The New Music Players, conducted by Nicholas Smith, will give the world premiere performance of Ed Hughes’ Sinfonia for large ensemble and Hughes’ landmark 1991 piano trio Media Vita to mark the composer's 50th birthday. Ed Hughes is a composer, and the founder and artistic director of New Music Players.
Ed Hughes: Media Vita (1991) for piano trio (10 mins): Susanne Stanzeleit (violin), Joseph Giddey (cello), Richard Casey (piano)
Ed Hughes: Sinfonia (2018, first performance) for large ensemble (20 mins): Susanne Stanzeleit (leader), The New Music Players
Followed by drinks at around 8.15pm
Ed Hughes started the New Music Players in 1990 after leaving university in order to bring together some of the UK's finest and most versatile musicians, with backgrounds in chamber, orchestra, contemporary, jazz, baroque and early music performance. This special mix of skills combined with the virtuoso qualities of individual players is considered to be one of the most distinctive aspects of this ensemble. The New Music Players focuses on British music and has given numerous first performances and also made many CDs, DVDs and recordings for London Independent Records, Tartan Video, BFI and BBC Radio 3.
Media Vita (1991) for piano trio was written for Andrew Toovey's group Ixion and first performed by them at the Brighton Festival. It is a fluid, contrapuntal work with expressive harmonies influenced by John Sheppard's great vocal work of the same name.
In 2018, the year of his 50th birthday, Hughes has returned to his interests in early English polyphonic music and is writing a Sinfonia for the group's full ensemble of 18 instruments to perform at this special concert. This brand new work is a modern instrumental fantasia that will explore how the structures and sounds of polyphonic notated vocal music from 14th, 15th and 16th century England can inspire new music today. English composers referenced will include Cooke, Dunstable and Gibbons, noting some artistic exchanges with and debt to Europe which in part led to some of this music's very survival. A particular interest is in the harmonies arising from some of these composers' love of movement in thirds and sixths, but the music will also have rhythmic and polyphonic aspects that are Hughes' own.
Nicholas Smith OBE is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Peking Sinfonietta and the International Festival Chorus, both based in Beijing, China. His many other engagements include China Philharmonic Orchestra, the China National Film Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Les Percussions Claviers de Lyon, Teatro Lirico di Spoleto and the choirs of Cornell University.