ECHOS – BCMG NEXT @ CENTRALA is brought to you as part of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group’s NEXT study course, in collaboration with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The NEXT study course offers a unique 1 year training programme for music students and professional musicians, looking for a career as performers of contemporary music.

“The echo is, to some extent, an original sound, and therein is the magic and charm of it.”
This quote, from Hendy David Thoreau’s nineteenth century memoir Walden; or Life in the Woods, is from the book’s third chapter; “sounds”. It was this chapter which was part of composer Julian Anderson’s inspiration for his clarinet quartet Scherzo (with trains) a piece which also makes use of the rhythms of high-speed trains.

The idea of an echo is very much prevalent in Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s atmospheric string trio Spectra, which the composer describes as an ‘ecosystem of materials that are carried from one performer – or performers – to the next.’

Echoes of the past abound in Harrison Birtwistle’s Duets for Storab, named after an ancient Viking prince, who – legend has it – sought refuge on the Hebridean isle of Raasay but was chased down and killed by the hostile islanders. Having previously lived on the island, this was the last music Birtwistle completed there while calling it home.

Immerse yourself in these evocative sounds, as our NEXT musicians perform in the vibrant surroundings of Digbeth’s Centrala Gallery.

Julian Anderson, Scherzo with trains (1993) 9’

Clarinet: Heather Ryall

Clarinet: George Blakesley

Basset Horn: Beth Nichol

Bass Clarinet: Emily Wilson

Edmund Finnis, Brother (2021/2015) 11’

Violin: Claudia Dehnke

Viola: Cameron Howe

Harrison Birtwistle, Duets for Storab (1983) 12’

Flute: Leila Hooton

Flute: Rebecca Speller

Franco Donatoni, Soft (1989) 10’

Bass Clarinet: Heather Ryall

Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Spectra (2017) 9’

Violin: Olivia Jago

Viola: Cameron Howe

Cello: Carwyn Jones