The New London Chamber Ensemble are delighted to welcome its newest member, Fraser Gordon!
Fraser initially studied violin at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and upon graduation returned to study bassoon, graduating with First Class Honours and being awarded the Peter Morrison Prize for Excellence. After several busy years freelancing in Scotland, he was appointed to his current post as Principal Contrabassoon of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011, serving on the Board of Directors for five years. He is a regular guest player with orchestras around the UK as well as participating in several recent projects with the World Orchestra for Peace. Fraser is a member of staff at the Royal Academy of Music and is an active musician in the RPO’s Community & Education programme: RPO Resound.
Fresh from a recent successful performance with the NLCE at the Big Malarkey Festival, Fraser says he is “looking forward to working with the group on their exciting future projects including newly commissioned works written especially for NLCE as well as getting to perform some gems from the existing wind chamber repertoire.”
The NLCE brought an exciting world of musical stories to Hull’s Big Malarkey Festival in June 2019! Enthusiastic children of all ages were taken along a very special musical journey: the first programme opened with Opus Number Zoo, brought to life with the narration and acting of the performers; this was followed by a fun (but slightly scary!) performance of Peter and the Wolf, wonderfully narrated by the talented Victoria Newlyn, and closing with a breathtaking Flight of the Bumble Bee. For the second performance, the NLCE were joined by pianist Martin Butler in an engaging rendition of Dirty Beasts, performed alongside a BSL interpreter. The ensemble brought music, fun and creativity to the festival, and the performances were well attended, as well as very much enjoyed—and not only by the little ones!
2020 is a year of celebration! The NLCE is going to be 20, and Beethoven is going to be 250!
To mark our 20th anniversary in 2020, which is also the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, we are producing a new commissioning and research project where we will look at what Beethoven’s deafness meant to him in his life and work, and explore the experiences of current artists and composers working with hearing loss.
We are working with partners such as Dame Evelyn Glennie and Music and the Deaf in researching the stories of people with hearing loss today, and developing a concert and workshop experience that allows the project to be toured in a way that allows as many people as possible to enjoy and engage with the performances (including people with hearing loss). We are exploring techniques for concerts such as live captioning, BSL-based interpretation of the music, and visual effects, and will be offering bespoke pre-concert workshops by the NLCE and Music and the Deaf; we are applying for funding to provide this enhanced, accessible concert experience. The result will be uplifting, explorative, and engaging; bringing the music of Beethoven and his contemporaries to people who might not otherwise have been able to enjoy it, and bringing Beethoven’s story into the context of the present day through interviews and new commissions.
Get in touch if you would like us to bring this exciting new project to you!
We are delighted to be returning to Hull Chamber Music, following our sell-out concerts during Hull City of Culture 2017, with a riveting theatrical take on chamber music – a majestic procession to Byrd’s Pavane & Galliard, a thrilling staged performance of Berio’s Opus No Zoo which takes the performers around the stage and beyond and a unique performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous Flight of the Bumble Bee.
From Byrd to the Bees
7.30pm, Thursday 8 November 2018
Middleton Hall, University of Hull
Tickets are on sale now at: https://www.hullboxoffice.com/events/hull-chamber-music-from-byrd-to-the-bees
In July 2018, we were delighted to work with the Moriarty Wind Quintet who are currently Leverhulme Chamber Music Fellows at the RAM, on a professional recording of the dectet the NLCE commissioned from Philip Cashian: Settala’s Machine, as well as a film about the project. Manfredo Settala (1600-1680) was an Italian nobleman and collector of oddities as well as a skilled maker of automata. His most famous invention was a mechanical devil which can still be seen on display at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. In seventeenth century Italy automata were theologically and culturally familiar things and mechanical devils were rife. Poised in sacristies, they were grotesque and bawdy, made horrible faces, howled and stuck out their tongues to instil fear in the hearts of sinners. The Satan- machines rolled their eyes and flailed their arms and wings, some even had moveable horns and crowns and breathed smoke through their nostrils.
Having premiered the dectet at the RWCMD, we have since performed it at the Cheltenham Festival, Trinity College, Junior College and Academy and with members of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra. The film has been made in the spectacular new Angela Burgess Recital Room at the Royal Academy, and will be available soon!
The NLCE were joined by acclaimed actor Simon Callow and composer and pianist Martin Butler for a sell-out performance of their ‘Telling Tales: Stories with Musical Narration’ programme as part of Hull City of Culture 2017.
Performing at the newly refurbished Middleton Hall at the University of Hull, Simon, Martin and the NLCE enjoyed a rapturous welcome from an audience of children of all ages, along with their grown-ups, and regular chamber music enthusiasts. The University of Hull said “We are delighted that this concert brought in such a wide audience, many of whom were new to concerts at the University. This was one of the highlights of our City of Culture programme.”
We were delighted to perform a bespoke programme commemorating 100 years since the end of World War I, on Monday 25 June 2018, as part of the inaugural Summer Music in City Churches Festival. We received a warm welcome from the audience and it was a pleasure to perform in the beautiful St Stephen Walbrook.
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