‘The Carson Commissions’ is 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 new original pieces of music that respond to the work of marine biologist, ecologist and writer Rachel Carson (1907-1964), whose ‘Sea Trilogy’ remains a poetic yet urgent clarion call for our times. The four commissions will never 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.
The Carson Commissions
Lara Agar: song for soprano and piano (with Mark Knoop)
(8-10 mins, for 2021-22)
Laurence Crane: cycle for soprano and piano (with Mark Knoop)
(30-40 mins, for 2021-22)
Nwando Ebizie: work for voice and electronics
(10-12 mins, for 2022-23)
Newton Armstrong: work for voice and electronics
(20-25 mins, for 2022-23)
The Carson Commissions will be woven through my activity in the next two seasons. The new works by Lara Agar and Laurence Crane will be premiered at Musica Sacra, Maastricht in September 2021 and then travel to the Oxford Lieder Festival and the Music We’d Like to Hear series in London. Performances of the new works by Nwando Ebizie and Newton Armstrong in the 2022-23 season are planned at City University’s Concert Series, The Exchange in Penzance and several European festivals. Additionally, all four works will be recorded for commercial release on YouTube and/or CD.
This project has been generously supported by Arts Council England's National Lottery Project Grants, PRS Foundation's The Open Fund and the RVW Trust, with co-commission partners Oxford Lieder Festival and Musica Sacra, Maastricht.