Sonic Coast [4] The Bay Theatre – Biographies

Composers’ Biographies

Benjamin Graves [UK] Since achieving his Masters in Composition, with distinction, from the Guildhall School – with generous support from The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers, The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers, the Guildhall Trust and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust – Benjamin’s works have been performed widely, either by himself, as clarinettist, or others across the UK and abroad. His music has been heard in venues in Royaumont, France; Darmstadt, Germany and Aldeburgh; Birmingham; Durham; Oxford and London’s Air Studios, Barbican, LSO St. Luke’s, the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, The Place, Southbank, and the Wigmore Hall. Broadcasts include BBC radio 3 and Resonance 104.4 FM. Festival premieres include the City of London and Aldeburgh festivals. Recent projects include a work for large orchestra as part of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composer Scheme and he is currently undertaking a course at the Choreographic Research and Composition Programme of the Royaumont Foundation in France with generous support from the Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust. He is co-founder of the critically acclaimed dance and music company Sounding Motion who perform extensively across the UK in theatres, studios and education projects, with generous support from the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.

Simon Cummings [UK] Simon was born in 1973 in Cheltenham. He studied composition, conducting and organ at the Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating in 1997 with the Creative Studies prize. Aided by a substantial grant from The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Cummings studied privately with Richard Barrett in Amsterdam, at the same time studying sonology and composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Upon completion of his Masters degree, he returned to England and took up the post of Assistant Director of Music at Christ Church, Cheltenham, where he remained for three and a half years. Cummings is currently pursuing a PhD in composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, under the supervision of Richard Causton and Michael Finnissy

Richard Stanbrook [UK] Richard was born in Newbury, Berkshire in 1954. Upon leaving school in 1971, he enlisted in the Army and served with the Royal Corps of Transport Staff Band. In October 1977, Stanbrook transferred to the Royal Military Academy Band Corps, Sandhurst and was its Music Arranger until expiry of contract in July 1981.

Stylistically, Stanbrook’s music does not conform to any school or “ism” and eschews modernity for its own sake. The language, although tonal, has an uncompromising directness which some have found alarming.

Works include Five Small Marches, Two Dartmoor Rhapsodies and Two Postludes (Wind – Band); Study and Three Places in Southern Scotland (Brass – Band); Sinfonietta and “Dun Rig:” Prelude (Orchestra), and Two Woodwind Trio (Flute, Oboe and Clarinet).

For a more comprehensive listing, please visit:

Mic Spencer [UK] Born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire in 1975, Michael Spencer studied composition with Graham Hair at the University of Glasgow where he received an MA in Music and Scottish Literature. Between 1997 and 2002, he completed a MusM and PhD in Composition with Geoff Poole at Manchester University. Between 1998 and 2004, he worked privately with James Dillon.

His music has been performed at the Henze Festival (RNCM), St Cyprian’s Church (London), the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (twice short-listed for the Young Composers’ Competition in 2000 and 2003), Instal 2002 (Glasgow), Maxis 2003 Festival (Leeds), in workshops by the Apollo Sax Quartet, Psappha, in France, Canada, at the Darmstädter Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Germany, 2004 and 2012, and extensively at Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds Universities. Toxic Knuckle Bones was performed by the BBC Philharmonic under James MacMillan on Radio 3’s Hear and Now programme in 2001. He has worked with notable performers such as Ensemble SurPlus, Ian Pace, Richard Casey, Modelo62, Trio Atem, Apartment House, Christophe de Bezenac, Adam Starkie and Geoff Poole. In 2003, he received a stipend to attend the International Summer Course for Composers at Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, where he worked with Chaya Czernowin, Steve Takasugi and Richard Barrett. His work la mer allée avec le soleil was performed there by Ensemble SurPlus and subsequently by them in Stuttgart and Freiburg.

Since 2002 he has worked in the School of Music at the University of Leeds where he is currently Associate Professor of Music, Deputy Head of School and Head of Composition.

At the University of Leeds he runs and conducts the new music ensemble LSTwo which has performed under his artistic direction Stockhausen’s Kreuzspiel, Varèse’s Intégrales, Lachenmann’s …zwei Gefühle…, Musik mit Leonardo, Grisey’s Vortex Temporum and Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître, Chaya Czernowin’s ‘Afatsim, Beat Furrer’s Gaspra, Stäbler’s Luftspiegelungen – Ein Spiel fur Sieben and a range of premières of postgraduate student work. He has published several articles on the creative process as well as on James Dillon’s music.

Spencer’s recent work includes Ungrund (after Boehme) V for Trio Atem using text fragments by Heraclitus in a collaborative project with William Hutson, premiered in March 2013, another new piece in his Ungrund cycle for Adam Starkie (solo clarinet) with ensemble was premiered in April 2013, and an article on the string quartets of James Dillon to be published by CMR later in 2014. Ungrund II (after Böhme) for solo clarinet/kick-drum (one player) was premièred in Strasbourg by Starkie before receiving its UK première in Leeds, April 2010. It recently received another performance at MusicA Festival, Strasbourg. Ungrund (after Boehme) I for chamber ensemble was premièred by Ensemble Modelo62 as part of their UK Urbane Tour. The Eemis Stane – Homage to K.S. Sorabji is available on a CD collection of new piano music recorded by Aleks Szram (fonorum label 2005) and his piano piece Message from Aiwass X (on his Horoscope) has also been released on CD (Joyous Lake on primafacie records, performed by his past mentor Geoff Poole, to whom the piece is dedicated). His recent work for solo cello, Verdrängung von der Aufhebung was premiered in Darmstadt by Andrej Gal. Current work in progress includes a large scale project entitled Intervolve which explores the possibilities of the double bass within the framework of the thinking of Michel Foucault. He is also writing a new work for ELISION ensemble (oboe, trumpet and percussion), a new piece for the ensemble Workers Union and a work for organ voice and electronics for Lauren Redhead.

Aaron Holloway-Nahum [US] Music by Aaron Holloway-Nahum has recently been commissioned and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Clarinetist Timothy Orpen.  In 2014, Aaron will attend the Aspen Music Festival as a fully funded composer, write a new work for Third Coast Percussion, will have a 5-week residency at the home of Aaron Copland (‘Copland House Awards’) and will write his third and fourth pieces for players from the London Symphony as part of their ‘Soundhub Scheme’.  Music by Aaron has been performed around the world and recorded in Abbey Road and Maida Vale Studios.  He has had multiple pieces broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and regularly appears as a radio host on ResonanceFM.  Aaron is also the chief conductor and Artistic Director of The Riot Ensemble.  (

Salvatore Sciarrino [IT] Salvatore was born in Palermo, 1947 and boasts of being born free and not in a music school.

He started composing when he was twelve as a self-taught person and held his first public concert in 1962. But Sciarrino considers all the works before 1966 as an developing apprenticeship because that is when his personal style began to reveal itself. There is something really particular that characterizes this music: it leads to a different way of listening, a global emotional realization, of reality as well as of one’s self. And after forty years, the extensive catalogue of Sciarrino’s compositions is still in a phase of surprising creative development. After his classical studies and a few years of university in his home city, the Sicilian composer moved to Rome in 1969 and in 1977 to Milan. Since 1983, he has lived in Città di Castello, in Umbria.

He has composed for: Teatro alla Scala, RAI, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Biennale di Venezia, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, Fondazione Arena di Verona, Stuttgart Opera Theatre, Brussels La Monnaie, Frankfurt Opera Theatre, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Suntory Hall. He has also composed for the following festivals: Schwetzinger Festspiele, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Witten, Salzburg, New York, Wien Modern, Wiener Festwochen, Berliner Festspiele Musik, Holland Festival, Alborough, Festival d’Automne (Paris), Ultima (Oslo).

He was published by Ricordi from 1969 to 2004. Since 2005, Rai Trade has had exclusive rights for

Sciarrino’s works. Sciarrino’s discography is pretty extensive and counts over 100 CDs, published by the best international record labels and very often awarded and noted.

Apart from being author of most of his theatre opera’s librettos, Sciarrino wrote a rich production of articles, essays and texts of various genres some of which have been chosen and collected in Carte da suono, CIDIM – Novecento, 2001. Particularly important is his interdisciplinary book about musical form: Le figure della musica, da Beethoven a oggi, Ricordi 1998. Sciarrino taught at the Music Academies of Milan (1974–83), Perugia (1983–87) and Florence (1987– 96).

He also worked as a teacher in various specialization courses and master classes among which are those held in Città di Castello from 1979 to 2000.

From 1978 to 1980, he was Artistic Director of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Academic of Santa

Cecilia (Roma), Academic of Fine Arts of Bavaria and Academic of the Arts (Berlin), Sciarrino has

won many awards, among the most recent are: Prince Pierre de Monaco (2003) and the prestigious Feltrinelli International Award (Premio Internazionale Feltrinelli) (2003). He is also the first prizewinner of the newly created Salzburg Music Prize (2006), an International Composition Price established by the Salzburg Land.

In 2006 his new opera Da gelo a gelo, coproduced by Schwetzinger Festspiele, Opéra National de

Paris and Grand Théâtre de Genève, was performed to great acclaim. In 2008 La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra performed his 4 Adagi and 12 Madrigali were premiered in the summer of the same year in a portrait series dedicated to him by the Salzburg Festival.

Elliot Carter [US] Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the first composer to receive the United States National Medal of Arts, one of the few composers ever awarded Germany’s Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize, and in 1988 made “Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the Government of France, as well as receiving the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honor in 2012, Elliott Carter is internationally recognized as one America’s leading voices of the classical music tradition. He was a recipient of the Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award and was one of the few living composers to be inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame during his lifetime. Carter was recognized by the Pulitzer Prize Committee for the first time in 1960 for his groundbreaking String Quartet No. 2. Igor Stravinsky hailed Carter’s Double Concerto for harpsichord, piano, and two chamber orchestras (1961) and Piano Concerto (1967), as “masterpieces.”

Carter’s prolific career spanned over 75 years, with more than 150 pieces, ranging from chamber music to orchestra to opera, often marked with a sense of wit and humor. His astonishing late-career creative burst resulted in a number of brief solo and chamber works, as well as major essays such as Asko Concerto (2000) for Holland’s ASKO Ensemble. Some chamber works include What Are Years (2009), Nine by Five (2009), and Two Thoughts About the Piano (2005-06), widely toured by Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Carter showed his mastery in larger forms as well, with major contributions such as What Next? (1997–98), Boston Concerto (2002), Three Illusions for Orchestra (2004), called by the Boston Globe “surprising, inevitable, and vividly orchestrated,” Flute Concerto (2008), a piano concerto, Interventions (2007), which premiered on Carter’s 100th birthday concert at Carnegie Hall with James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (December 11, 2008), and the song cycle A Sunbeam’s Architecture (2011).

—November 2013

Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

Violeta Dinescu [RO] Violeta was born on the 13th. July 1953 in Bucharest. A Romanian composer, now resident in Germany, of mostly stage, orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, and piano works that have been performed throughout the world.

Prof. Dinescu graduated from the Colegiul Naţional Gheorghe Lazăr in Bucharest in 1972 and studied composition at the Universitatea Naţională de Muzică Bucureşti from 1972–78, including composition with Myriam Marbe in 1977–78. She later studied musicology in Heidelberg for two years.Among her honours are four prizes from the Uniunea Compozitorilor şi Muzicologilor din România in Bucharest (1975–76, 1980, 1983), Zweiter Preis in the competition GEDOK in Mannheim (1982), First Prize in a competition in Utah (1983), Terzo Premio in the competition G. B. Viotti in Vercelli (1983), and the Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Preis (1985, for Hunger und Durst).Prof. Dinescu is also active in other positions. She has served as a member of the executive board of directors of the International Alliance for Women in Music since 1985.

She taught at the Şcoala de Muzică George Enescu in Bucharest from 1978–82, the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik Heidelberg from 1986–91 and the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main from 1989–91. She lectured at the Hochschule für evangelische Kirchenmusik Bayreuth from 1990–94. She has taught as Professor für Komposition at the Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg since 1996. In addition, she has given lectures in South Africa and the USA.

She has lived in Germany since 1982. Her publisher is Verlag Dohr.

Marc Yeats [UK] Marc’s music is performed, commissioned and broadcast worldwide. Transduction, complex surface relationships, asynchronous alignments, contextual, harmonic and temporal ambiguities, polarised intensities and a visceral joy of sound are all primary concerns.

. . . . . ‘how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!’ . . . .
(William Shakespeare: Richard II, 5.5.42-9)

Marc Yeats is a composer and visual artist. His intense music has received performances and broadcast around the world including The Edinburgh String Quartet (UK), the Chamber Group of Scotland (UK), Psappha (UK), Richard Casey, Stephen Combes, the London Sinfonietta (UK), the Endymion Ensemble (UK), Lonba (Argentina), Paragon Ensemble (UK), the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (UK), illegal harmony (UK), 175 East (N.Z.), Sarah Watts, SCAW (UK), Sarah Nicolls, Federico Mondelci, the Commonwealth Sinfonietta (UK), Contempo Ensemble (Italy), Rarescale (UK), The Scottish Clarinet Quartet (UK), Symposia (UK), the New York Miniaturists Ensemble (USA), Trio IAMA (Greece), The International Concert Brass Soloists (Switzerland), Dirk Amrein (Germany) Expatrio (UK), Chroma (UK), Kokoro (UK), Consortium5 (UK), Ensemble Amorpha (UK) Chamber Cartel (US), Auditiv Vokal (Germany), the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), the Hallé Orchestra and Chorus (UK) conducted by Sir Mark Elder, Tokyo City Philharmonic (Japan) and Gewandhaus Radio Orchestra (Germany), with broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland as well as US, German, EU, Hawaiian, Japanese and New Zealand radio.

Marc is Composer-in-Association with: Manchester Pride   [Manchester UK] Chamber Cartel [Atlanta, Georgia US] SATSYMPH [Bristol/Crewkerne UK]

Composer Curator with Sound and Music for 2014/15

Performers’ Biographies:

rarescale Formed by alto flute player, Carla Rees, in 2003, rarescale has gained an international reputation for new music for flute-based chamber ensemble. The group collaborates with composers of all styles and ages to develop new repertoire, and has an open call for scores.

The group performs regularly in the UK and abroad and has international links with several composers. UK performances have included the group’s own annual Premiere Series in London, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the UK Microfest Festival of Microtonal, recitals in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and Dartington International Summer School. International performances include Sonic Circuits Festival in Washington DC, Spark Festival in Minneapolis, International Flute Festival in Provence, France and recitals in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Members of the group have also given workshops and masterclasses for the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain and First National Flute Choir Day. Also at universities and music colleges in the UK and USA, including the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, University of Southern California, UCLA and the Royal Academy of Music.

Carla Rees is a leading alto flute specialist, working to raise the profile of the instrument through research, performance and commissioning new repertoire. She is Artistic Director of the contemporary music ensemble, rarescale, with whom she has premiered over 250 new works. She has performed regularly at flute conventions in the UK and USA, as well as in festivals and recitals internationally, including Proms composer portraits, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Spark Festival (Minneapolis), and Sonic Circuits Festival (Washington DC). She has recorded for rarescale records, EMI, Capstone and Metier, in addition to soundtracks for film and TV, including sound effects for Nanny McPhee 2.

Carla teaches the flute at Royal Holloway, University of London and composition at the Open College of Arts, and has given masterclasses and workshops for flute players and composers at several leading institutions, including the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, UCLA, University of Southern California, University of California, California Institute of the Arts, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music.

She is Convention Director of the British Flute Society, Director of the low flutes specialist publishing company, Tetractys Publishing, a reviewer for MusicWeb International and is currently working towards a PhD at the Royal College of Music, where she is researching contemporary techniques for quarter tone system alto and bass flute as an AHRC scholar supported by and Ian Evans Lombe Award. 

Carla also works as a freelance photographer and has had her work published in the UK, USA, France and New Zealand.

Paul Goodey studied at the Royal College of Music to Masters level and at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then returned to the Royal College where he completed his Doctorate. He has appeared as a soloist in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America; has been broadcast on Radio 3 and Radio 4 and has appeared on soundtracks including broadcasts on BBC 2, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. Concerti include Heinz Holliger, ‘Siebengesang’, Lutoslawski, Double Concerto (including performances with the composer), Strauss and Mozart. Most recently, he performed Gary Carpenter’s ‘Doubles’ with Linda Merrick and the Nottingham Symphonic Winds and Edwin Roxburgh’s ‘An Elegy for Ur’ at the RNCM. 

He is the oboist with the contemporary chamber ensemble Sounds Positive, with whom he has given over sixty premieres at venues including the Royal Opera House, St. John’s Smith Square and the Colourscape Festival; with composers such as Stephen Montague, Simon Bainbridge and Judith Weir. He also performs with rarescale across the UK, with whom he has premiered over thirty works. He continues to commission new work through his collaboration with leading composers and contemporary ensembles. His solo CD New Ground, features seven world premiere recordings and was rated ‘excellent’ by BBC Music Magazine. This was followed by a disc of music by Edwin Roxburgh, Antares. This includes a piece written for Paul by the composer, and also contains two ensemble pieces which feature RNCM musicians, conducted by the composer. More recently, he recorded Gary Carpenter’s Double Concerto ‘Doubles’ with Linda Merrick and the RNCM Wind Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell.

He has given classes and adjudicated at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the National Youth of Orchestra of Great Britain, Chetham’s School of Music, Uppingham School and the Park Lane Group, across Europe, at four conservatoires in China, and in Russia; and has been a jury member of BBC Young Musician, Yamaha YMFE Scholarships and the British Composer Awards.

He is also an active composer. Current projects include a series of contemporary oboe etudes, a piece for Sounds Positive; and he has recently completed a trio for rarescale, a trio for the RNCM 40th anniversary celebrations and a Concerto for bass flute, doubling alto flute, C flute and piccolo for Karin de Fleyt, flautist with the Stockhausen Estate. 

For eight years, prior to his current position of Head of Wind Brass & Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music, he was Head of Faculty at Trinity College of Music and a Council member of the Society for the Promotion of New Music.

Sarah Watts is one of the UK’s only specialist bass clarinet soloists. With the intention of increasing its popularity as a solo instrument Sarah has attracted many composers to write new works for her and has given repertoire and composition classes at several music conservatoires in the UK and Ireland. Sarah performed a solo bass clarinet Recital in London’s Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group’s Young Artists Series. Sarah is a solo artist on the UK’s Live Music Now Scheme, and a member of rarescale. Sarah’s bass clarinet and piano duo SCAW with Antony Clare recorded a CD of recital music for the clarinet classics label in 2008.

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