Tuesday 1 November 2016, 8pm
Alex Hills, OutsideIn (world premiere)
Ruth Crawford Seeger
Ayan-ool Sam performing traditional throat singing from Tuva, Siberia
Ayan-ool Sam was born in 1983 in the Erzin district of southern Tuva. When his parents noticed his interest in xöömei (Tuvan throat singing) they moved to the city of Kyzyl so that he could attend class with the master singer Kongar-ool. There he became Bady-Dorzhu Ondar’s classmate, and the two musicains have now shared the stage for 25 years as Alash Ensemble, alongside Ayan Shirizhik. Ayan-ool has won numerous competitions and was given the nickname “Golden Throat” by Bela Fleck during the two groups’ tours together. Ayan-ool was named People’s Xöömeizhi (throat singer) of the Republic of Tuva in 2016.
12 Ensemble has developed a reputation as London’s foremost un-conducted string orchestra. This bold and versatile group is built around a core of twelve of the city’s finest chamber musicians. The ensemble has recently performed at the Paris Philharmonie, Kings Place London and several UK festivals. Winners of Help Musicians’ Emerging Excellence Award in 2014, the group was Ensemble in Residence at the Forge in 2014-15, collaborating with international artists including the tenor Nicky Spence, the pianist Mei Yi Foo and the violist Simon Rowland-Jones. The ensemble began 2016 performing “Vivaldi Recomposed” alongside the composer Max Richter at the Philharmonie de Paris, then travelled to Iceland for a HEIMA artistic residency. The group’s debut album, featuring works by Walton, Woolrich and the young British composer Kate Whitley, will be released soon.
Described by Tempo as “a composer of interesting and considerable gifts”, Alex Hills is based in London, where he is a lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music, directing the theory and analysis programme. His music has been played at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Southbank Centre to the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and the German SWR, featured on the BBC4 Classic Britannia series and recorded on the American Innova label. He has worked with a wide range of ensembles worldwide, recently including Plus-Minus, EXAUDI, Vertix Sonore and Mosaik in Europe, and Earplay and Either/Or in America. He particularly enjoys developing long-term projects with performers, for instance the violinist Aisha Orazbayeva, the cellist Lucy Railton and the pianist Roderick Chadwick. These collaborations formed a major part of his first portrait CD, featuring chamber music from 2008-13, released on Carrier Records. Orazbayeva is the featured soloist in Hills’ new work OutsideIn, which receives its world premiere tonight.
Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953) studied piano as a child and was self-taught as a composer until she entered the American Conservatory. After early works influenced by Alexander Scriabin, she wrote several serial pieces, including the String Quartet (1931). She married the musicologist Charles Seeger in 1931, becoming the folk singer Pete Seeger’s stepmother. She composed little after that but became an influential curator of American folk music.