sat 28/05/2022

First Person

First Person: Christina McMaster - seeking musical cures for modern malaise

In 2020, during a gentle easing of lockdown restrictions, I was asked to play for the Culture Clinic sessions at Kings Place, a creative initiative where small groups of up to six people could book a ticket for a private, personally tailored...

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'How that music was created remains to me a complete mystery': John Tomlinson on fellow Lancastrian Harrison Birtwistle

It has been a difficult couple of years for us in the world of opera, losing several of our most respected and admired colleagues who have inspired us over several decades. The names of Harry Kupfer, Graham Vick, Bernard Haitink come immediately to...

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'An invitation to stillness and reflection': saxophonist and composer Christian Forshaw on collaborating with top choir Tenebrae

The idea of recording an album with Tenebrae has been bubbling away for a number of years. Nigel Short and I first worked together in 2007 when I asked him to direct the vocal consort for a UK tour I was doing with my own group. Since then we have...

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First Person: playwright Naomi Wallace on finally hearing her work performed in English

The Breach is a coming of age story and an age-in-the-making story. The play takes place in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1990s, switching back and forth between teenagers in Louisville and their older selves 15 years later. The promise of the...

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First Person: composer Michael Price on responding to Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto

There are lots of ways that we respond to great works of art – intellectually and emotionally, then visually, aurally and even by taste and smell, depending on the art in question. I have a habit of screwing my eyes tight shut and bringing to mind a...

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First Person: playwright Chinonyerem Odimba on birthing her potent and timely new show

People often ask how long a play takes to make its way out of you. And it’s always a valid question because no matter how beautiful, soft, joyful, or short a play is, there is a wrestling match that takes place between the idea lodging itself...

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First Person: composer Mason Bates on the powers and perils of musical storytelling

What do Beethoven and Pink Floyd have in common?Narrative – ingeniously animated by music.From the Ninth Symphony to The Wall, narrative music has brought a new dimension to the forms and genres it has touched.Musical storytelling is on my mind this...

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First Person: Tim Walker on crossing over from critic to playwright

The divide between theatre critics and the theatrical profession has always been a chasm, but occasionally a wire has been thrown between the two and plucky or foolhardy individuals have attempted to traverse it. A three-times-unsuccessful applicant...

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‘Let me be your main course’: composer Jimmy López on why new music needs time and space

No, not your aperitif – and certainly not your digestif; your bona fide main dish, the one your audience yearns for, dresses up for, and looks forward to.It’s 2022; time for arts leaders to show the way into the future and to not underestimate the...

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First Person: young composer Nicola Perikhanyan on a new immersive reality experience at London Wall

There's something really moving about standing in the centre of London Wall's Roman ruins and looking up at the city that has grown around it. Thinking about our past, present and future simultaneously. More than 2000 years have passed since the...

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First Person: composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad on a musical love letter to the natural world

 In the darkness my dreams are interruptedI see the blackbird in my mind and the whirring of my brain beginsScenes from the Wild begins at dawn on a spring day, at that moment between sleep and wakefulness where dreams and reality are...

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First Person: composer Conor Mitchell on challenging religious orthodoxy from a queer perspective in MASS

A mass, in its simplest form, is the order of prayers that are said in a religious service. It is standardised and has been for centuries, in order to create a theatrical journey that takes us through a service. Composers have always been drawn to...

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