Philip Venables and David Hoyle, Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes, Jason Yarde, Jessica Curry, Arlene Sierra and Gazelle Twin.

●  Festival is free but ticketed and will take place on 22 – 24 April in Coventry and 1 – 3 July at the Southbank Centre

PRS Foundation and the Southbank Centre reveal pieces of new music to be performed at their critically acclaimed free festival, New Music Biennial 2022. Presented in partnership with Coventry UK City of Culture, BBC Radio 3 and NMC Recordings with support from Arts Council of England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, New Music Biennial 2022 will comprise 20 new pieces of music: ten brand new works selected from an open call and ten pre-existing New Music Biennial works from across the last 10 years to mark its launch back in 2012.

Brand new pieces such as Yazz Ahmed’s “The Moon Has Become” and a new work for vocal ensemble, electronics & violin by Rakhi Singh, Vessel & NYX Electronic Drone Choir, alongside previous works “She Who” by Jessica Curry and “The Power of Glory” by Gazelle Twin will make up two festival weekends of exceptional music. (See more info below)

With pieces from across all genres: from classical and chamber opera to jazz, folk and electronic, each work is no longer than 15 minutes in duration to create a pop-up, interactive way for audiences to discover new music by some of the most exciting composers and music creators in the UK today including: Yazz Ahmed, Paul Purgas, AFRODEUTSCHE, Martin Green, Rakhi Singh /  Vessel, Keeley Forsyth, Coby Sey, Roopa Panesar, Dr Toby Young, Philip Herbert, Anna Meredith, Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe, Daniel Elms, Errollyn Wallen, Philip Venables and David Hoyle Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes, Jason Yarde, Jessica Curry, Arlene Sierra and Gazelle Twin.

The festival weekends will take place both in Coventry in various venues as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations and London’s Southbank Centre on:

●  Friday 22 – Sunday 24 April, Coventry (Free tickets released soon)

●  Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July, Southbank Centre (Free tickets released on 23 April 2022)

In addition to the performances the New Music Biennial will be broadcast across BBC Radio 3 and pieces will be available through NMC Recordings following the festivals. To ensure the New Music Biennial can be experienced by all, the Southbank Centre will also be hosting a range of free-to-attend public events which will be announced closer to the summer.

Music and the arts have never been more important with so many universal challenges facing individuals, communities and the world. This year’s New Music Biennial invited composers and commissioning organisations to create a response – exploring the fantastical, imaginative and transformational shift music can affect in confronting these threats and challenges whilst bringing joy and excitement.

2022 will mark the tenth anniversary of the New Music Biennial since its launch as New Music 20×12 as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  Since 2012 the initiative has seen critically acclaimed pieces by composers and music creators including Anna Meredith, Mica Levi, Hannah Peel, Errollyn Wallen, GoGo Penguin, Jessica Curry, Shingai Shoniwa, David Okumu, Mark Simpson, Eliza Carthy, Gavin Bryars, Mark Anthony Turnage, Shiva Feshareki and Sam Lee with many pieces receiving award nominations.

Elizabeth Sills, Grants & Programmes Manager at PRS Foundation said “We’re delighted to be announcing the composers, music creators and commissioning organisations to be taking part in this year’s New Music Biennial festival which will take place in Coventry as well as its spiritual home of the Southbank Centre.  The incredible music that has been given a platform at this festival over the last decade has been fantastic and the line-up for our 10th Anniversary celebration will showcase some of those pieces alongside ten brand new pieces of excellent music. We’re very much looking forward for festival weekends to start and for audiences to join this celebration and experience as many of the pieces as possible.

Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music and Performing Arts, Southbank CentreIt’s a privilege to have been involved in the New Music Biennial since its beginnings in 2012, seeking out and celebrating the most inventive, surprising and brilliant musical creativity from all corners of the UK. The Biennial has become a joyful feature of the Southbank Centre’s Summer, making it buzz with people and sounds as the free weekend festival connects the banks of the Thames to new musical ideas being created by artists from the Hebrides to Cornwall, from Belfast to Rural Wales, from Hull to South London. It’s a special joy to team up this year with Coventry UK City of Culture as well as our regular partners the PRS Foundation, BBC Radio 3 and NMC Recordings, making sure that as many people as possible get to hear what these musicians have to tell us.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust added “Coventry is a music city, a longstanding pioneer of new music, so vital to our city’s identity. The New Music Biennial will allow us to showcase local and regional talent – Armonico Consort and Capsule – throw a spotlight onto female talent helping deliver our commitment to PRS Foundation’s Keychange Pledge, as well as show off some of the handful of newly opened music venues in the city. With Coventry Music Board we are keen to see more high profile music festival collaborations in years to come, to help inspire a strong pipeline of emerging talent, reinforcing our status as a hotbed of music innovation. Covering many musical and cultural genres I know that this festival will offer great experiences for all of many communities and visitors.”

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 said, “For ten years the New Music Biennial has provided a platform for the commissioning and performance of new music and I am proud of Radio 3’s continuing support for this brilliant scheme. It’s so important we support composers and performers pushing the boundaries of music and help bring their work to audiences hungry to experience sound that expands the limits of perception and possibility, making the unthought of real. This year’s selection is exciting and vital – what new music should be all about.  I look forward to Radio 3 bringing these wide-ranging pieces to a wide audience.”

Eleanor Wilson, Creative Director, NMC Recordings said, “We are thrilled once again to be part of New Music Biennial and provide a lasting legacy for PRS Foundation’s innovative series. The NMC catalogue is all the richer thanks to the 60+ inspiring new works that span the last 10 years of the series. They cover a range of genres and musical styles and are available worldwide to download and stream.  We very much look forward to working with the composers and music creators of this year’s new commissions.”

Pieces included in this year’s New Music Biennial 2022

New works:

  • “The Moon Has Become” Commissioned by WOMAD, written by the British-Bahraini trumper, flugelhornist and composer, Yazz Ahmed
  • A new piece commissioned by Capsule – Supersonic Festival written by the sound, performance and installation artist, Paul Purgas
  • A new piece commissioned by Manchester Camerata and NEWFORM written by ‘Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’, AFRODEUTSCHE
  • “Split The Air”, Commissioned by The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and Lepus Productions, written by the multi-award winning musician and Ivor Novello-winning composer, Martin Green      
  • New work by the violinist and composer, Rakhi Singh, Vessel & NYX Electronic Drone Choir
  • “Bog Body (working title)”, Commissioned by Sound UK, written by the composer, singer and actor, Keeley Forsyth
  • “From The Vestry”, Commissioned by Serious and written by South East London vocalist, musician and DJ, Coby Sey      
  • “The Crossing”, Commissioned by Opera North and written by the sitarist, Roopa Panesar
  • “Breathlines”, Commissioned by Armonico Consort and written by the composer, Toby Young   
  • A new piece commissioned by the BBC Concert Orchestra and written by the composer and educator, Philip Herbert

Existing works:

  • “HandsFree”, Commissioned by National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and written by the Scottish composer of electronic and acoustic music, Anna Meredith and choreographed by David Ogle
  • “13 Vices”, Commissioned by Moving on Music and written by two of the UK and Ireland’s most dynamic compositional voices, Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe
  • “Bethia”, Commissioned by BFI and written by the award winning composer, Daniel Elms
  • “Mighty River”, Performed by National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and written by the Belize-born British composer and “renaissance woman of contemporary music” Errollyn Wallen.  Originally commissioned by The Rector and PPC of Holy Trinity Clapham Common and the Revd. John Wates
  • “Illusions”, Commissioned and co-promoted by London Sinfonietta and written by the British composer, Philip Venables and the avant-garde performance artist, David Hoyle
  • “365” Commissioned by the Edinburgh Arts Book Festival and written by the Scottish contemporary folk music fiddle player and composer, Aidan O’Rourke and the composer, pianist and organist, Kit Downes
  • “Skip, Dash, Flow”, Commissioned by Wonderbrass and written by the Composer, producer and saxophonist, Jason Yarde
  • “She Who”, Commissioned by National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and written by the English composer and radio presenter, Jessica Curry
  • “Urban Birds”, Commissioned by INTER/actions Festival of Interactive Electronic and written by the London-based American composer, Arlene Sierra
  • “The Power of Glory”, Commissioned by BBC Concert Orchestra and written by performance artist, composer and producer, Gazelle Twin 

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