British Guitar Music premières Kings Place 30 October 2015

Tom Kerstens with Joby Talbot

INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FOUNDATION (IGF) continues its long-standing project of commissioning and performing new works for guitar solo and in chamber ensemble, with the première of Spook  by Anna Meredith (b. 1978) and Six Songs for Solo Guitar by Howard Skempton (b. 1947), played by Tom Kerstens and the G Plus Ensemble: the guitarist Adam Brown, the percussionist Karen Hutt and the Ligeti Quartet with Mandhira de Saram (violin), Patrick Dawkins (violin), Richard Jones (viola) and Valerie Welbanks (cello) at Kings Place, London on Friday 30 October 2015.

Howard Skempton is an English composer, pianist and accordionist. His compositional style is noted for its economy of means and focus on melody. As James Weeks (The Guardian) writes: ‘With compositions that cloak their complex beauty under a veneer of simplicity, Howard Skempton performs magic with music.’

Anna Meredith is a Scottish composer and a performer of electronic and acoustic music. The choice of title Spook is quite seasonal for a première so close to Halloween and with her reputation: ‘Anna Meredith: daring, challenging – and a recipe for chaos’ (Ivan Hewitt, in The Daily Telegraph), she will be pushing the boundaries of writing for classical guitar.

The International Guitar Festival (IGF) was established in 1993 and apart from its many other activities of organising guitar festivals in Britain and promoting young artists through its Young Artist Platform, the commissioning of new works for the guitar has been one of its main objectives. There are over 80 works now in the List of Commissions. Tom Kerstens, Artistic Director, IGF, explains:

I am trying to help build a high quality body of repertoire, written by some of the best composers of the day, which will begin to give the guitar a place at the heart of classical and contemporary music. I have been able to commission some leading established composers, but I also targeted talented young UK composers such as Joby Talbot, Errollyn Wallen, Philip Cashian, John Metcalfe, Gabriel Jackson, Graham Fitkin. I have been working with some of them for over 10 years now. Most commissions have been from composers whose work I admire and, in most cases, who have not written for the guitar before. In fact, I regard it as an advantage because there is a greater chance of coming up with something that is really original. Of course, there are some exceptions to my policy of commissioning non-guitarist composers: Sérgio Assad and Paulo Bellinati are both outstanding guitarists and composers.

The concert programme of Tom Kerstens and the G Plus Ensemble at Kings Place is completely dedicated to those IGF Commissions and includes:

For SOLO GUITARGuitar Prelude (2007) by Laurence Crane (b. 1959); Air and Variation (2007) by Michael Parsons (b. 1938); the première of Six Songs for Guitar (2015) by Howard SkemptonGuitar Music (2009) by Joe Cutler (b. 1968); and Fantasy with Anniversary Chorale (2013) by Gabriel Jackson (b. 1962).

with the G PLUS ENSEMBLEUtopia (2006); Dead Space (2006); and Polarisation (2007) by Joby Talbot (b. 1971); the première of Spook (2015) by Anna Meredith (b. 1978); Close StaticOuter CoreHeather; and Gorse (2009–2011) by John Metcalfe (b. 1964); and Take these broken wings (2008) by Max Richer (b. 1966).

TOM KERSTENS, ADAM BROWN, KAREN HUTT (percussion) and the LIGETI QUARTET will be performing on

Friday 30 October 2015,

Hall One, Kings Place, London, 7.30pm. Tickets.

This concert is part of the IGF’s London Guitar Festival 2015 at Kings Place, for more details.

For more more details on the IGF, see my recent interview of Tom Kerstens, ‘Fearlessly Toward the Mainstream’, published in Classical Guitar magazine, No. 377, Spring 2015.

© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2015

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