London – September 2015
The BBC Singers, conducted by James Morgan, performed pieces by 9 different European composers: Lasse Thoresen (Norway), Jonathan Dove (UK), Andrej Makor (Slovenia), Mikko Heiniö (Finland), Miłosz Bembinow (Poland), Bjørn Bolstad Skjelbred (Norway), Cecilia McDowall (UK), Crt Sojar Voglar (Slovenia), Perttu Haapanen (Finland).
The BBC Singers hold a unique position in British musical life. Performing everything from Byrd to Birtwistle, Tallis to Takemitsu, they are second to none in their versatility. The choir’s unrivalled expertise in performing the best of contemporary music has brought about creative relationships with some of the most important composers and conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Poulenc, Britten, Judith Bingham and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Based at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, the BBC Singers also give regular free concerts at St Paul’s Knightsbridge, as well as regularly appearing at major festivals across the UK and beyond.
This world-class ensemble is committed to sharing its enthusiasm and creative expertise through its nationwide outreach programme. This includes frequent collaborations with schoolchildren, youth choirs and the amateur choral community, as well as with the professional composers, singers and conductors of tomorrow.
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BBC SINGERS - LONDON, 30TH SEPTEMBER 2015
Lasse Thoresen, born in 1949, is a professor of composition at the Norwegian State Academy of Music, where he has taught composition, electro-acoustic music and sonology since 1975. He received a graduate degree in composition in 1972 from the Oslo Music Conservatory, where he studied under Finn Mortensen. Subsequently he studied electro-acoustic music and composition under Werner Kaegi at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht.
From 1978 to 1981 he conducted a postgraduate research project in sonology with support from the Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities. Between 1988 and 2000 he was the Principal Chair of Composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.
A number of his works have achieved wide recognition both in Norway and internationally. He has received a number of important awards, including the Norwegian Society of Composers’ Work of the Year award and the Music Critics’ Award.
Born in 1959, Jonathan Dove studied composition with Robin Holloway at Cambridge and, after graduation, worked as a freelance accompanist, repetiteur, animateur and arranger. His opera Flight was commissioned by Glyndebourne in 1998 and he has since written more than 20 operatic works. In 2010 A Song of Joys for chorus and orchestra opened the Last Night of the Proms.
He is also committed to community development through innovative musical projects. His 2012 opera Life is a Dream was performed by professionals and community choruses in a disused Birmingham warehouse and a church opera involving community singers, The Walk from the Garden, was premiered at Salisbury Cathedral. This year has seen the world premiere of The Monster in the Maze, a community opera commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic and Festival d’Aix-en Provence, performed under Sir Simon Rattle in three separate productions.
Andrej Makor, born in 1987, is from Zgornje Škofije near Koper. He has been awarded many prizes and is currently a third-year composition student with Jani Golob at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana.
He was mentored by and continues to work with Ambrož Čopi and his compositions have been published in several collections. He works with several choirs and ensembles, including the APZ Tone Tomši∂ (last season he became assistant conductor of the choir), APZ University of Primorska, Mixed Choir Obala Koper and the Children Choir Nazarje. His compositions have also been performed at numerous competitions, festivals and seminars both in Slovenia and abroad.
Mikko Heiniö, born in 1948, studied composition with Joonas Kokkonen in Finland and Witold Szalonek in Berlin and gained his composition diploma from the Sibelius Academy in 1977. He also studied musicology and in 1984 earned a doctorate in the subject from the University of Helsinki, where he worked as an assistant between 1977 and 1985.
His oeuvre includes nine piano concertos, the orchestral song-cycle Vuelo de alambre (1983), the symphonies Possible Worlds (1987), Songs of the Night and Love (1997) and Wind Pictures for choir and orchestra (1991).
He has composed three operas and is the author of several books and nearly 200 articles. He specialises in new Finnish music, a subject in which he has written works focusing on the history of ideas (including his doctoral dissertation ‘The Idea of Innovation and Tradition’) and the history of composition.
Miłosz Bembinow was born in 1978 in Warsaw. He studied composition with Stanisπaw Moryto and conducting with Antoni Wit at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, where he now works as an Assistant Professor. In 2012 he obtained his PhD in composition.
He worked as a Guest Professor in composition at Keimyung University in South Korea in 2007–8 and is the recipient of the Polish Minister of Culture’s ‘Young Poland’ Scholarship .
Miłosz Bembinow’s artistic output covers not only solo, chamber, choir, orchestral and oratorical pieces but also popular and film music. His music has been performed worldwide and broadcast across various radio and stations. Bembinow has released over 30 CD’s of which some were awarded the “Fryderyk” award which was granted by the Polish Phonographic Academy.
Bjørn Bolstad Skjelbred, born in 1970, is active as a composer, arranger, improviser and teacher, with experience from several genres and musical environments.
He completed a master’s degree in composition at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in 2006 with composers Asbjørn Schaathun and Bjørn H. Kruse as his tutors. He has also taken private lessons with Italian composer Luca Francesconi.
He has written over 60 compositions, which include music for other arts and young musicians. His music has been performed across European countries, the Nordic countries, Canada and the USA. Many of his works are the result of collaborations with musicians, ensembles and artists.
Cecilia McDowall, born in London in 1951, has won many awards and has been short-listed seven times for the British Composer Awards. She won the British Composer Award for choral music last year.
Her music has been commissioned and performed by leading choirs, including the BBC Singers, ensembles and at major festivals both in Britain and abroad and has been broadcast on BBC Radio and worldwide.
She is currently composer-in-residence at Dulwich College, London. In 2013 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Portsmouth.
Črt Sojar Voglar’s, born in 1976, started his music education in piano and music theory. He continued his studies at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana with Marko Mihevc and graduated in September 2000.
He has written 200 compositions for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments and choirs, as well as film and dance music and arrangements in different genres.
His works are premiered and frequently performed at all prominent concerts and festivals in Slovenia and in numerous foreign countries, particularly the USA. In the autumn of 2003 he released his first CD Illuminatio, a second disc, Contrasts in Colour was released by the Society of Slovene Composers.
Perttu Haapanen studied composition at the Sibelius Academy from 1994 to 2002 with Erkki Jokinen and Paavo Heininen. He took composition masterclasses with Jouni Kaipainen, Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Jonathan Harvey and Michael Jarrell. He also studied electronic music at IRCAM in Paris in 2004.
Since then, he has had his works performed in several concert series and festivals in Asis, Europe and the USA, including Musica Nova Helsinki, Wien Modern, Ultraschall, MaerzMusik, Warsaw Autumn, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Baltic Sea Festival, Nordic Music Days and the ISCM Festival.
He was Artistic Director of the Time of Music Festival (Viitasaari) from 2009 to 2013.
James Morgan studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, before joining English National Opera as Assistant Chorus Master in 1994 and remaining there until 1998. He has also conducted opera for Glyndebourne, English Touring Opera and Raymond Gubbay. A versatile musician, he combines careers as a conductor, record producer and one half of the composing partnership Morgan Pochin.
He has conducted and recorded with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Royal and London Philharmonic orchestras, Philharmonia and the City of London Sinfonia and conducted the London Chamber Orchestra at the 2012 Classic Brit Awards. He works regularly with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and City of Prague Philharmonic and has appeared as a guest conductor with the Copenhagen and West Kazakhstan Philharmonic orchestras and the Odense and Flanders Symphony orchestras. His wide-ranging repertoire encompasses Renaissance polyphony, new music and pop music, with artists as varied as Andrea Bocelli, Jamie Cullum, Rick Astley, Katie Melua and the BBC Singers, for whom he is a regular guest conductor.
Production and writing credits with Morgan Pochin include best-selling albums for Alfie Boe, Katherine Jenkins and Joe McElderry, while film credits include First Night with Richard E. Grant and Sarah Brightman, Quartet, starring Dame Maggie Smith and the Emmy Award-nominated Ridley Scott production Killing Jesus. A new orchestral piece for children, The Great Enormo, written in collaboration with the former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen, was premiered at the Brighton Festival in 2013, with further performances at the Royal Festival Hall and by the CIty of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.