2012: EXAUDI celebrates 10 years

JAMES WEEKS writes:
In a draughty London church on a chilly February evening in 2002, a few hardy souls watched the newly-formed EXAUDI take its first tentative steps into the contemporary music world…Ten years on we are celebrating our first decade with a hugely exciting, year-long programme of events that will take us all around Europe. Our status as one of the pre-eminent European vocal ensembles for new music is affirmed by two high-profile projects with musikFabrik: performances of Wolfgang Rihm’s monumental Vigilia, followed by the premiere performances of a new commission from Brian Ferneyhough. In July we will make our first visit to the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, for 60 years the crucible of avant-garde music in Europe. In September our first operatic foray will see us working with Les Percussions de Strasbourg on the premiere performance of Stefano Gervasoni’s Limbus Limbo, and we make our first visit to Amsterdam in November for a mixed programme of early and new repertoire.
Back at home there is a strong focus on the music of John Cage (born in 1912) which will see us return once again to both Aldeburgh and Spitalfields Festivals with all-Cage events. Experimentalism also features in the work we are doing at universities and music colleges up and down the country, headlined by major collaborations with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the University of Huddersfield and Leeds College of Music. One of the most exciting projects of the year will undoubtedly be Aaron Cassidy’s new work as part of the PRS for Music Foundation’s ‘New Music 20×12’ commissioning scheme for the London Cultural Olympiad, premiering at the South Bank in July.

In the midst of our Anniversary year are four special projects which are particularly close to our heart, projects we have grown from seed ourselves. In February we will return to the recording studio to complete a disc of European masters – Rihm, Nono, Scelsi – that has been in progress for several years. This is one of our first recordings of music from outside the British scene and is very important to us, containing music that has been at the heart of our repertoire for most of the last ten years.

In March we return to Kings Place’s path-breaking Out Hear! series for another instalment of our Exposure showcase programme, this time featuring a premiere from Joanna Bailie. In August we are in the studio again, thanks to a grant from the University of Huddersfield, to record Aaron Cassidy’s new work and some of our Exposure commissions from the past few years.

And finally, on 21st October we are putting on an official birthday bash at London’s Wigmore Hall. At this event we shall pull out all the stops with a programme of Italian Madrigals old and new, uniting the two repertoires for which we have become best known: early vocal music and cutting-edge contemporary. Our aim is to put together a modern-day Italian madrigal book, inviting a cross-section of the world’s leading composers and future stars to contribute, and performed alongside music by Monteverdi, Gesualdo and Marenzio. Five composers, including Christian Wolff and Michael Finnissy, will be writing for this event, their works forming the foundation of a collection that will be added to over the next few years, eventually growing into a substantial document of the music of our time.

Thanks go to the PRS for Music Foundation, Britten-Pears Foundation, Holst Foundation, Leche Trust and RVW Trust for their generous support.

 

PREMIERES in 2012
JOANNA BAILIE
AARON CASSIDY
BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH
MICHAEL FINNISSY
ROBERT FOKKENS
STEFANO GERVASONI
LARRY GOVES
BRYN HARRISON
EVAN JOHNSON
NIKLAS SEIDL
MATTHEW SHLOMOWITZ
JAMES WEEKS
CHRISTIAN WOLFF