Ryan’s music takes inspiration from conscious and unconscious memory using them to find unique approaches to composition, combining this with his love of melody and family history. Ryan is a long-time collaborator with the Vickers-Bovey Guitar Duo for whom he has written the large-scale works Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and Eight Views of the Four Seasons. The former won the 2013 John Mayer Prize, which Ryan also won in 2012 with his piece Resonance of Words.
Born in Chester in 1947, Howard Skempton has worked as a composer, accordionist, and music publisher. From 1967 he studied with Cornelius Cardew with whom he was later to become one of the founding members of the influential Scratch Orchestra. Skempton’s earliest music is associated with the English experimental tradition that, in the late 1960s, grew out of the ideas and music of Satie, Cage, and Feldman. The influence of Webern is also discernible in the extreme brevity and concision of Skempton’s music – a trait still in evidence in many of his works today.
Skempton's catalogue of works is also as diverse as it is long, ranging from pieces for solo cello (Six Figures, 1998), and guitar (Five Preludes, 1999), to the Chamber Concerto for fifteen players, the Concerto for Hurdy-Gurdy and Percussion, and Lento, premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in 1991, and performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov at the 2010 BBC Proms.
In May 2005 Skempton’s Tendrils for string quartet was awarded the prize for ‘best chamber-scale composition’ by the Royal PhilharmonicSociety, and in December 2005 it won in the chamber music category at the annual British Composer Awards. Skempton won a second British Composer Award in 2008 for The Moon is Flashing, a song cycle for tenor and orchestra commissioned by the BBC which was premiered by BBC NOW and James Gilchrist at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in September 2007 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Many of Skempton's compositions have been recorded, including the hugely successful Lento for orchestra on NMC by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the piano works performed by John Tilbury on the Sony Classical label, and Shiftwork by Ensemble Bash, also on Sony Classical. 2001 saw the release of Guild of The Flight of Song, an acclaimed choral collection performed by the choir of Queens' College Cambridge under James Weeks. Vocal group Exaudi released a disc of Skempton's choral music in September 2007, also on NMC. The recording, entitled Ben Somewhen, also featured chamber works performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
John Tilbury is a British pianist. He is considered one of the foremost interpreters of Morton Feldman's music, and since 1980 has been a member of the free improvisation group AMM.
Julian Vickers and and Daniel Bovey
Julian Vickers and Daniel Bovey are both currently studying at Birmingham Conservatoire in their fourth year, under the tuition of Mark Ashford. They have recently been described by Mark Eden of the Eden Stell Guitar Duo as ‘one of the most exciting guitar duos I have recently heard. They have beautifully effortless techniques, musicality in abundance, and that special ingredient that makes them stand out… originality!’
Students from the Royal Academy of Music
Suzie Watson Flute
Aisling Maguire Oboe
Joe Shiner Clarinet
Jonathan Farey Horn
Hannah Rankin Bassoon
Sam James Guitar
Reuben Penny Drums
Rosie Clements Keys
Emily Wright Bass
Lucille Price Sax
Harvey Hall Trumpet
Ben Ulyatt Trombone