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World premiere feast in Bangor

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Nicola Heywood Thomas Nicola Heywood Thomas | 16:04 UK time, Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I was in Bangor last Friday for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales concert at the Prichard-Jones Hall. It was the final concert of this year's Bangor New Music Festival and included three world premières - a cello concerto by Adrian Williams, a piece called Number Nine Dream by Andrew Lewis and Hologram by Guto Puw.

Guto runs the New Music Festival and also lectures at Bangor University. He's just come to the end of his term as Composer in Residence with the BBC NOW - the first time the orchestra's ever had anyone in that role - and Hologram was the last of three works he was commissioned to write during that time.

I talked to Guto for this week's Radio Wales Arts Show and he offers a fascinating insight into the world of contemporary music and the relationship between composer and players. He's often called an avant-garde composer but when I used that phrase he pulled a face!

Audiences tend to be a bit scared of contemporary music - especially brand new works but I can tell you that Guto's latest piece, Hologram is well worth hearing. In fact I really enjoyed all the music last Friday as did everyone in the hall I think.

I just wish I'd been able to be in Bangor on 20 March when the Festival staged sessions called New Music for Babies aimed at children aged six months to five years old. It included a performance of Guto's piece, Music For Prams, which "explored the sonic properties of two prams"  - sounds fascinating!

The Radio Wales Arts Show on Thursday 31 March features Guto Puw and his music.


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