Concert News

New Music Biennial: Southbank Centre 1- 3 July

PRS Foundation and the Southbank Centre prepare to bring their critically acclaimed free festival, New Music Biennial 2022 to London this Summer from 1-3 July. It follows a hugely successful first weekender in Coventry UK City of Culture in a takeover of three locations – Coventry Cathedral, Drapers’ Hall and HMV Empire as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations.

Presented in partnership with Coventry UK City of Culture, BBC Radio 3 and NMC Recordings with support from Arts Council of England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, New Music Biennial 2022 comprises 20 pieces of music: ten brand new works selected from an open call and ten pre-existing New Music Biennial works from across the last 10 years to mark its launch back in 2012.

With pieces from across all genres: from classical and chamber opera to jazz, folk and electronic, each work is no longer than 15 minutes in duration to create a pop-up, interactive way for audiences to discover new music by some of the most exciting composers and music creators in the UK today.

New Music Biennial 2022 will present three days of exceptional music featuring brand new pieces by Yazz Ahmed, Paul Purgas, AFRODEUTSCHE, Martin Green, Rakhi Singh /  Vessel, Keeley Forsyth, Coby Sey, Roopa Panesar, Toby Young and Philip Herbert. 

These will be presented alongside previous outstanding work by Anna Meredith, Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe, Daniel Elms, Errollyn Wallen, Philip Venables and David Hoyle Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes, Jason Yarde, Jessica Curry, Arlene Sierra and Gazelle Twin (See more info below)

The London festival dates are Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July, Southbank Centre (Free tickets available now

In addition to the performances, all the works featured in this year’s New Music Biennial will be broadcast across BBC Radio 3 New Music Show at 10pm every Saturday evening.

New works recorded in Coventry will be featured in the shows on 30th April and 2nd July. Previously commissioned works featured in this year’s New Music Biennial can be heard on Saturday evenings from 10pm throughout May and June. The New Music Show programmes will also be available on BBC Sounds. 

Pieces from the New Music Biennial will also be available through NMC Recordings. As well as releasing the new pieces at this year’s festival, and to celebrate this milestone in the partnership, NMC is re-issuing the ten existing works being performed this year. This special re-issue bundle entitled “Celebrating 10 years of New Music Biennial”, will be available to download digitally from the NMC online shop from 22nd April at a discounted price, providing a lasting legacy for this new music.  

The track being re-released include a flashmob-style body percussion piece for choir by Anna Meredith, an orchestral work exploring themes of slavery and freedom by Errollyn Wallen, Jason Yarde’s Olympics-inspired piece for brass including Chinese style pentatonic music and London grime, Philip Venable’s provocative, political chamber work story-telling and folk fiddle from Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes, and sampled birdsong merging with keyboard from Arlene Sierra.

NMC also share five curated playlists themed by genre consisting of all the tracks that they have released across the festival’s lifespan, available on Spotify and Apple Music. The playlists are Choral / Vocal, Folk / World, Jazz, Electronic / Experimental, and Contemporary Classical. Listen to them here.

To ensure the New Music Biennial can be experienced by all, the Southbank Centre will also be hosting a range of free-to-attend public events which will be announced closer to the summer.

Music and the arts have never been more important with so many universal challenges facing individuals, communities and the world. This year’s New Music Biennial invited composers and commissioning organisations to create a response – exploring the fantastical, imaginative and transformational shift music can affect in confronting these threats and challenges whilst bringing joy and excitement.

2022 will mark the tenth anniversary of the New Music Biennial since its launch as New Music 20×12 as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  Since 2012 the initiative has seen critically acclaimed pieces by composers and music creators including Anna Meredith, Mica Levi, Hannah Peel, Errollyn Wallen, GoGo Penguin, Jessica Curry, Shingai Shoniwa, David Okumu, Mark Simpson, Eliza Carthy, Gavin Bryars, Mark Anthony Turnage, Shiva Feshareki and Sam Lee with many pieces receiving award nominations.

Pieces included in this year’s New Music Biennial 2022

New works:

  • “Advanced Tape” Commissioned by Supersonic Festival written by the sound, performance and installation artist, Paul Purgas
  • “He Sings Over Me” Commissioned by Manchester Camerata and NEWFORM written by composer, producer and DJ, AFRODEUTSCHE
  • “Split The Air”, Commissioned by The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and Lepus Productions, written by the multi-award winning musician and composer Martin Green      
  • “It” by Rakhi Singh, Vessel & NYX Electronic Drone Choir, Commissioned by NYX Electronic Drone Choir 
  • “From The Vestry”, Commissioned by Serious and written by South East London vocalist, musician and DJ, Coby Sey      
  • “The Crossing”, Commissioned by Opera North and written by the sitarist, Roopa Panesar
  • “Breathlines”, Commissioned by Armonico Consort and written by the composer, Toby Young   
  • “Towards Renewal”, Commissioned by the BBC Concert Orchestra and written by the composer and educator Philip Herbert

Existing works:

  • “HandsFree”, Commissioned by National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and written by the Scottish composer of electronic and acoustic music, Anna Meredith and choreographed by David Ogle
  • “13 Vices”, Commissioned by Moving on Music and written by two of the UK and Ireland’s most dynamic compositional voices, Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe
  • “Bethia”, Commissioned by BFI and written by the award winning composer, Daniel Elms
  • “Mighty River”, Performed by National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and written by the multi-award winning Belize-born British composer Errollyn Wallen.  Originally commissioned by The Rector and PPC of Holy Trinity Clapham Common and the Revd. John Wates
  • “Illusions”, Commissioned and co-promoted by London Sinfonietta and written by the British composer, Philip Venables and the avant-garde performance artist, David Hoyle
  • “365” Commissioned by the Edinburgh Arts Book Festival and written by the Scottish contemporary folk music fiddle player and composer, Aidan O’Rourke and the composer, pianist and organist, Kit Downes
  • “Skip, Dash, Flow”, Commissioned by Wonderbrass and written by the composer, producer and saxophonist, Jason Yarde
  • “She Who”, Commissioned by National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and written by the English composer, radio presenter and BAFTA winner, Jessica Curry
  • “Urban Birds”, Commissioned by INTER/actions Festival of Interactive Electronic and written by the London-based American composer, Arlene Sierra

Be sure to catch the twenty compositions that span classical and chamber, opera to jazz, folk and electronic at PRS Foundation and Southbank Centre’s New Music Biennial.

The 10th Anniversary festival weekend runs from Fri 1 – Sun 3 July, London Southbank Centre (Free tickets available now)

*Photo – Gazelle Twin and BBC Concert Orchestra at PRS Foundation and Southbank Centre’s New Music Biennial,
Coventry Cathedral – photo credit Jamie Gray

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