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Spring Song Cycle26 March 2013

Spring Song Cycle

Image: Courtesy Parasol unit, 2013


Tuesday 26 March 2013, 7pm & 8pm

Building upon classical music traditions surrounding Easter and celebrating the newness of Spring, Parasol unit is delighted to present Spring Song Cycle.

This cycle of newly commissioned string 'songs' by 6 young composers offers a unique set of responses to particular works in the exhibition. Violist Stephen Upshaw will perform the cycle, guiding the audience through the space for this intimate live event.

Benjamin Graves - 'NocturNe' (In response to BROKEN CIRCLE)
Helgi Ingvarsson - 'Bráð - A Glacier´s Requiem' (In response to Recaptured from the collective)

Ruaidhri Mannion - 'a shocrú' (In response to Untitled)
Philip Venables - 'Untitled' (In response to STAR/TING/POINT)
Marc Yeats - 'hȳran' (In response to Untitled)
Raymond Yiu - 'Reach Out'
(In response to Untitled)

Stephen Upshaw
Since making his concerto debut at 17, violist Stephen Upshaw has won several competitions and played in festivals around the world including IMS Prussia Cove, Musica Nova Festival (Finland) and the Salzburg Chamber Music Festival (Austria). In recent seasons, recital and chamber music engagements have brought him to Boston’s Jordan Hall, London’s Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall and Royal Opera House, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Vienna’s Schoenberg Center. A recognized interpreter of contemporary music, Stephen has given numerous national and international premieres working closely with composers such as John Adams, Helmut Lachenmann, George Benjamin, Julian Anderson and Christian Wolff. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he was elected a Junior Fellow.

Benjamin Graves
Having achieved his Masters in Composition, with distinction, from the Guildhall School - with generous support from The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers, The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers, the Guildhall Trust and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust - Benjamin’s works have been performed widely, either by himself, as clarinettist, or others in venues and festivals across the UK and abroad including Darmstadt, Germany and Aldeburgh; Birmingham; Durham; Oxford and London’s Air Studios, Barbican, City of London Festival, LSO St. Luke’s, the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, The Place, Southbank, and the Wigmore Hall and has recently gained places on the Britten-Pears Young Artists programme and the London Symphony Orchestra's Panufnik Young Composer Scheme. He is co-founder of the critically acclaimed dance and music company Sounding Motion who perform extensively across the UK in theatres, studios and education projects.

Helgi Ingvarsson

Helgi graduated with a Mmus in music composition at Guildhall, School of Music and Drama in London in November 2012 and is currently a composition fellow at the school. His main tutor there is Matthew King along with Julian Philips, but he has also studied with Kjartan Olafsson (ISL), Rolf Martinsson (SWE) and Detlev Glanert (GER). Helgi started his formal music studies at the age of 8 when he played the Euphonium with the local brass/marching band in the town of Kópavogur, Iceland and as a teenager he attended the Reykjavik Academy of Singing and Vocal Arts as a bass-baritone.

Ruaidhri Mannion (b.1985) is an Irish composer living in London. As a musician he is fascinated by the entrancing and transcendental properties of sound, music and the act of listening. Drawing on wide range of influences, both musical and extra-musical, his work often combines live instruments and electronics to explore concepts of intuition, deep-listening and theatre. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Ken Hesketh, graduating with an MMus in Advanced Composition and awarded distinction. Recent commissions and projects include 'Occupy the Pianos', commissioned by the Association du Concours Nicati and premiered at the Bern Biennale by the award-winning Francoise-Green piano duo, and a place at the EXPERIMENTALSTUDIO Academy at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, focusing on his work in live electronics.

Philip Venables' music is often concerned with violence, politics and speech, recently described as “brutally effective” (The Times), “brutally exhilarating” (Seen & Heard), “duly playful and occasionally disturbing” (The Guardian) and “a dark and violent portrait of sexual desire” ( is the Artistic Director of Endymion, founded/directs the Fourfortytwo agency, is a member of Klangnetz Berlin, currently holds a Soundhub residency with LSO St Luke's and an AHRC research award at the Royal Academy of Music for research into violence, text and music. Performers include the BBCSO, BBC Philharmonic, LSO, London Sinfonietta, London Contemporary Opera, Ensemble Adapter (Berlin), LUX Ensemble (Vienna), BBC Singers, Black Dyke Brass Band and Rambert Dance Company.

Marc Yeats is a composer and visual artist. His intense music has been performed and commissioned around the world. He has worked with many distinguished performers, ensembles and musicians including Psappha, the London Sinfonietta, the Endymion Ensemble, Paragon Ensemble, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Tokyo City Philharmonic and Gewandhaus Radio Orchestra, among others with many broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland, European and US radio stations. Marc is Composer-in-Association with Thumb ensemble [UK] and Composer-in Association with Manchester Pride [UK]. He is Chair of DIVAcontemporary, an artist-led organisation committed to creativity and experimentation in the arts and practice-based research, working internationally, nationally and locally. Marc is a founding partner of SATSYMPH  who specialise in geo-located, interactive contemporary music and word instillations for smartphones.

Raymond Yiu (姚恩豪, b. 1973) is a composer, jazz pianist, conductor and writer on music. Born in Hong Kong, he came to England in 1990 and started piano lessons at the age of four. He began writing music as a teenager, and took up composing again while he was studying at Imperial College. As a composer, Raymond is mostly self-taught. He received informal consultations from several composers including Julian Anderson, Lukas Foss, David Matthews and David Sawer. He is the recipient of the spnm’s 2003 George Butterworth Award, a Bliss Trust Composer Bursary 2009, and a scholarship from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he is currently undertaking a doctorate under the supervision of Julian Anderson.


Booking is essential - spaces are strictly limited.
There will be two performances, starting at 7pm and 8pm. Each performance will last for 30 minutes.

£7/£6 concessions