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Aldeburgh joins the dots …

An evening joining the dots between music genres and digital art forms, and exploring the worlds of electronic music, contemporary classical practice and interactive visual arts, all taking place on a Cold War air base – that’s Faster Than Sound at the Aldeburgh Festival. It took place on Saturday, see more pictures of the event here, and read the background story here.    

Mystery of pioneering black conductor

Rudolph Dunbar (right), who died in 1988, was the first black musician to conduct the Berlin and London Philharmonic Orchestras, he wrote a best selling book on the clarinet, was an acclaimed jazz musician, and a contemporary composer. Yet today he isn’t even mentioned in the standard music reference books, and is only remembered as a black activist – […]

New music for prepared piano

For the full story on the new aleatoric work seen being performed above on a Bösendorfer at the Two Moors Festival in the UK, take An Overgrown Path. Image credit BBC News 

Peter Paul who?

Vienna born conductor and composer Peter Paul Fuchs died in Greensboro, North Carolina on March 28 aged 90. For an appreciation of his music by John McLaughlin Williams follow An Overgrown Path. 

The most satisfying medium of all

Why a String Quartet? What is it that has given it its exalted reputation and mystique? Why have so many composers regarded it as the perfect medium of expression, though it is perhaps the most demanding to write for? And why do distinguished artists often prefer to work as a team in a first class […]

New positions for a string quartet

Vanessa Vanessa Lann emails – Today is the world premiere of my string quartet, Landscape of a Soul’s Remembering. In this work there are six separate locations on the stage where the musicians will stand or sit throughout the performance, changing to new positions between each of the four movements. At each spot there is […]

Opera for the PlayStation generation

The big news in London this weekend is a £1 million (almost $2m) tie-up between English National Opera and Sony PlayStation to put games consoles into the foyer of the hallowed London Coliseum. This is an opera house renown for its shock tactics, as the production shot from their Don Giovanni here shows. Of course, anything to reach a […]

John Ogdon, born January 27th 1937

John Ogdon was born, seventy years ago, on January 27th 1937. The following words were written by him in 1981. “Here then…are some of the harsh facts behind the words ‘severe mental illness’ and ‘serious nervous breakdown’ which the press has been using about me so often lately. Not that I am complaining about the press! – I […]

Equality of the composing sexes

Five minutes before Elisabeth Lutyens appeared live on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Start the Week’ in 1979 she threatened to denounce Russell Harty as a ‘homosexual interviewer’ if he mentioned the phrase ‘lady composer'; thankfully Harty avoided using the words when the programme was on air. Lutyens was a larger than life personality who pioneered serial techniques in […]

Happy New Year from An Overgrown Path

For articles on every one of the contemporary composers pictured above, and more, click on Overgrown Path’s People of the Year for 2006.