The NYCGB New Music Programme enriches the choral tradition with annual commissions for one or more of our choirs from leading composers. This commitment has led to the creation of striking music by Richard Allain, Jonathan Dove, Sir Karl Jenkins, Simon Kahn, Tarik O'Regan, Roxana Panufnik and Sir John Tavener among others, and has twice been honoured by the Performing Rights Society Foundation’s David Bedford Music Education Award.
For singers, for composers, for audiences, for everyone
The benefits of NYCGB's New Music Programme are widely shared. Our singers, first and foremost, experience the challenge of learning and performing brand-new music, the benefits of direct interaction in rehearsal with composers, and the excitement and prestige of giving concert premieres.Composers find the prospect of writing for our large vocal forces intrinsically exciting; they also benefit from NYCGB's readiness to work with untraditional genres and styles and to engage with composers who may be relatively new to choral writing. Some additionally benefit from the release of recordings of their works via NYCGB's own range of digital single tracks, available on stores and services including Apple Music and Spotify.
Audiences, of course, get to enjoy the results - as one composer put it: "you can't argue with nearly 200 kids just giving it all they have!" And in due course the new works take their place in the common repertoire, available to and enjoyable by the wider musical community in the UK and abroad.
New Music Focus: Uncertain Sea (John Casken, 2014)
The National Youth Choir gave the world premiere of Uncertain Sea by John Casken (text by Katrina Porteous) in August 2014. The commission was inspired by NYCGB's wish to create music out of its local heritage in the North East of England (we are based in Durham). The choice of Casken and Porteous, both from the region, led to a beautiful meditation in words and music on the Northumbrian fishing tradition, community and seascape. NYCGB gave a second performance of the work at the Snape Maltings in 2015 and has made the first recording, to be released in November 2015. Copies of the score are available for hire (see below).
New Music Focus: She Crossed My Lost Heart (Simon Kahn, 2013)
For NYCGB, the only limits on choral music are those of the creative imagination. Appropriately, non-'classical' commissions are as central to our New Music Programme as 'classical' ones, with both challenging our members in rehearsal and performance and affording memorable concert experiences to singers and listeners alike. In Spring 2014, NYCGB approached the world beatboxing legend Simon 'Shlomo' Kahn to create his first-ever work for unaccomapnied choir, resulting in a unique performance piece involving extended vocal techniques and physical choreography. Copies of the score are available for hire (see below).
Watch the premiere of She Lost My Crossed Heart by the National Youth Training Choir:
New Music Focus: Connections (Will Lang, Niopha Keegan, 2012-15)
Together with award-winning folk musicians Will Lang and Niopha Keegan, NYCGB created a series of new arrangements for choir and folk band of traditional English regional melodies.
Opening in the North East in 2012, the series proceeded to the South East (2013), North West (2014) and South West (2015). The performances proved to be a highlight of our concerts, with many featuring specially-created dances, and successfully introduced new audiences to the beauties of local vocal traditions.
NYCGB New Music Programme commissions
|Uncertain Sea||John Casken||2014|
|She Lost My Crossed Heart||Simon 'Shlomo' Kahn||2013|
|Sports Shorts||Ben Parry||2013|
|The Music Makers||Roxana Panufnik||2011|
|Scatty||Sir Karl Jenkins||2011|
|Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis||Sir John Tavener||2010|
|Cantus Maris Baltici||Gabriel Jackson||2009|
|The Stolen Child+||Eric Whitacre||2008|
|I Sleep, But My Heart Waketh||Tarik O'Regan||2006|
+ The Stolen Child was co-commissioned by The King's Singers, who performed the premiere with NYCGB at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, conducted by Eric Whitacre.
NYCGB New Music Programme supporters
PRS for Music Foundation
Ambache Charitable Trust - raising the profile of music by women
John S Cohen Foundation
Pye Charitable Settlement
The Golsoncott Foundation
The Leche Trust
The Idlewild Trust
The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust