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VALE OF GLAMORGAN

FESTIVAL OF MUSIC 2005

COMPOSERS 2005

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Graham Fitkin

Graham Fitkin

Now resident in the furthest reaches of his native Cornwall, Graham Fitkin writes exciting, tightly structured music, driven by an energetic urbanity that is far from English pastoralism. His work is informed by the simplicity and immediacy of pop music and characterised by a mesmerising use of urgent, catchy rhythms. He is expanding his already versatile sound world with increasing use of computer and sampling technology.

The piano is the cornerstone of Fitkin’s music. An accomplished performer himself, he writes music for soloists (working regularly with Kathryn Stott) as well as extended multiple-piano ensembles. Fitkin performs his own music whenever he can, be that as solo pianist; director of his eponymous Group; or at the console in electronic collaborations with his partner, harpist Ruth Wall. This commitment to a hands-on approach is rooted in his deeply felt desire to be connected with the music through all the stages of its realisation.

It’s engaging, memorable, unpretentious music.’  WIRE

Graham Fitkin


Howard Skempton

Howard Skempton

A pupil of Cornelius Cardew and co-conspirator in the infamous Scratch Orchestra, Howard Skempton employs a musical language of radical simplicity that has grown from its experimentalist roots, undeflected by musical fashion. Jokingly described as ’Webern meets Satie for a cup of tea’, his distinctly English music is characterised by an extreme economy of means and an absence of musical histrionics.

Skempton is well known for his innumerable miniatures for both accordion (which he performs himself) and piano: mostly written for friends; many of them a matter of a few seconds long. Despite their brevity, they collectively form the ’central nervous system’ of his work. ’They can be written quickly, disseminated cheaply and performed frequently. Other factors are a delight in immediacy, a passion for refinement and compression and an absorption in sound itself.’

Howard Skempton


Guto Puw

Guto Puw

Guto Pryderi Puw is one of the most promising Welsh composers of his generation. Born in Parc, Y Bala in 1971, he has already established himself as a key figure in Welsh music: twice winner of Tlws y Cerddor (Composer’s Medal) at the National Eisteddfod; recently appointed as a lecturer in the School of Music, University of Wales Bangor, where he himself studied; and Artistic Director of the Bangor New Music Festival since its inception.

His inspiration is also firmly rooted in Wales, its language and literature, with a particular affinity to the poetry of RS Thomas.

He has created graphic scores, such as X-ist, to direct and inspire beautiful playing from improvisatory performers, and in the sparse, fractured melodic lines of his music there is the impression of an artless, quasi-improvised style, which belies its taut, complex notation.

Guto Puw (English)
Guto Puw (Welsh)


Robin Holloway

Robin Holloway

In the 1960’s, Robin Holloway’s music took a decidedly Modernist stance, but he sent waves through the musical establishment with a radical departure in his musical language with the iconoclastic score Scenes from Schumann in 1970. The cause of this controversy? An unabashed rapprochement with tonality and Romanticism: Holloway synthesised substantial fragments from the 19th-century repertoire into new works of extraordinary emotional power.

These complementary Romantic and Modernist sides of his musical nature have co-existed, threaded through with a vein of lighter, divertimento-style pieces, providing an exuberant foil to the lush orchestral scores such as Seascape and Harvest and the harder-edged Modernism of the Second Concerto for Orchestra. The Festival is proud to present the world premiere of the latest in this series of serenades by this eminent British composer.

Robin Holloway


Judith Weir

Judith Weir

An eclectic and prolific artist, Judith Weir believes the role of the composer is to create wider musical communities, dedicating a considerable amount of time to working with amateur and student musicians. Consequently her vivid music combines familiar and unfamiliar folk traditions with a strong narrative quality. She writes in a deeply personal and original style, with an ironic humour -— the influence of narrative and Taoism in her work is more discernable than that of any one of her teachers.

Her interest in Taoist philosophy started in her teens with the writings of John Cage, connecting ancient Chinese ideas to musical models. The qualities of concision, clarity, lightness and (hidden) wisdom which she meets in this philosophy are embraced in her music, which uses modal or tonal techniques, is lucid and direct, yet always with hidden depths.

Judith Weir


Toshio Hosokawa

Toshio Hosokawa

The work of Toshio Hosokawa, who celebrates his 50th birthday this year, is the perfect example of a genuine fusion of East and West into a universal art. Jointly resident in Tokyo and Mainz, he places himself at the heart of Western avant-garde and the famous Darmstadt summer school, while at the same time exploring the essence of Japanese tradition without any hint of folkloric opportunism.

Toshio Hosokawa


Dai Fujikura

Dai Fujikura

Born in Osaka in 1977, now living, studying and working in the UK, Dai Fujikura is a young composer who has already had astonishing international success. He writes music of remarkable directness.

’In my music, there is no ”message” or ”statement”. I just try to hunt the notes which I really want to experience as one of the audience of my work.’

Dai Fujikura