NMC CD Launch, 2016: Martin Butler CD, featuring Simon Callow

We are excited to announce our recording of Martin Butler‘s Nonet, ‘Rondes d’Automne’, in collaboration with members of the Navarra Quartet and double-bassist Leon Bosch, on the NMC label.

The disc also includes Martin Butler’s ‘Dirty Beasts’, based on the wonderful poems by Roald Dahl, narrated by renowned actor, Simon Callow.

The CD is due for release in February 2016, and we are currently planning a series of launch concerts to celebrate – watch this space!

Concert at The Mansion House

We were delighted to be invited to give the premiere performance of a new work by the composer Tasoulla Christou at a banquet given in honour of the Lord Mayor of London by the Worshipful Company of Marketors at London’s Mansion House last week. The piece, entitled ‘City Scenes’ and written for Wind Quintet especially for this occasion, was a celebration of the traditions of the City of London, and what more fitting performance venue could there be than the Mansion House?

We gave the performance in the building’s Egyptian Hall, a stunning hall with great acoustics. The piece is in three movements, Rush Hour, Sunday Evening, and Petticoat Lane, each capturing a different facet of our beloved city. We were delighted to work with Tasoulla, and to be given the opportunity to perform at such an iconic London landmark.

Cheltenham Festival Review in The Sunday Times

We were really pleased to be included in Paul Driver’s review of some of the Cheltenham Festival events – here’s what he had to say about our concert:

“The other new works I caught were…Philip Cashian’s engaging Settala’s Machine, for 10 wind instruments, given there by the New London Chamber Ensemble. This followed three arrangements by him, Sally Beamish and Martin Butler of mechanistic Mozart pieces respectively for musical clock, glass harmonica and mechanical organ, and offered itself as an original “musical machine”. In the way it intercuts sputtering, ticking ostinati with sinuous melody, it evokes the approach of Harrison Birtwistle, but a Birtwistle better behaved than usual. Afterwards came wind music’s glory, the Gran Partita, K361, by Mozart.”

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 13th July 2014

Review of Cheltenham Festival Concert

We’ve just seen this new review of our Cheltenham Festival Concert. It seems the journalist especially enjoyed our performance of Mozarts Serenade ‘Gran Partita’, for which we were joined by students from the Royal Academy of Music, and describes it as “a superb performance”.

REVIEW: Cheltenham Music Festival – New London Chamber Ensemble and RAM Students, Pittville Pump Room

This mainly Mozart recital served to remind us that sound recordings predate the phonograph. Back in the 18th century composers like Mozart were writing pieces for musical clocks and mechanical organs – devices that reproduce the musical style of the time more accurately than musical notation.

However, the audience at this morning’s performance were not confronted with an array of mechanical instruments to listen to. The first three works were modern arrangements of Mozart’s ‘mechanical’ music, starting with Philip Cashian’s realisation of his Andante for musical clock K616, and played by the New London Chamber Ensemble.

Sally Beamish’s arrangement of his Adagio for glass harmonica K356 sounded less ethereal and mesmerising when played on wind instruments rather than on musical glasses. The Fantasia for mechanical organ K594 in honour of Field Marshal Gideon von Loudon , arranged by Martin Butler, began with a solemn funeral march, but also had its livelier moments.

Settala’s Machine, a original composition by Philip Cashian, focused on a different type of mechanical device, the devilish automata in Castello Sforzesco in Milan which roll their eyes and breathe smoke. Students from the Royal Academy of Music joined the Ensemble under Quentin Poole’s direction to produce sounds that were at times gruesome and blood curdling. In the the flesh the automata are doubtless even more terrifying.

After the interval even more Royal Academy wind players plus a double bass player came on stage to perform Mozart’s Serenade in B flat K361. This may well have been played at the Mozarts’ wedding breakfast – a perfect choice for such a festive occasion. The musicians, both young and more experienced, made the most of the wonderful sonorities and melodic variety of the expansive serenade in a superb performance which quickly banished the spectre of Settala’s Satan machines.

Roger Jones
The Gloucestershire Echo

Cheltenham Festival Concert

We are just back from our concert at the 2014 Cheltenham Music Festival. What a wonderful atmosphere! Thank you so much to everyone who attended. We felt that this was one of the most appreciative, enthusiastic and lovely audiences we have ever had the pleasure of playing for.

The project was the culmination of a lot of work for us, and for the students from the Royal Academy of Music, who joined us for parts of the concert. The programme began with three of the Mozart arrangements for Wind Quintet that we have had written for us by several contemporary composers, including Sally Beamish, Martin Butler and Philip Cashian. We then finished the first half with ‘Settala’s Machine’, a Wind Dectet we commissioned from Philip Cashian in order to give young wind players the opportunity to perform side-by-side with us. For this we were joined by the very talented Notus Winds, a student wind quintet at the Royal Academy of Music.

The second half consisted of Mozart’s Serenade ‘Gran Partita’ for 13 Winds, well, actually it’s for 12 wind instruments and double bass, but who’s counting! We were joined by additional musicians from the Royal Academy of Music for this extensive 50-minute-long work, although we must say the 50 minutes flew by!

We are so delighted to have performed at the Festival, and that our choice of programme gave these highly talented young musicians the opportunity to perform at such a prestigious event. We couldn’t have asked for harder working colleagues, or for such beautiful music-making!


New London Chamber Ensemble @ Cheltenham Festival

Members of the New London Chamber Ensemble, Notus Winds, and students from the Royal Academy of Music. Taken outside the Pittville Pump Room at the Cheltenham Festival. Also here is Quentin Poole, who brought his great directing skills to this concert!

‘Telling Tales’ – Musical Stories With Narration

We are performing a really entertaining concert at Kings Place on Saturday 17th May, at 3pm. Entitled ‘Telling Tales’, this concert is a family-friendly programme full of animal fun, unwrapping and exploring music of the last 150 years. The programme includes the wonderful classic Carnival of the Animals by French composer Saint-Saëns, one of the best-loved works of the nineteenth century and a kids favourite. Saint-Saëns even had to apologise to his publishers for not yet finishing his Third Symphony – writing Carnival of the Animals was simply ‘too much fun.’  This arrangement unwraps and uncovers new sounds in the familiar melodies, bringing to life tortoises, elephants, kangaroos and the elegant swan.

Prokofiev’s children’s story from Russia, Peter and the Wolf, tells the story of a lonely boy as he outwits a hungry fox with the help of some animal friends. Each character has their own special musical theme to listen out for as Peter’s adventure is narrated.

There are more misbehaving animals in Berio’s Opus Number Zoo, where the musicians are also our actors. With the whole room as their stage, they transform into fighting tomcats, a grumbling grey mouse and a silly chicken.

To round off the afternoon is a wonderfully witty composition by Martin Butler based on Roald Dahl’s collection of poems Dirty Beasts.

Please click here to book tickets.



Cheltenham Festival – Tickets On Sale Now!

Tickets are on sale now for our concert at this year’s Cheltenham Music Festival, at which we will be performing a ‘Mechanical Mozart’ themed programme. The concert includes our specially-commissioned wind dectet by Philip Cashian, entitled ‘Settala’s Machine’, for which we will be joined by Notus Winds, a Wind Quintet comprising musicians from London’s Royal Academy of Music. Additional musicians from the Royal Academy will join us for the final piece of the concert, Mozart’s Serenade No.10 ‘Gran Partita’

Mozart arr. Cashian Andante for mechanical organ
Mozart arr. Beamish Adagio for glass harmonica
Mozart arr. Butler Adagio/Allegro for mechanical organ
Philip Cashian Dectet ‘Settala’s Machine’

Mozart Serenade No 10 ‘Gran Partita’

Click here to book tickets

Workshop at South Hampstead High School

We had a brilliant time at our recent workshop with students at South Hampstead High School. We ran sectionals with their wind players, plus a masterclass, with a little concert to round off the day. The students were very talented, and great to work with. We loved how interested they were in learning performance techniques and stagecraft, as well as developing their musical skills. It’s always inspiring to work with young musicians who show this much promise!

Auditions at the Royal Academy of Music

We are looking forward to meeting young wind quintets at the Royal Academy of Music next week! We will be listening to them play in preparation for our forthcoming collaboration at the Cheltenham Festival in July. We’re performing a full programme of wind music and will be joined by students from the Royal Academy of Music for performances of Mozart’s Serenade ‘Gran Partita’ and our specially-commissioned piece ‘Settala’s Machine’ by Philip Cashian. Keep an eye on our Concerts page for more info.