Wigmore Hall Fondation Hoffmann Commissioning Scheme

Wigmore Hall further expands ambitious commissioning scheme

Wigmore Hall redoubles its commitment to new chamber compositions in 2012 and beyond with extensive programme of commissions and co-commissions.

Fondation Hoffmann’s major commissioning gift continues to bear fruit with forthcoming premieres of new works by Julian Anderson, Peter Eötvös, Jonathan Harvey, Anna Meredith, Nico Muhly, Wolfgang Rihm, Judith Weir and Jörg Widmann.

Wigmore Hall plans to present up to 15 commissions per season from 2013.

“Nothing lasts, unless it is incessantly renewed,” Charles de Gaulle once observed. The twin spirits of tradition and renewal are ever present at Wigmore Hall, where masterworks of the chamber music canon find fresh interpretations and major additions to the repertoire are brought to life. Our 2012/13 Season is set to deliver more than thirty world and national premieres together with extensive surveys of the work of George Benjamin and Huw Watkins. The tally of first performances alone underlines the Hall’s status as a leading commissioner of chamber music compositions. Likewise, the range of composers represented and the inventive quality of their scores bear witness to the value of Wigmore Hall’s contribution to the creation of new works.

John Gilhooly & Luke Bedford imageWigmore Hall’s commitment to contemporary music is reflected in its long and distinguished history of presenting the world and UK premieres of works by living composers.

The Hall’s archives contain first performance details for works such as Elgar’s Piano Quintet and String Quartet (1919); Vaughan Williams’ Household Music (1941); Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (1942), Serenade for tenor, horn and strings (1943), String Quartet No.2 (1945) and Holy Sonnets of John Donne (1945), and more recent works by, among others, Birtwistle, Carter, Goehr, Holt, MacMillan, Matthews, Matthews, Maxwell Davies and Turnage. The account of UK performances given at Wigmore Hall includes Janácek’s The Diary of One who Disappeared and Sonata for violin and piano; Bartók’s six string quartets; Schoenberg’s String Quartet No.2; Debussy’s Violin Sonata; Copland’s Contrasts, and Richard Strauss’s Sextet from Capriccio.

Brett Dean imageThe range and amount of new music presented at Wigmore Hall was strengthened six years ago with the launch of a programming policy dedicated to contemporary chamber music and song. Wigmore Hall Director John Gilhooly signalled his intent in 2008 by appointing Luke Bedford as the venue’s first composer-in-residence. Days and series devoted to the work of living composers, Elliott Carter, Brett Dean, Kevin Volans, James MacMillan and Jörg Widmann among them, gave momentum to a project that has swiftly established Wigmore Hall’s status as a leading international centre for new chamber music and song.

Wigmore Hall’s new music programming reflects the ambitious scope of its commissioning and co-commissioning plans, underpinned since 2008 by transformational funding from the Fondation Hoffmann and the wholehearted support of its President, Swiss businessman, conservationist and philanthropist, André Hoffmann.

“I felt it would be a good idea for the Fondation to support something at Wigmore Hall over a period of years and John Gilhooly suggested providing a budget that would allow a serious attempt to develop contemporary chamber music and song repertoire there, with a European impact in terms of co-commissioning and touring,” he comments. “John and I were very eager to do this and there was a meeting of minds between us. Wigmore Hall not only offers an ideal context where new work is introduced by fine artists before a large audience but also creates co-commissions with other concert halls, concert series and festivals. This gives these works the chance to become established in the repertoire.”

Julian Anderson imageThe Hall’s list of recent world firsts contains landmark compositions by everyone from Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies, Kurtág and Musgrave to Anderson, Fujikura, Suckling and Turnage. Thanks to Fondation Hoffman’s commissioning gift, Wigmore Hall is set to present the premieres of new scores by, among others, Andres, Hosokawa, Muhly, Matthews and Saunders during the 2012/13 Season. Future Wigmore Hall / Fondation Hoffmann commissions include works by Julian Anderson (who will succeed Luke Bedford as composer-in-residence from Autumn 2013), Eötvös, Meredith, Rihm, Weir and Widmann. New scores by Benjamin, Reich and Venables are among other works scheduled to be premiered at the venue in future seasons, as well as closer relationships with Ensemble Intercontemporain, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and NMC Recordings. Celebrations of Mantovani and Rihm are also scheduled for future seasons.

Nico Muhly image“We are redoubling our efforts to commission new chamber works over the years ahead,” comments John Gilhooly. “Our commissioning scheme, thanks to our relationship with Fondation Hoffmann and co-commissions with other partners, is already the most extensive in Europe for chamber music. It will continue to develop and grow as an integral part of Wigmore Hall’s programming. We plan to present up to 15 commissions per season from 2013 and make Wigmore Hall one of the world’s foremost centres for contemporary chamber music.”

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