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Aesop 9’
For flute, clarinet (Bb)/bass clarinet, trombone, two percussionists, solo soprano recorder, violin, viola, and cello

Written for the London Symphony Orchestra’s Soundhub scheme, premiered on the 9th of February 2019 by Tabea Debus and the LSO Ensemble, conducted by Darren Bloom.

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photo by Dimitri Djuric
Aesop (c.620-c.564 BCE) was a storyteller and former slave active in Ancient Greece. He is most well known for Aesop’s Fables, though it is unclear whether these moralistic stories were actually written by him or not. In this piece, the solo recorder takes the role of a storyteller or teacher, while the ensemble represent a gathering of listeners. Aesop is the third in a series of pieces written for recorder player Tabea Debus, following In Feyre Foreste (2016) and Twenty One Minute Pieces (2018).

Three Littul Pieces 5’
For amateur recorder consort: soprano, alto, tenor 1, tenor 2, bass

Commissioned by Manfred Harras.

Premiered at the Waldhof Akademie Für Weiterbildung, 18.04.19, Freiburg

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Kalimotxo 6’
For clarinet (Bb), harp, and double bass

Commissioned by The Hermes Experiment.

27.11.19 - Belmont Film House, Aberdeen
(6th performance)

26.11.19 - Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh
(5th performance)

25.11.19 - The Hug and Pint, Glasgow
(4th performance)

04.10.19 - Barber Institute, Birmingham
(3rd performance)

07.03.19 - Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
(2nd performance)

28.02.19 - Aylesbury Lunchtime Music

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Kalimotxo is an alcoholic drink popular in Spain, particularly in the Basque region, consisting of equal parts red wine and cola. This mixture of the ancient and traditional with the sugary and modern is comparable to the sardana, a genre of Catalonian wind band music that accompanies circle-dances, and which juxtaposes potent and ancient sounding Catalan shawms with unabashedly schmaltzy light-music harmonies. Every piece of sardana music begins with the same quasi-improvisatory introduction known as the ‘introit’, which is played on the flabiol, a very high pitched instrument similar to a recorder or tin whistle, and in my piece this is transformed into a melodic gesture that is heard at the beginning and constantly throughout the work.

Morfydd 6’
For clarinet (Bb), horn, bassoon, two violins, viola, cello, and double bass

Written for the Berkeley Ensemble for the PRS Accelerate scheme.

The Chimera Ensemble (3rd performance)
University of York
The Berkeley Ensemble (2nd performance)
St David’s Hall, Cardiff
The Berkeley Ensemble (WP)
St. James Piccadilly, London

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Morfydd Llwyn Owen (1891-1918) was a Welsh composer. After studying piano and composition in Cardiff, she attended the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she won multiple prizes. She died of chloroform poisoning at the age of 26, following an operation to treat an acute appendicitis. During her short life she wrote around 250 pieces, including works for orchestra, choir, solo piano and chamber music.

This piece is based entirely upon her 1914 song for voice and piano, The Lamb , which sets the well known poem of the same name by William Blake.

For string quartet

Written for the Ligeti Quartet for their scheme at the University of Sheffield.

Ophelia Quartet (second performance)
West Cork Chamber Music Festival
Ophelia Quartet (WP)
West Cork Chamber Music Festival
Ligeti Quartet (public recording session)
Firth Hall, University of Sheffield

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Samoyeds are a breed of large herding dogs with thick white fur coats. They were bred by the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia to herd reindeer, and generally have a friendly disposition. They are a basal breed whose fur can be used for knitting, and they are prone to howling together when in groups.

Twenty One Minute Pieces 20’
For sopranino/soprano(x2)/alto/tenor recorder, flute/bass flute, Eb/bass/contrabass clarinet, and percussion 

Written for the London Symphony Orchestra’s Soundhub scheme, first performed on the 14th of July 2018 by Tabea Debus (recorder), Carla Rees (flute), Heather Roche (clarinet), and Paul Stoneman (percussion), at LSO St Lukes.

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Twenty One Minute Pieces is a variety performance for four musicians, in which a number of largely disconnected and disparate musical episodes are presented to the audience in various space and in many different styles. It contains music that may be familiar to some listeners, and music which may not be, and a number of the pieces contained within the work are influenced partially or entirely by existing pieces and musicians from the past and present.

Zehner 5’
For youth chamber orchestra ( - - timp - strings)

Written for Holly Mathieson and the Sage Gateshead’s Young Sinfonia, commissioned by the Sage Gateshead with support from PRSF. Premiered on the 9th of June 2018.

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Fegal is Fuming! 10’
Music for an under 5s concert, for clarinet (Bb/A), trombone, percussion, violin, double bass, presenter, and projections

Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, written in collaboration with Vanessa King, based on the book by Robert Starling.

LSO Chamber Ensemble, Vanessa King
LSO St Lukes, London
18.11.18 - afternoon (4th performance)
18.11.18 - morning (3rd performance)
16.11.18 - afternoon (2nd performance)
16.11.18 - morning (WP)
LSO Chamber Ensemble, Vanessa King
National Concert Hall, Dublin
15.06.19 - afternoon (6th performance)
15.06.19 - morning (5th performance)

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Zorthern  11’ 
For oboe/cor anglais, trumpet (Bb), horn, percussion, accordion (solo), and two violins

Written for Luke Carver Goss (accordion) and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, performed at the Sage Gateshead and released on NMC Recordings in January 2018, as part of Sound and Music's Next Wave 2 scheme.

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Zorthern is a piece where elements of folk music and classical music are placed alongside one another. Though each of the four countryside musics that make up the piece are imaginary, the piece uses material from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, as well as the
traditional English ballad Scarborough Fair. Zorthern is a made-up word, and is pronounced like ‘northern’ but with a Z.

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Verlernt  7’ 
For flute, clarinet (Bb), piano, violin, and cello

First performed on the 13th of September 2017 by Michael Alampi (flute), James Gilbert (clarinet), Thomas Ang (piano), Andrew Xu (violin), and Sarah Gait (cello), at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Selected for the Hebrides Ensemble’s 2017 composition seminar, conducted by Will Conway.

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Verlernt c onsists of tributes to two composers. The first, Dmitri Smirnov, was my teacher between 2014 and 2015. The second movement is a tribute to Anton Webern, Smirnov’s ‘grand-teacher’ and my ‘great-grand-teacher’. The pieces use musical cryptograms on each of their names as material.

Five Inventions on 1936  9’
For solo piano

First performed by Hyun-Jeong Hwang on the 9th of October 2017, at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

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Five Inventions is a piece closely related to 1936: an East London Uprising, which was commissioned in 2016 by East London Music Group to commemorate the 80th anniversary of The Battle of Cable Street. However, rather than trying to tell a linear story as the earlier work did, this piece uses various songs and chants reportedly heard at The Battle as material to work with. These are ‘Solidarity Forever’ (movements 1, 2, 3, and 5), ‘The Internationale’ (movements 1 and 3), and ‘One, two, three four five, we want Mosley dead or alive’ (movement 4).

Three D.H. Lawrence Songs 5’
for high voice and piano

1. When the Wind Blows Her Veil
2. Humming-bird
3. Butterfly

Jessica Summers (soprano) and Jelena Makarova (piano)
St Martin-within-Ludgate, London, 1.05pm

Jessica Summers (soprano) and Jelena Makarova (piano)
Antonin Artaud Building, Brunel University, London
Jessica Summers (soprano) and Jelena Makarova (piano) (WP)
All Saints Church, Hove

23.06.17 (Humming-bird only)
Alexa Rosenberg (mezzo-soprano) and Shawn Chang (piano) (WP)
National Opera Center, New York
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In Feyre Foreste  7’
For sopranino recorder (solo), two alto recorders (both doubling soprano recorders), and two tenor recorders (both also doubling soprano recorders)

First performed on the 24th of January 2017 by Tabea Debus (solo), Olwen Foulkes, Kristina Greally, Oscar Gormley, and Katherine Jones at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Winner at the 2017 British Composer Awards in the Small Chamber category.

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The title of In Feyre Foreste is taken from the first line of the 15th century ballad “Robin Hode and the Munke” (Robin Hood and the Monk):

In somer, when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and long,
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
To here the foulys song

The piece takes inspiration from this text, as well as from the aria “Hush, ye pretty warbling quire” from Handel’s “Acis and Galatea”, and from an extremely out of tune calliope that I heard being played from atop America’s oldest operating steamboat, the “Belle of Louisville”.

1936  20’
For two narrators and large ensemble ( - - perc.pno -

Commissioned by East London Music Group.
Text compiled by Joseph Hardy.

Uncharted Lines, cond. Matthew Hardy (2nd performance)
Royal College of Music, London
East London Music Group, cond. Matthew Hardy (WP)
People’s Palace Hall, Queen Mary University of London

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1936 tells the story of “The Battle of Cable Street”, a particularly turbulent episode in the history of East London. On October 4th of the titular year, a uniformed march through the East End was planned by Oswald Mosely, leader of the British Union of Fascists. In opposition were thousands of anti-fascists, who took to the streets to prevent the march from taking place. There was, however, never any real confrontation between the fascists and their opponents; an army of police prevented the two groups from ever clashing. However, those opposing Mosely ultimately prevented him from completing his march, in what is generally regarded as a historic victory against fascism. This piece of music was written for the occasion of the battle’s eightieth anniversary, but should not be seen as an attempt to cement the event into the distant past; the issues and tensions involved are just as pressing today as they were then.

Limoncello 3’
For solo cello

First performed by Lydia Hillerudh in a masterclass given by Magnus Lindberg and Anssi Karttunen at the Royal Academy of Music on the 17th of November, 2016. Performed by Richard Harwood at Clifford Chance on the 23rd of April, 2018.

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Three Littul Ayres 3’
For high voice and ten-course lute

First performed by Elizabeth Kenny (lute) and Nicholas Mulroy (tenor) at the National Centre for Early Music in York on the 12th of May 2016.

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The Man Who Woke Up  30’
Opera for four singers*, optional chorus, and six players (clarinet in Bb, horn in F, piano, violin, viola, cello) (2018 revision)
*The Man (baritone), Owner (countertenor), Woman (soprano), Whiskers (soprano or mezzo)

Thompson Street Opera Company, cond. Alex Enyart (2018 revision)
Athenaenum Theatre, Chicago
07.04.19 (8th performance)
06.04.19 (7th performance)
05.04.19 (6th performance)
04.04.19 (5th performance)
Thompson Street Opera Company, cond. Alex Enyart (2016 version)
St. John NuLu Theatre, Louisville
29.05.16 (4th performance)
28.05.16 (3rd performance)
27.05.16 (2nd performance)

Goldsmiths Chamber Orchestra, cond. Jules Cavalié (original version with orchestra)
Deptford Town Hall, London
16.05.15 (WP)

The libretto was written by the composer.

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“The Man Who Woke Up is possibly the funniest opera this side of Gilbert & Sullivan”
“This irreverent gem [is] lean, economical, and utterly lacking in pomposity”
“Not to be missed”  -

“a highly successful thirty-minutes of provocative entertainment”
“this is one irreverent, dark comedy”  -
Chicago Theatre Review

 “Vibrant, witty orchestration keeps the farce on its toes“ - Chicago Classical Review