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Thea Musgrave's music is published by Novello & Co. and Chester Music.

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Thomas LeBrocq
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Email: Thomas.LeBrocq@musicsales.co.uk

           

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News

Thea Musgrave receives Royal Society of Edinburgh Royal Medal 2018


Thomas Le Brocq

On August 8, in front of a packed audience at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, Thea Musgrave was presented with a Royal Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Dr Thea Musgrave CBE has been granted the distinction ‘for her outstanding contribution to the betterment of humankind through music.’

The Medals were instituted by Her Majesty The Queen in the year 2000. They are awarded annually, to individuals who have achieved distinction and are of international repute in any of the following categories: Life Sciences; Physical, Engineering and Informatic Sciences; Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Business, Public Service and Public Engagement. Candidates for the Royal Medals need not be RSE Fellows and should, preferably, have a Scottish connection, irrespective of place of domicile. Previous recipients include Dr Donald Runnicles OBE and Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws QC. 

Established in 1783 the RSE is an educational charity, registered in Scotland, operating on an independent and non-party-political basis, providing public benefit throughout the country in a range of disciplines.

Listen Online: BBC Radio 3 Portrait Concert

Thomas Le Brocq

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's celebration of Thea Musgrave's 90th-birthday year is now available to listen to on the BBC Radio iPlayer. The concert was recorded at the Glasgow City Halls on June 15 and was broadcast on June 29. Two's Company, Phoenix Rising, and several other works were conducted by Jac van Steen. The program features an interview between Thea and Jamie McDougall, further selections of the composer's music, plus the presentation of an honorary Doctorate given to Musgrave by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Musgrave: Song of the Enchanter
Copland: Short Symphony (Symphony No 2)
Musgrave: Two's Company
Musgrave: The Cherry Tree*
Musgrave: Monologue*
Musgrave: 'Loneliness' from Night Windows*
Rodney Bennett: Celebration
Musgrave: Memento Vitae - Concerto in Homage to Beethoven
Musgrave: Phoenix Rising
Musgrave: Sunrise with Sea Monsters from Turbulent Landscapes*

Duration: 2 hrs approx. * CD broadcasts. 

Thea Musgrave Receives The Queen's Medal for Music

Thomas Le Brocq

The composer Thea Musgrave CBE has been awarded The Queen's Medal for Music 2017. The award was presented to Ms Musgrave by The Queen in an audience at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, 7 June 2018.

She becomes the thirteenth recipient of the award, following Nicola Benedetti, who received the medal last year. Established in 2005 by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the award is presented annually to an outstanding individual or group of musicians who have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.

The nominating process for the award is overseen by a committee under the chairmanship of the Master of The Queen's Music, Judith Weir. The committee's recommendation is then submitted to The Queen for approval.

Commenting on the award, Judith Weir said:

Scottish-born composer Thea Musgrave has been a musical pioneer for many decades. With innovative use of space, sound and colour, her work has made rich contributions to numerous genres, including opera and orchestral music. Now aged 90 and resident in New York, she is still energetically at work, a warm-spirited, optimistic inspiration to her many listeners, performers and colleagues around the world.

On receiving the award, Ms Musgrave said:

Although much of my career has been on an international stage, this medal represents my British heritage. It also recognises the impact my Scottish roots have had on my music - which continue to inform and nourish my work and anchor my role in the world.

James Rushton, Managing Director of Novello & Co Ltd. says:

It is a delight and a joy to see Thea Musgrave receiving accolades at the highest level so long deserved. Thea remains trenchant in her passion, enthusiasm and appetite not only for continuing her own unique work as a composer, but also for the importance of access for all to the work of others in the great tradition of classical music, both past and present. A lesson for us all.

 Photo: Thomas Le Brocq

Photo: Thomas Le Brocq

Thea Musgrave wins The Ivors Classical Music Award

Thomas Le Brocq

On May 31 at the 63rd Ivor Novello Awards held at Grosvenor House, London, the Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave was presented with The Ivors Classical Music Award, in recognition of her outstanding body of work in the classical genre.

The award coincides with Musgrave’s ninetieth birthday (May 27), which is being celebrated throughout 2018 at a host of events. 

Thea Musgrave, upon receiving the award, said: 

Music! Whether one dances for joy or laments for loss, we are able to communicate our truest human nature to others through music even as we experience it to the fullest for ourselves. Music is basic to the human spirit. 

Those of us who work in the arts have the sacred mission to sustain a legacy which confirms the common bond of all human life even as we do it through our own unique cultural, temporal, ethnic, and individual voices. The fact that those voices — of the Ancient Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Chinese, Africans — are still heard today attests to both the importance and tenacity of artistic communication.

Closer to our own time, the fact that Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Wagner, Stravinsky and Britten are still top of the charts even after all of these years, confirms the power of classical music. That is the mission I am proud to be part of. And I believe that is the true meaning of the life and legacy of Ivor Novello. I am enormously proud to now be part of that legacy.

Now I would like to thank some people.  There are just too many to be able to mention them all... but I want to mention a few.

Composers cannot exist on their own, because obviously above all we need performers. So, as a representative of all those fabulous performers, a big thank you to Nicholas Daniel. Apart from his quite extraordinary gift as a performer he has just begun something which I think is incredibly important: he has called it ‘Every Child a Musician’. He wants to bring musical instruments into schools so indeed every child would have the opportunity to make music a meaningful part of their lives.

So, thank you performers. And that includes conductors, as well as stage directors, set designers and so on.

I must also thank my publishers.  They have to put up with me being very old fashioned....you see, I decided in the 90s that I was just too old to learn about Sibelius. By Sibelius I mean the way that music can be inputted into a computer rather than the old fashioned engraved.  So publishers, thank you for your patience.

Finally one other thing:  it is very difficult for a young composer to get good practical experience of writing for an orchestra. So I want to thank the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. When I was just starting out they performed several of my very early orchestral works, some under the baton of Colin Davis who was the assistant conductor at that time… he was just starting out on his great career.

So again, thank you for this award. It is indeed a great honour.

The Ivor Novello Awards are the UK’s pinnacle recognition of song writing achievement, celebrating composers of all genres of music. Created by BASCA in 1956, The Ivors have been sponsored by PRS for Music since 1974. Previous recipients of The Ivors Classical Music Award include: Richard Rodney Bennett (2004), John Tavener (2005), Harrison Birtwistle (2006), Jonathan Dove (2008), James MacMillan (2009), Peter Maxwell Davies (2010), Michael Nyman (2011), Errollyn Wallen (2013), John McCabe (2014) and Judith Weir (2015).

Leicester International Music Festival Featured Composer: Thea Musgrave

Thomas Le Brocq

The Leicester International Music Festival has announced Thea Musgrave as its featured composer, honouring the composer’s ninetieth birthday. The festival, which runs from September 20-22, will feature selections of Musgrave’s chamber music in five concerts. The inclusion of Musgrave’s music fits into the weekend’s larger focus on music by composers who moved to the United Sates during their careers, composers including Dvořák, Martinu, Rachmaninov and Bartok.

Festival Director Nicholas Daniels will perform the complete chamber works for oboe across the weekend: Night Windows, Niobe, Cantelina for Oboe Quartet, and Dawn in the Event 4 which opens with an eclectic group of Musgrave miniatures. Daniels has said of Musgrave’s work that it ‘shows her absolute mastery and total professionalism’ and ‘when you play a piece of Thea’s it’s almost impossible to believe that she doesn’t play the instrument herself, so fluid and natural is her instrumental and vocal understanding and her complete professionalism.’

The festival welcomes an impressive line-up of soloists and chamber musicians: Marina Chiche (violin), Giovanni Guzzo (violin), Richard O’Neil (viola), Ani Aznavoorian (cello), Katya Apekisheva (piano), Nino Gvetadze (piano) as well as Leonard Elschenbroich (cello) and Double Bassist and Chineke! Founder Chi-Chi Nwanoku. ­The festival is held at Leicester’s New Walk Museum and Art Gallery. For more information visit leicesterinternationalmusicfestival.org.uk

Click here to view the full concert listing and purchase tickets.

BBC Proms Mark Musgrave 90

Thomas Le Brocq

The BBC Symphony Orchestra will mark Thea Musgrave’s ninetieth birthday year with a performance of her orchestral work Phoenix Rising on August 7 in Prom 33 of the festival. Conducted by 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society award-winning conductor and former Music Director of Opera North, Richard Farnes, the orchestra will also perform Brahms’s A German Requiem.

Written in 1996-7, Musgrave’s original sketches for Phoenix Rising were based on an idea of an extended single movement progressing from darkness (low and fast music) to light (high, slow and peaceful). However, Musgrave recalls casually that ‘the idea only became focused dramatically in my mind some months later, when, by chance, I saw a sign Phoenix Rising hanging outside a Virginian coffee shop. As I like to interpret the ancient fable of the phoenix rising from the ashes as the promise of hope and rebirth, this sign struck me immediately as a visualisation of what my piece was really about.’

This performance will be just the latest in a long line of works featured at the Proms over her career: Concerto for Orchestra (1968), Horn Concerto (1971, 1978, 1988), Memento Vitae (1980), Clarinet Concerto (1984), Helios (2003), Ithaca (2010), Loch Ness (2012) to name just a few. Indeed, below is a picture from 1973 when Musgrave returned to the UK from her new home in Virginia, USA to conduct her husband Peter Mark in a Proms performance of her Viola Concerto.

General booking for the 2018 BBC Proms in London opens on May 12 and can be reserved by logging on to the Royal Albert Hall website here.

Peter and Thea CMYK.jpg

Stockholm International Composer Festival 2018: Thea Musgrave

Thomas Le Brocq

The Stockholm International Composer Festival is one of the classical world’s most high-profile opportunities to discover the full breadth of a composer’s music.    

This November in the Swedish capital’s premier concert hall, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO) and Norrköping Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the work of Thea Musgrave. The festival, which has honoured classical music’s most important composers over its twenty-two-year history, runs from November 22-25 and will provide a comprehensive overview of Musgrave’s long career, in four orchestral and chamber concerts. It joins a long list of important celebrations marking the British-American composer's ninetieth birthday. 

In the opening concert, on November 22, Nicholas Daniel joins the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra give the world premiere performance of Musgrave’s Night Windows for Oboe and 15 StringsNight Windows is inspired by Edward Hopper’s striking painting of the same name. The five scenes in Musgrave’s work, however, are all imaginary, highly charged emotional moments derived from Hopper’s work more broadly, subtitled ‘Loneliness’, ‘Anger’, ‘Nostalgia’, ‘Despair’ and ‘Frenzy’. The American conductor Karen Kamensek will conduct the premiere in a programme of Musgrave’s most powerful orchestral works inspired by art: Turbulent LandscapesThe Seasonsand Loch Ness. The RSPO will repeat this concert two days later, with one programming change: Daniel performs Musgrave’s oboe concerto, Helios, in place of Night Windows.

The Finnish-Ukrainian conductor Dalia Stasevska takes up the baton on the second evening of the festival (November 23) with a programme exhibiting the full range of Musgrave’s music, performed by the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra. Beginning with the Concerto for Orchestra (1967), the second half of the concert then opens with her epic orchestral song cycle Songs for a Winter’s Evening (1995), and concludes with one of Musgrave’s earliest mature works, Scottish Dance Suite (1959). Violist Ellen Nisbeth will join the orchestra to perform Lady Caroline Lamb, Elegy for Viola and Orchestra, an iconic piece for the instrument by Musgrave’s close friend and artistic confidant Richard Rodney Bennett.

Soloists from the RSPO and Nicholas Daniel close the festival on November 25 with a concert of Musgrave’s chamber works, many exhibiting her period of experimentation with electronics in the 70s and 80s. The programme will include: A Song for ChristmasMusic for Horn and PianoFrom One to AnotherNiobe, From Spring to SpringThrenodySnow and Dawn.

More information & tickets

Stockholm International Composer Festival
Konserthuset’s huge annual Composer Festival was founded in 1986 and quickly became an essential element of both Swedish and international music scenes. The fundamental idea – to spend an intensive period featuring modern, established composers – has proven to be successful both artistically and among audiences. Since its establishment is has hosted some of the most important composers from around the world including: Witold Lutoslawski (1987), Alfred Schnittke (1989), Sir Michael Tippett (1997), Sofia Gubajdulina (2000), Lars Ekström/Bent Sørensen/Rolf Wallin (2001), Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg (2002), Henri Dutilleux (2003), Esa-Pekka Salonen (2004), Hans Werner Henze (2006), Thomas Adès (2009), Steve Reich (2010/11), and Per Nørgård (2012).

Full history of the festival

 

Edinburgh International Festival Celebrate Musgrave 90

Thomas Le Brocq

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Scotland’s capital city will once again become a three-week celebration of the performing arts, featuring the finest performers and ensembles of dance, opera, music and theatre. This week, Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) unveiled its 2018 programme, which runs from Friday, August 3 to Monday, August 27, and we are delighted to say that they will celebrate Thea Musgrave's ninetieth year with two performances of her works.

On August 5, the National Youth Choir of Scotland under the conductor Christopher Bell perform Musgrave’s settings of strange and exotic poems from the London Underground, On the Underground Set No 2. A Scottish Premiere of Musgrave’s Turbulent Landscapes – a sequence of six independent movements through the land and seascape paintings of J.M.W.Turner – will be performed by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Martyn Brabbins on August 9. It will open to Vaughan Willliam's epic Seas Symphony. 

Trinity Laban to stage Musgrave's A Christmas Carol

Thomas Le Brocq

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This International Women’s Day, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance announced that they will be staging a new production of Thea Musgrave’s 1979 opera A Christmas Carol as part of their new season focus Venus Blazing.

Venus Blazing is an unprecedented commitment by the conservatoire to the music of women composers throughout the next academic year, ensuring that at least half of the music it chooses for its public performances will be by women composers. This year they have chosen to highlight the work of Thea Musgrave, one of the most prolific women composers of opera – with eleven titles to her name. 

A Christmas Carol closely follows Charles Dickens’ beloved novel and will be given its second ever UK performance by the opera and vocal students of the conservatoire. It will take place in early December; more details will be announced later in the year. This announcement follows the performance of two concerts earlier this month by the Trinity Laban Chamber Choir, dedicated to the composer’s choral music in celebration of her ninetieth birthday. 

Announcing Venus Blazing last week, Harriet Harman, Chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, said:

'Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance is strongly committed to diversity in all elements and it has a mission to constantly challenge the status quo. Venus Blazing is a great example of just how it can do this.

This celebration will encourage and inspire its students – many of whom will go on to shape the future of the performing arts - to engage with the historic issue of gender imbalance in music by women, and ensure that it does not continue into the next generation.

I welcome this bold initiative to raise awareness of the disparity that has long existed in music and shine a light on music that has so frequently been overlooked. I am also greatly looking forward to hearing some of the musical treasures by women I might not otherwise have had the chance to hear in performance.’

More information on Venus Blazing can be found here.

Follow all the events marking #Musgrave90 by visiting theamusgrave.com and follow @MSClassical/musicsalesclassical on Twitter and Instagram.

BBC Philharmonic and Royal Northern celebrate Musgrave 90

Thomas Le Brocq

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From February 1-2, the Royal Northern College of Music and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate the music of Thea Musgrave to mark her ninetieth birthday. The two-day festival ‘In Focus: Thea Musgrave’, led and curated by Clark Rundell, will feature concerts from the students, masterclasses and Q&As, and the performance of a world premiere. 


'It is a huge privilege to welcome the great Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave in this, her 90th year. For over six decades, her beautifully crafted music has resonated with audiences from around the world including France and its great cultural centre, Paris, where Thea studied with the legendary Nadia Boulanger.'

Clark Rundell, Artistic Director, BBC Philharmonic


Beginning at 7:30 Thursday evening, the RNCM New Ensemble and RNCM Wind Orchestra will perform Musgrave’s Lamenting with Ariadne,Power Play and Journey Through a Japanese Landscape under three conductors: Mark Heron, Melvin Tay and Alexander Webb. The New Ensemble will also perform her 1974 Koussevitzky Award commission, Space Play, a concerto for nine instruments (originally written for the London Sinfonietta) in which each player takes turns leading the group sans conductor. A new work by RNCM student Edgar Divver will also feature in the programme. The concert, which will take place at the RNCM Concert Hall, will be introduced with a pre-talk in the Carole Nash Recital Room between Musgrave and Clark Rundell. 

On Friday, February 2, students will perform Musgrave’s small chamber works and a new work by student Robin Wallington in the Carole Nash Recital Room. The programme includes Voices from the Ancient WorldTake Two Bassoons and Wind Quintet

The festival concludes that evening at the MediaCity Studio. Clark Rundell leads the BBC Philharmonic in a first half of orchestral song (Song of the EnchanterSongs for a Winter's EveningFive Songs for Spring); followed by the world premiere of a new cello concerto for British cellist Josephine Knight, From Darkness into the Light. Closely based on her 2005 work Journey into Light for voice and chamber orchestra, this re-imagining (which now adds percussion and clarinet to the orchestral line-up) draws from one anonymous 15th-century poem and two others by the Scottish poet William Dunbar (1460?-1513?). In his poems Dunbar describes the promise of salvation after life’s dark passage and each of the three poems echo the thought that the poet can overcome the fear of his inevitable death with the certainty of salvation. Three new cello cadenzas employ elements of Musgrave’s self-defined ‘dramatic-abstract’ and perform thematic responses to Dunbar’s text. The BBC Philharmonic conclude the concert with Musgrave’s ever-popular The Seasons. The performance will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3. 

Admission to all events is free. For more information about the festival click here. Applications for tickets to the BBC Philharmonic Studio performance can be found here

Musgrave at 90 in 2018

Thomas Le Brocq

On 27 May 2018, one of Britain’s most distinguished composers, Thea Musgrave, turns ninety and will have clocked up almost seventy years in her profession. An impressive feat, she still maintains an active writing schedule, composing with amazing energy and passion. 

Several performances and premiere recordings marking the occasion are already scheduled to take place in Europe and America in 2018. Having just completed a chamber reduction of her seminal opera Mary, Queen of Scots, she is now working on a new ten-minute work for piano and baritone which takes its text from Calderón’s La Vida Es Sueño, a Missa Brevis, and an organ piece based on J.S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein

Novello have brought together tributes, in-depth programme notes and previously unseen photos in a new celebratory brochure:

If you would like to find out more about Thea’s music, the plans already in place for the 2017/18 season, or have your performances lined up, then please do not hesitate to contact promotion@musicsales.co.uk. Find us on Facebook and Twitter using the official hashtag #Musgrave90.