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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC Proms 2010: new music

Leif Ove Andsnes gives the UK premiere of Brent Sorensen's piano concerto. Photo credit: Lorenzo Agius

A golden age of British contemporary music...

There are major premieres for 19 living British composers in 2010, including 12 BBC commissions, almost double the number in recent seasons. This strongly reflects the vibrancy of the composing talent on the current British scene and underlines the BBC's crucial role as the world's leading commissioner of new music and its remit to nurture UK talent.

BBC-commissioned British composers are Tansy Davies, Jonathan Dove, Alissa Firsova (Russian-born but now a British national), Graham Fitkin, Robin Holloway, Gabriel Jackson, David Matthews, Stephen Montague (American-born but a UK resident since 1974 and a British national since 2000), Thea Musgrave, Tarik O'Regan, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Huw Watkins.

There are also important premieres by Julian Anderson, George Benjamin, Cornelius Cardew, James Dillon, Simon Holt, James MacMillan and Colin Matthews, as well as major performances of works by other living British composers, including Luke Bedford, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, Oliver Knussen, Bayan Northcott and Judith Weir.

...And plenty of international new music

There are also major BBC commissions for Denmark's Hans Abrahamsen and Finland's Jouni Kaipainen, and UK premieres for Argentina's Martin Matalon, Estonia's Arvo Pärt, Israel's Betty Olivero, Sweden's Albert Schnelzer, the USA's Gunther Schuller and Denmark's Bent Sørensen, among others.

A particular highlight is Langgaard's lavish Music Of The Spheres (11 August), a large-scale work for soloists, choir, orchestra and "distant" orchestra which, though completed in 1918, has never been heard in the UK before.

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