The Ebonit Saxophone Quartet gave two performances of Richard Whalley’s Iapetus Suture in the Netherlands during February 2020. The first was in the Theater aan het Vrijhof, Maastricht on Wednesday 12 February, the second in Kasteel Keukenhof on Sunday 16 February. They will give a further performance at the Pimlott Foundation, Colchester on Saturday 29 February.
The programme of mainly British music was built around arrangements of string quartet music by Britten and Walton and arrangements of piano music by Percy Grainger. More information on the Composers Edition website
Richard Whalley recently performed Weinberg’s 4th Sonata with Marc Danel, the 1st violinist of the Quatuor Danel in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester. The programme also included Ite for solo violin by Pascal Dusapin and ‘Adagio Molto’ for string quartet by Guillaume Lekeu. See here for more details.
Performance of ‘Refugees Welcome ♥’ by Ebonit Saxophone Quartet in De Doelen, Rotterdam, January 2020
The Ebonit Saxophone Quartet were the first saxophone quartet to be asked to perform in Rotterdam’s prestigious chamber music series, in a programme of works from throughout music history which included ‘Refugees Welcome ♥‘ named ‘From Wolfgang to Whalley’. The Wolfgang in question is, of course, a bit more famous than the Whalley.
This concert was broadcast on the Netherlands Radio 4, and the recording of this broadcast can be found here: scroll down to ‘Avondconcert’ 20.00-23.00. ‘Refugees Welcome ♥‘ starts at 1:42:38, and the composer introduces the work starting at 1:39:41.
In November 2019, the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet visited the UK to perform the music of Richard Whalley and Kevin Malone, and to record a CD of saxophone quartets by both composers that will be available through Métier recordings. During this trip they gave a concert in the Martin Harris Centre, Manchester on 28 November, in which they premiered Malone’s ‘The Water Protectors’ and performed Whalley’s ‘Iapetus Suture‘, and a concert in the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds, during which they performed Whalley’s ‘Refugees Welcome ♥‘ on 29 November. The CD will be coming our later in 2020 – watch this space!
Here are the performances of Malone and Whalley’s music from the Manchester concert.
On 27th October 2019, Taiwanese composer and pianist Chiu-Yu Chou performed Richard Whalley’s ‘Butterflies‘ in a concert in Forum Music, Taipei, as part of the Taipei International Music Festival. In this concert, four pianist-composers each performed one of their own works alongside a work they had chosen by another composer. Whalley says, “of course I’m honoured that Chiu-Yu Chou has chosen one of my works”, which she played alongside her own work, Fluid Ripples.
Richard Whalley’s time teaching at the ARAM-Poitou Composition Masterclass in summer 2019 included performances of Lachenmann’s Guero (piano solo), Shostakovich’s Piano Trio no. 2 (Eric Robberecht violin, Antoine Payen cello) and the world premiere of ‘Les Adieux‘ for violin and piano, in Église Saint-Pierre-ès-liens, Cissé (Eric Robberecht violin, Richard Whalley piano) on 13th August.
‘Les Adieux’ is the composer’s response to the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union, and is a celebration of the multiculturalism and interconnectedness of the countries of the European Union. Fragments of national anthems are interweaved creating a complex and pulsating polyrhythmic musical landscape. As an example, the extract above shows a variant of the Luxembourg national anthem in the right hand of the piano, the Irish one emerging in the left hand, and a transition from an extended melody into pulsating patterns on the violin. The final note of this piece is to be played con vibrato if the UK is still in the EU, senza vibrato if not. In this performance it was played con vibrato.
Richard Whalley piano recital, 3 April 2019 – includes performance of Kinderszenen and new student works
Pianist and composer Richard Whalley offers a concert of contemporary piano music exploring the full range of colours and resonances of the piano, contrasting different characters of movement with stasis.
The programme includes three new works by postgraduate composers of the University of Manchester specially written for this concert alongside one of his own works, and contrasting works by Judith Weir and Helmut Lachenmann.
Helmut Lachenmann: Ein Kinderspiel
*Delroy Costello: Quietly I hear thee, for lightly doth thy slumber, and so I must forsake thee
Judith Weir: The art of touching the keyboard
Richard Whalley: Kinderszenen
*Maria Palapanidou: The in-between
*Yuhao Wu: Deserts
* = world premiere
This concert takes place at International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester at 7.30pm on 3 April 2019
This amazing performance took place in Manchester on 29th March 2019 in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, Manchester
The Quatuor Danel are premiering ‘Mantle Plume’, my new 30-minute string quartet inspired by Icelandic Geology in the TivoliVredenburg concert hall, Utrecht on 19 January 2019, and giving the UK premiere in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall in Manchester on 29 March 2019.
A soprano with a great reputation for her interpretation of contemporary vocal repertoire, Jessica Summers will be performing Richard Whalley’s Six Songs of Old Japanese Wisdom at St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich on Saturday 17 November 2018, 1pm with pianist Jelena Makarova.
Six Songs of Old Japanese Wisdom are settings of poems by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), one of Japan’s most important haiku poets. Though he lived a life full of tragedy, he found solace in nature and was known for a sympathetic attitude towards small creatures; this comes out very strongly in his poetry.
You skinny frog, you
don’t be beaten, don’t give up!
Here stands Issa by you.
The performance forms part of Summers’ Living Songs project which has since 2013 brought twenty first century into recital programmes alongside more well-known song repertoire, focussing on venues where audiences are less familiar with new music.
Six Songs of Old Japanese Wisdom is available from Composers Edition.
On 18 October 2018, 13.10 – 14.00 Richard Whalley gave a lunchtime piano recital in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester – part of the Walter Carroll lunchtime concert series. The programme was as follows:
Judith Weir ‘The Art of Touching the Keyboard’
John Adams ‘China Gates’
Helmut Lachenmann ‘Guero’
Toru Takemitsu ‘Les Yeux Clos II’
Richard Whalley ‘Kinderszenen‘ (UK premiere)
7 August 2018 in l’Église St. Pierre-ès-liens, Cissé
Mozart – Sonata for Violin and Piano, K.304 with Reine Collet (vn)
9 August 2018 in l’Église Saint-Martin, Blaslay
Richard Whalley ‘Five Preludes‘
Helmut Lachenmann ‘Guero’
Brahms – Horn Trio, Op. 40 – with Reine Collet (vn) and Pierre-Aurélien Faller-Galerneau (hn)
Richard Whalley was delighted to be asked to be the guest composer to teach at the Irish Composition Summer School, Dublin in July 2018. The summer school took place from 4-13 July, during which time participants composed string quartets for the Con Tempo string quartet, and they also received tuition and guidance from Martin O’Leary, Grainne Mulvey and John McLachlan. Anyone interested in future ICSS courses can find links to more information from their page on Facebook.
I’m very grateful to Psappha for including Wonderland (for 7 instrumentalists, 2015) in their programme for their concert on 17 November 2017 (7.30pm) at Psappha St Michaels, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 5DG. This concert is part of the New Music North West Festival. Tickets available here at Psappha’s website.
In this work the fantasy of Lewis Carrroll’s Alice in Wonderland acts as a metaphor for the inner workings of the piece, but ultimately it is written as a kind of ‘musical garden’ in which patterns evolve and order interacts with freedom. The motivation is to celebrate the miracle of nature, and draw attention to mankind’s urgent need to do a better job of looking after it.
The concert also includes works by Mark Anthony Turnage, Brian Elias and Philip Cashian, and will be conducted by Nicholas Kok.
Click here to see a video of this fantastic performance.
Come along to hear the premiere of Refugees Welcome ♥, composed for the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet at the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester on 16th November 2017, as part of the New Music North West Festival.
This work is my response to the political upheavals in the UK and US during 2016, by which I was profoundly shaken. It weaves Arabic modes and West African rhythmic patterns in amongst my own musical materials with the aim of creating a kind of emotional tapestry of sound that celebrates the joy and cultural richness that immigrants can bring to society. It also empathises with the plight of refugees, from numerous parts of the world, whose stories are often so heartbreaking. After all, we are all human. But I take hope from individual acts of generosity – from the anonymous person who painted the graffiti on a cycle path near where I live (from which these piece takes its name), to those in various countries who have accepted refugees into their homes and communities, to organisations like Music Action International that give opportunities for refugees and torture survivors to make music through groups like the incredible Stone Flowers.
I recently performed Beethoven’s charming early piano sonata in E major, Op.14 no.1 in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, Manchester University on Thursday 5th October at 13.10. In the same concert the Quatuor Danel played Beethoven’s arrangement of the very same piece in F major – did Beethoven originally conceive this for string quartet? The Quatuor Danel just happen to be one of the best string quartets in the world – so no pressure on my performance then!
I was delighted to perform the world premiere of my new piano piece, Kinderszenen on 8th August 2017 in l’Eglise Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens at Cissé, in the Poitou region of France. This performance was included in the Concerts en nos Villages series, which runs alongside the ARAM-Poitou Summer Academy in late July / early August, during which I also performed works by Schubert, Beethoven, Fauré, George Crumb and Morton Feldman.
I’ve now uploaded a recording of the premiere onto Soundcloud, which you can listen to.
I was also very happy to be teaching on the Composition Masterclass at ARAM-Poitou alongside Peter Swinnen from 5th-12th August.
John Turner and myself have recently made a new recording of Kokopelli (for recorder and prepared piano). This will be included on a reissue of ‘John and Peter’s Whistling Book’, which will be available through Divine Art / Métier. Watch this space!
Misplaced Time Refound was shortlisted for a BASCA British Composers Award (Solo/Duo category) in 2016. You can hear Gavin Osborn’s performance of it (Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, Manchester, 25 February 2016) here.
I had the great privilege of performing Fauré’s Piano Quintet no. 2 with the Quatuor Danel in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, Manchester on 25 November 2016. What an experience: Fauré is an absolute magician when it comes to harmony and texture.
I am grateful to the pianist Clare Hammond for her exquisitely sensitive performances of Five Preludes in St Briavels church, Gloucestershire on 19th February 2017, and in Dorstone House, Hay-on-Wye (part of the Hay-on-Wye Festival) on 24th July 2016.
I am writing a new string quartet for the Quatuor Danel inspired by Iceland’s incredible geology (which is hyperactive compared to most other places on earth). Can geological processes, such as eruption and effusion of lava, buckling and cracking of rock, erosion by wind, water and ice be represented by music? Can music evoke Iceland’s unique relationship between heat and cold, and the otherworldly atmosphere of its landscape? That is what I am trying to work out at the moment.
From 13-19 July 2016 I visited Iceland, a place I have always been fascinated by, and I walked the Laugavegur trail from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk, including the ascent to Fimmvörduháls, beneath the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (infamous for bringing European air travel to a halt in 2010).
Welcome to the new version of this website, launched in July 2017 and designed by Dan Goren. I hope you find everything you’re looking for, and do please get in touch if you want to know more.