“What do you do when a composer announces that the work you’ve just commissioned for 15 musicians will need 1,000 performers; or asks for the premiere to be in a boarded-up shop?” writes Stephen Newbould in Saturday’s (4/30) Guardian (U.K.). Newbould is currently in his final season as artistic director of England’s Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.  “Smile, breathe deeply, and cheer…. This urge to explore is what makes contemporary music so exhilarating and so unexpected…. David Lang certainly threw down the gauntlet with his 2014 BCMG commission, Crowd Out…. David confided that the piece that he really wanted to write was ‘for 1,000 people shouting in the street!’ … It’s one of the premieres of which I am most proud…. Young composer Shiori Usui … was happy for her new piece Deep to be performed in the regular CBSO Centre concert hall, but … since this was an ‘underwater’ piece … [she requested that] we clear the chairs from the auditorium, light it dark blue, mix audience and performers around the floor and exploit the balconies of the CBSO Centre for different ‘depth levels.’… The result was hypnotic.”

Posted May 3, 2016