2014’s New Voices are some of the most groundbreaking composers working in the UK today. They represent a huge diversity in approaches to composition: some use pen and paper, others manipulate recorded sound, others are improvising performers.
My name is Martin Scheuregger. I'm one of the New Voices 2014 and I'm curator of this exhibition.
This exhibition is the result of my own exploration of this amazing body of work. I'll pick out just some of my favourite examples of what the New Voices do.
This is just an introduction – explore the New Voices page of the British Music Collection website to find your own favourites!
I'm Embedded Composer-in-Residence at the British Music Collection, a collection that contains over 30,000 scores and recordings of works from the 1960s to the present day.
I'm exploring and engaging with the Collection, and writing music in response to themes that I explore.
The work of the 2014 New Voices will be added to the Collection as it continues to grow and reflect British contemporary music.
The New Voices all go through very different processes to create their music. Aaron Holloway-Nahum is a composer who works principally with notated music. He shares with us his morning composition routine.
The Cave of Sounds is one of the most successful examples of interactive installation I've ever seen. Its elegant simplicity and expert execution drew me to it: this work is inclusive and fun, and most of all sounds great.
Laura Bowler is one of many New Voices who has a hugely varied career and creative output: as well as a composer, she is a conductor, singer and founder of Size Zero Opera.
This diversity is mirrored in her varied but often theatrically-led music.
I've been amazed by the breadth of the New Voice's work. As well as composing, many also perform music, curate events and produce and direct shows.
One of the stand-out contributors is Kate Whitley. She's the co-founder of Multi-Story – which began with a critically acclaimed performance of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in a disused multi-storey car park.
This is imaginative programming at its best.
‘The most exciting development in classical music in decades, if not centuries’ (The Times)
Lee Westwood's collaborative work 'A Hidden Order' is an example of really effective collaboration with a visual artist. The music and visuals are tied together so well, and the whole thing is executed professionally and precisely.
This work is available to see live and online, so do check it out.
New Voices composers are not afraid to push their craft to the limit.
The concept of smashing pianos seems at odds with the creation of music, but Ant Dickinson's attention to sonic detail creates this mesmerising music which blends beautifully with the visuals.
For me, the power of this work comes from the juxtaposition of the concept of destruction and the resulting music.
New Voices composers can be found performing their own music: some consider it an essential part of their craft.
Saxophonist and flautist Julie Kjær has toured nternationally and recorded with Django Bates and his band StoRMChaser, and the Danish big-band “Blood Sweat Drum’n Bass”. She also plays with London Improvisers Orchestra and is a leader of several other English and Danish ensembles.
New Voices work with orchestras, chamber ensembles, soloists and choirs and more from around the UK and abroad.
Jack White struck me as New Voice who has made the most of effective collaboration.
His work with the South Iceland Chamber Choir resulted in his increasingly popular choral work ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ which has further performances planned for throughout 2014.
New Voices work in many different areas, often collaboratively: from theatre, film and dance, to recorded sounds, installations and exhibitions.
Soosan's work first came to my attention when she was commissioned to write for the Royal Festival Hall's restored organ. Her other work shows a great diversity.
Occasionally composers come up with ideas which transcend music. Saskia Moore's 'Dead Symhony' struck me as one of these.
Sound is understood to be the last sense present moments before death. In 'Dead Symphony', Saskia has documented and transcribed the music and sound experiences people have heard when losing or regaining consciousness during a near death experience.
New Voices regularly move on from Sound and Music residencies to new opportunities.
To me, Anton Hunter really shows the professionalism of the New Voices. He has been commissioned by the Manchester Jazz Festival to create an hour-long suite of music for the 2014 festival and has received a lot of positive press attention.
“I love what they’re doing with time … there’s a great sensuality about the way they play.”– Kevin Le Gendre, Jazz on 3
“Signs of real writing talent in guitarist Anton Hunter; his spiky melodic style and heavy riffs reminiscent of John Zorn’s early downtown groups.” – Chris Ackerley, The Sound Of Now
“Funky, punky, angular sax/guitar-led modern jazz from this newly emerging group ... they work through evolving textural washes and noir-ish folk moods through to full on skronk. Well worth a look.” – Time Out
I found the work of Nathaniel Mann fascinating and entertaining in equal measure. He was Embedded for eighteen months at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford where he explored the musical potential of old technology in the form of pigeon whistles.
Nathaniel's work was taken on a UK-wide tour as part of Audible Forces, and Arts Council-funded project featuring seven of the finest UK sound artists.
Some New Voices are associated as much with the art world as the music world, using sound as their medium. Dawn Scarfe manages to unite different media to create works which are more than the sum of their parts.
I've been fortunate to work with some New Voices directly. As a performer I have played Benjamin Gait's music and have commissioned him as Artistic Director of Dark Inventions.
His music is heard across the North of England in the 2014 Firewheel Tour, along with two other New Voice composers.
Ben gives freedom to his players in different ways. They are encouraged to make their own decisions in his scores, which invariably have an element of freedom and choice.This is true chamber music and is engaging to perform
New Voices composers take on a lot of challenges and produce world-class music as a result. In this selection of artists you will have seen some of the major composers of the future and the most exciting composers of the present.
Scroll through the complete list of 2014 New Voices
Dominic Robertson (aka Ergo Phizmiz)
Curator — Martin Scheuregger
With grateful thanks to — Ralph Vaughn Williams Trust and the University of Huddersfield