Eighty years ago, in 1941, American marine biologist Rachel Carson (1907-1964) published the first book in what grew to become her Sea Trilogy. Struck by Carson's distinctive voice, which endures as a beautifully poetic yet urgent clarion call in defence of the natural world, I launched 'The Carson Commissions', a two-year project that attempts for the first time a thematic approach to commissioning that integrates an area of personal interest — environmentalism — with my public music-making. I have commissioned four composers to write new pieces that respond to the work of Rachel Carson. The four pieces are not designed to be performed as a set, but rather will feed into a variety of different programmes. The aim is to create a body of new work that refreshes our love of the natural world and celebrates one of its greatest champions.




Lara Agar This Unquiet Autumn for soprano and piano (2021; 11')

Laurence Crane Natural World for soprano and piano (2021; 50')


Nwando Ebizie I Birth the Moon for voice and electronics (2022; 11')

Newton Armstrong The Book of the Sediments for voice and electronics (2022; 20')



25 September 2021: Musica Sacra, Maastricht

13 October 2021: Oxford Lieder Festival

22 November 2021: Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (Crane only)

3 December 2021: Music We'd Like To Hear, London

18 April 2023: De Link, Tilburg

21 April 2023: New Music Dublin



11 October 2022: City, University of London

12 November 2022: Bernaola series, Vitoria

26 November 2022: Rainy Days festival, Luxembourg

9 March 2023: Musica nova festival, Helsinki

21 June 2023: Aldeburgh Festival, Suffolk (Armstrong only)



Laurence Crane Natural World released on Another Timbre

Lara Agar This Unquiet Autumn released on YouTube

Nwando Ebizie I birth the moon released on YouTube

Newton Armstrong The Book of the Sediments released on all that dust



The Carson Commissions have been generously supported by Arts Council England's National Lottery Project Grants, PRS Foundation's The Open Fund for Music Creators and the RVW Trust. Co-commission partners include Musica Sacra Maastricht and Oxford Lieder Festival (Crane) and Juliet Fraser (Agar). The project is also supported by Canongate, publishers of a new edition of Rachel Carson's ‘Sea Trilogy’. 

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