Wigmore Hall announces 16 composers selected through its Lockdown Commissions Scheme

Wigmore Hall’s 120th anniversary celebrations culminate today with the winners announcement of the largest ever one-off commissioning scheme in the history of the hall.

16 composers aged 24 to 63, spanning five nationalities, have been chosen as winners of Wigmore Hall’s ‘Lockdown Commissions Scheme.’ Chosen from over 700 applications that responded to Wigmore Hall’s October 2020 call-out, each winning composer, over the age of 18 never before commissioned by Wigmore Hall, will write new music reflecting each individual lockdown experience to be premiered at the hall over the next four years.

The 16 winning composers are:

Patricia Alessandrini
Francesco Antonioni (49, Italian)
Katherine Balch (29, American)
Nicholas Bentz (27, American)
Jocelyn Campbell (30, British)
Alexander Campkin (36, British)
Tom Coult (32, British)
Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade (32, British)
Lawrence Dunn (30, British)
Samantha Fernando (36, British)
Thomas Gibbs (26, British)
Stewart Goodyear (43, Canadian)
Hilda Paredes (63, British/Mexican)
Alex Paxton (30, British)
Shruthi Rajasekar (24, American)
Alex Tay (26, British)

Having commissioned or co-commissioned over 600 new works since 2005, Wigmore Hall’s ongoing commitment to new music is further underlined by the ‘Lockdown Commissions Scheme.’

John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall, said:
“The ‘Lockdown Commissions Scheme’ is the largest single initiative Wigmore Hall has ever undertaken to find new voices, and a fitting way to celebrate an important anniversary as we look to the future. It has been a great joy to hear new music of such quality and invention from such diverse talents across the globe. I am looking forward to programming the premieres with these new friends.

I must thank the distinguished members of the jury for their time and expertise. I am also particularly grateful to the Marchus Trust for underpinning this scheme with a lead gift, and supporting Wigmore Hall in this major new initiative for contemporary music.”

The panel of judges are:

Richard Baker (composer)
Charlotte Bray (composer)*
Toks Dada (Classical Music Programmer)
Daniel Fardon (composer)*
Dani Howard (composer)*
Daniel Kidane (composer)
James Murphy (Chief Executive, Royal Philharmonic Society)
Laurence Osborn (composer)
Josephine Stephenson (composer)*
Freya Waley-Cohen (composer)
Errollyn Wallen (composer)
*Round one

Wigmore Hall’s Lockdown Commissions Scheme is supported by a lead gift from the Marchus Trust.

Biographies

Patricia Alessandrini

LC Francesco AntonioniPatricia Alessandrini

Patricia Alessandrini is a composer/sound artist creating compositions, installations, and performance situations which are most often interactive and theatrical. Through these intermedial formats, she actively engages with the concert music repertoire, and issues of representation, interpretation, perception, and memory. Her works are often collaborative, and engage with social and political issues. She performs research on embodied interaction and immersive audiovisual experience, including instrument design for inclusive performance.

Her works have been presented in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and over 15 European countries, in festivals such as Archipel, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Electric Spring, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Heidelberger Frühling, Gaudeamus, Mostly Mozart, Musica Strasbourg, Musiques Démesurées, Rainy Days, Salzburg Biennale, Sonorities, Wien Modern, and Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik. She is also a performer and improvisor of live electronics; she has collaborated in this latter practice with Marco Fusi, Heather Roche, Tiptoe Ensemble, and other artists.

She was composer-in-residence at the 2010 soundSCAPE festival, and in an ICELab residency with the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2012. In 2015-6, she was featured as a composer, curator and educator in four concert and outreach events of the Ensemble InterContemporain, as part of the Sound Kitchen series at the Gaîté lyrique, a centre for digital arts in Paris.

She studied composition and electronics at the Conservatorio G.B.Martini di Bologna, Conservatoire National de Strasbourg and IRCAM (Paris), and holds two PhDs, from Princeton University and the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Queens University Belfast respectively. She has taught Computer-Assisted Composition at the Accademia Musicale Pescarese, Composition with Technology at Bangor University, as a Lecturer in Sonic Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Stanford University, where she performs research at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). She serves on the international advisory board of Share Music & Performing Arts.

Her works are published by Babelscores, and may be consulted at patriciaalessandrini.com. Two portrait CDS are due for release in 2022, with Huddersfield Contemporary Records - featuring Riot Ensemble - and Another Timbre respectively.

Francesco Antonioni

LC Francesco AntonioniFrancesco Antonioni

Described as “a composer who knows what he wants and how to achieve it” (The Guardian), Francesco Antonioni is a composer of orchestral and chamber music, ballet and opera. He received commissions by major orchestras and music festivals, such as the Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), MiTo Settembre Musica (Turin and Milan), Venice Biennale (2001, 2010, 2016), and Albany Symphony Orchestra (USA). His music has been performed by Antonio Pappano, George Benjamin, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Evelyn Glennie, Sian Edwards, David Alan Miller, Yuri Bashmet, Beatrice Rana, and since 2009 has been represented and published by Ricordi. Francesco Antonioni’s music originates from intellectual curiosity and cultural investigation, blending the complex rhythms of post-minimalism into melodies with Mediterranean roots and provenance. For its rhythmical drive and lyrical character, Francesco’s music is also in high demand among choreographers and dancers. Having held lectures at Cambridge University, Cornell University, Juilliard School and Dartington International Summer School, Francesco has also established himself as a cultural figure in the past twenty years, as one of the most influential and engaging presenters on radio and television.

Katherine Balch

LC Katherine BalchKatherine Balch

Called “spellbinding” (Seen and Heard International) with “glow and poise and electric tension” (The Daily Telegraph), the music of composer Katherine Balch captures the magic of everyday sounds, inviting audiences into a sonic world characterized by imagination, discovery, and intimacy. Often inspired by literature, nature, and science, she has been described as “some kind of musical Thomas Edison – you can just hear her tinkering around in her workshop, putting together new sounds and textural ideas” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Katherine’s work has been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, Oregon, Albany, Indianapolis, and Tokyo. She has been featured on IRCAM’s ManiFeste, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and Festival MANCA in Europe, Suntory Summer Arts and Takefu Music Festival in Japan, and the Aspen, Norfolk, Santa Fe, and Tanglewood music festivals in the United States. 

Katherine is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Elliot Carter Rome Prize Fellowship. She recently completed her tenure as composer-in-residence for the California Symphony, where she was lauded by the Mercury News as a “superbly gifted composer [with] a compositional voice that is truly unique and full of wonder.” She held the 2017-2019 William B. Butz Composition Chair at Young Concert Artists, Inc. Other recognitions include awards and grants from ASCAP, BMI, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Chamber Music America, the Barlow Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Her music is published exclusively worldwide by Schott Music.

Deeply committed to pursuing inclusive, engaging pedagogical practices that empower students through creative music-making, Katherine has served on the faculties of Mannes School of Music, the Walden School, and Bard College Conservatory Prep. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Columbia University. When not making or listening to music, she can be found hiking, cooking, or playing with her feline sidekick, Zarathustra.

Nicholas Bentz

LC Nicholas BentzNicholas Bentz

Nick Bentz (b. 1994, Charleston, South Carolina) is a composer and violinist whose art is drawn to the remote fringes and recesses of human experience. In his work he seeks to render intimately personal spaces imbued with an individual sense of storytelling and narrative. Finding inspiration in historical materials, Nick's work explores the destructive relationship between sound artifacts and time. His art centers around the blurring, juxtaposition, and amalgamation of stylistic idioms into singular sonic statements. Nick's music has been performed by leading artists including yMusic, flutist Marina Piccinini, Charleston Symphony, Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, New Opera West, LIGAMENT, NYsoundCircuit, Jacksonville Symphony, TEMPO Ensemble, SONAR New Music Ensemble, Occasional Symphony, and Symphony Number One, and featured at Bowdoin Music Festival, Ethan Cohen Galleries, New Music on the Point, Sounding Now Festival, and Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Current projects include commissions for HOCKET, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Copland House's CULTIVATE, soprano Anika Kildegaard, Thornton EDGE, Willinger Duo, and multimedia collaborations with visual artist Sicheng Wang and filmmaker Ian Kent. His work has received top honors from the Tribeca New Music Festival, the American Prize, the iSING International Young Artists Festival, Boston New Music Initiative, Hartford Opera Theater, and American Composer’s Orchestra’s EarShot Readings. Nick was previously a Composition Teaching Artist Fellow at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and was composer-in-residence at Symphony Number One.

Nick is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University, pursuing a doctorate in Music and Multimedia Composition. He received a master’s degree in composition from the University of Southern California, serving as a teaching assistant and manager to the Thornton EDGE new music ensemble. He also earned a master's in violin from the Peabody Conservatory, receiving bachelor's degrees in violin and composition from Peabody under the tutelage of Herbert Greenberg and Kevin Puts. Nick currently studies composition privately under the tutelage of Nina Young. His mentors include Donald Crockett, Ted Hearne, Andrew Norman, Felipe Lara, and Yiorgos Vassilandonakis.

Jocelyn Campbell

LC Jocelyn CampbellJocelyn Campbell

Born in South-West London in 1990 and raised in a musical family, Jocelyn Campbell began playing and writing music at an early age. Their formative experiences in classical music, learning the double bass and playing in youth orchestras, alongside early experiences playing in bands and making electronic music provided the foundation for their eclectic compositional style. 

Jocelyn studied composition first at Middlesex university under Francois Evans and Brian Inglis and then received their Masters and PhD. in composition from King’s College London studying with Sir George Benjamin and Silvina Milstein. 

Their music has been performed by The Royal Northern Sinfonia, The Lontano Ensemble, Ensemble x.y, Ensemble Eroica and New Vialles among others. In 2019 they were commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra as part of the RPS Composers Scheme to write a piece which is due to be released on NMC Records in 2022. 

Jocelyn’s music is a synthesis of styles and influences: frequently employing quotation, collage and pastiche elements alongside more abstract techniques and sounds. Their style often aims to combine seemingly disparate influences and musical materials into a coherent, expressive and personal musical idiom.

Alexander Campkin

LC Alexander CampkinAlexander Campkin

Alexander Campkin's music, described as 'fresh and attractive' by Gramophone, has been performed or broadcast in over one hundred and fifty hundred countries. Alexander (b. 1984), studied at Oxford University, the Royal Academy of Music and the University for Performing Arts in Vienna. He has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for services to music.

His musical journey was changed forever after medical symptoms and the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis aged 17, just months before he was due to perform with the Arad Philharmonic in Romania as a viola player. 'MS changed my life. It stopped me playing viola. But it certainly didn't stop me composing.'

He was commissioned by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to compose a piece for the BBC Proms 2018 in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Other commissions include The Royal Opera House, The Tallis Scholars, The Royal Ballet Sinfonia, The London Mozart Players, English Touring Opera, The BBC Performing Arts Fund, The Swedish Arts Council, New London Children's Choir, Episcopal School of Jacksonville Florida, The Joyful Company of Singers and The Theatinerkirche Vokalkapelle Munich.

His music has been performed in the Berliner Philharmonie, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Shakespeare's Globe Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Grace Cathedral San Francisco, L'Oratoire de Louvre Paris, Tongyeong Concert Hall South Korea, Christ Cathedral California, LSO St Luke's London, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, Westminster Abbey, National Concert Hall Dublin, King's Place London, St Martin-in-the-Fields London, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine New York City, Southbank Centre and the Barbican Centre.

Tom Coult

LC Tom CoultTom Coult

Tom Coult is a composer born in London in 1988. His music has been championed by many major orchestras and ensembles, resulting in a series of acclaimed large-scale pieces including Beautiful Caged Thing for soprano Claire Booth and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Sonnet Machine for the BBC Philharmonic, and St John’s Dance (premiered by Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to open the First Night of the 2017 BBC Proms). In 2021 he was made Composer-in-Association with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra - the first major piece of his residency will be Pleasure Garden, a concerto for violinist Daniel Pioro.

Other recent works include the South Bank Sky Arts Award-shortlisted Spirit of the Staircase, for London Sinfonietta, and a String Quartet that was premiered by the Arditti Quartet in 2018 and later presented at Radio France’s 2020 Présences Festival, with Quatuor Diotima. His chamber opera, Violet, commissioned by Britten-Pears Arts and Music Theatre Wales, will receive its rescheduled premiere in 2022 at the Aldeburgh Festival and on tour. Future projects include a commission from the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade

LC Ninfea Cruttwell ReadeNinfea Cruttwell-Reade

Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade is a composer and cellist based in Edinburgh. Composing for old, new, and damaged musical instruments, her past projects have included works for symphony orchestra, viols and theorbo, percussion quartets, a homemade glass harmonica, flower pots, and a fire-damaged piano. Recent works include commissions from the Dunedin Consort, the Chelsea Music Festival in New York, and Edinburgh Youth Orchestra. Her orchestral compositions have been played by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She is currently the Presteigne Festival’s ‘Evolve’ composer for 2020–25 and a composer-in-residence at Glyndebourne.

In 2019–20 Ninfea received the Psappha Ensemble’s Peter Maxwell Davies Commission for which she composed a piece for sitar and chamber ensemble. This project was supported by the PRS Foundation’s Composers’ Fund, enabling her to purchase a sitar and take lessons with sitarist and composer Jasdeep Singh Degun. The commissioned work, Patdeep Studies, was her first attempt at exploring a raag in the Hindustani classical tradition and will be shared online by Psappha in 2021.

Ninfea has been a recipient of a Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize and of a composition fellowship from the Tanglewood Music Center. In 2018 she was commissioned to write Table Talk, a large ensemble brass work for the Tanglewood Music Festival, and her percussion quartet Hatters was programmed at the festival the following year performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra percussionists. 2019–20 saw the continued circulation of her work in the United States with performances of The Opium-Eaters by the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles, and Devil’s Minion by the Metropolis Ensemble in New York. Previous collaborations have included works for Sō Percussion and the JACK Quartet.

Trained in cello performance and the academic study of music, Ninfea holds degrees from the University of Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She is currently a doctoral candidate in music composition at Princeton University. Five Letters from Aubrey Beardsley, her song cycle for countertenor and prepared piano based on letters by the art nouveau illustrator, was filmed in Princeton and shared online in 2020.

Lawrence Dunn

LC Lawrence DunnLawrence Dunn

Lawrence Dunn (*1991) was born in Walthamstow, London. Composing and improvising from an early age, he attended Trinity College of Music, training as a pianist and percussionist, later studying at Cambridge and Huddersfield. He has taught music at Rushey Green Primary School, Catford, and currently teaches at the University of Sheffield. In 2018 he was shortlisted for the Gaudeamus Award. His music has been performed by Apartment House, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Quatuor Bozzini, Plus-Minus, Slagwerk Den Haag, Philip Thomas, and Sarah Saviet. Recent music includes a new piece for Ensemble Modern, premiered in March 2020. A work for Juliet Fraser, titled While we are both, was recently released on Huddersfield Contemporary Records. A new extended chamber project is planned for Explore Ensemble. He is based in Manchester.

Samantha Fernando

LC Samantha FernandoSamantha Fernando

Resonance and harmonic colour play a vital role in Samantha’s music. This preoccupation yields pieces with an intensely colourful and often meditative quality. Other art-forms are a constant source of inspiration which have prompted collaborations with writers, directors, choreographers and performers.

Samantha (b.1984) has worked with numerous ensembles including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Riot Ensemble, The BBC Singers, LOD Muziektheater (Ghent), Silbersee Vocal Ensemble (Amsterdam) and The London Sinfonietta. Her music has been performed at festivals here and abroad such as Aldeburgh Music, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Sounds New, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, York Late Music, Lake District Summer Music and The Oxford Lieder Festival.

In 2013, she was awarded an RPS Composition Prize and was commissioned to write a new work for the Philharmonia Orchestra as part of the Music of Today series. Samantha’s music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and released on labels NMC and Coviello Classics. In 2018 she was commissioned to write a new work, Formations, celebrating the 50th birthday of the London Sinfonietta, premiered at the Royal Festival Hall and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

In 2019, Formations was choreographed by Kristen McNally and performed by the Royal Ballet in a showcase of new dance at the Linbury Theatre, ROH. Breathing Space for symphony orchestra was premiered by the Philharmonia Orchestra in Spring 2019, conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

In 2021 Samantha was a finalist for the Arts Foundation Futures Awards. 2021 also sees the opening of Current, Rising, a new hyper-reality opera, directed by Netia Jones, designed by Jo Scotcher and produced by the Royal Opera House and Figment Productions.

www.samanthafernando.com

Thomas Gibbs

LC Thomas GibbsThomas Gibbs

Thomas Gibbs (b. 1995) is a composer, performer, and writer from the Berkshire Downs.

Following primary tuition with Berkshire Maestros, he went on to study at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His mentors have included Julian Anderson, Christopher Austin, and Harrison Birtwistle.

He has enjoyed significant recognition for his work as both composer and writer, including awards from the BBC Proms and the Royal Philharmonic Society.

In 2020, his piece Cloud Engine was nominated for an Ivors Composer Award.

Particularly interested in communal processes, he works with a rich array of musicians - student, amateur, and professional alike.

Stewart Goodyear

LC Stewart GoodyearStewart Goodyear

Proclaimed "a phenomenon" by the Los Angeles Times and "one of the best pianists of his generation" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart Goodyear is an accomplished concert pianist, improviser and composer. Mr. Goodyear has performed with, and has been commissioned by, many of the major orchestras and chamber music organizations around the world.

Last year, Orchid Classics released Mr. Goodyear's recording of his suite for piano and orchestra, "Callaloo" and his piano sonata. His recent commissions include a Piano Quintet for the Penderecki String Quartet, and a piano work for the Honens Piano Competition.

Mr. Goodyear's discography includes the complete sonatas and piano concertos of Beethoven, as well as concertos by Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Rachmaninov, an album of Ravel piano works, and an album, entitled "For Glenn Gould", which combines repertoire from Mr. Gould's US and Montreal debuts. His Rachmaninov recording received a Juno nomination for Best Classical Album for Soloist and Large Ensemble Accompaniment. Mr. Goodyear's recording of his own transcription of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker (Complete Ballet)", was chosen by the New York Times as one of the best classical music recordings of 2015. His discography is released on the Marquis Classics, Orchid Classics, and Steinway and Sons labels.

Hilda Paredes

LC Hilda ParedesHilda Paredes

Firmly established as one of the leading Mexican composers of her generation she has been based in the UK for almost 40 years. Musicians, singers and conductors frequently praise the perfect balance she achieves between brilliant compositional technique and a keen sensibility for the particular instruments and individuals for whom she writes.

While there is a testimony of constant collaboration with Mexican poets and artists in her works, she also draws inspiration from many different cultures from around the world.

The versatility of her work is manifest in a catalogue that includes electroacoustic elements, creating works at IRCAM and SWR Experimentalstudio. At CIRM, she composed her widely celebrated chamber opera Harriet, Scenes in the life of Harriet Tubman, winner of the Ivors British Composers award in 2019.

Her music has been recipient of important international awards, such as the PRS for Music Foundation, The Gwärtler Stiftung in Switzerland, the Fellowship from Sistema Nacional de Creadores, (FONCA) in Mexico and the J.S. Guggenheim fellowship for the creation of her opera El Palacio Imaginado, based on a story by Isabel Allende and with a selection of contemporary Mexican indigenous poetry. Commissioned by Musik der Jahrhunderte, English National Opera and the Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the production was premiered with much acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

After studying composition at the Conservatoire in Mexico City with Mario Lavista, she was an active participant in master classes at Dartington Summer School, studying with Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle and Richard Rodney Bennett. Graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and subsequently obtained her Master of Arts at City University in London and completed her PhD at Manchester University with John Casken.

Paredes’ music has been commissioned, premiered and performed by many prestigious international ensembles, soloists and has been widely performed at most important international festivals.

Hilda is in demand as composition tutor and lecturer regularly at important Universities around the world.

Her works have featured on the AEON, Mode Records NY, Bridge, IBS labels, amongst others and are published by University of York Music Press.

Alex Paxton

LC Alex PaxtonAlex Paxton

Alex Paxton (1990) is a composer and improvising-trombonist based in the UK. Alex’s work draws upon a range of classical, experimental, electronic & folk music traditions to create a unique and explosive voice. He was elected to the 9th International Composition Seminar, commissioned by Ensemble Modern (ILOLLIPOP), has won a Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize (OD ODY PINK’d), Dankworth Jazz Prize, Leverhume Art Scholar Prize (NOW WE are DUH-DUR) and Harriet Cohen Music Award (PURPLE-TREE TAPESTRY) and appointed as London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Composer, SPAKE represented the Orchestral section of the International Society of Contemporary Music. He is a commissioned contributor to John Zorn’s Arcana X 2021.

“Turbulent and joyful...surfing on the crest of this exuberance is an extraordinary experience" The Wire. His albums to date as a composer: MUSIC for BOSCH PEOPLE on Birmingham Record Company/NMC label, and HAPPY MUSIC for ORCHESTRA (2021/2022). He is featured on the Non-Classical (CORNCRACKDREAMS) Listen Pony Label (TELLSONG), Everest Records (SOMETIMES VOICES) and leading Spotify playlists.

He has performed his music as a soloist with leading orchestras including: Ensemble Modern (ILOLLIPOP), London Sinfonietta, The Philharmonia Orchestra (UK), Royal National Scottish Orchestra & Ensemble x.y. Further works include pieces for the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Kammer Klang, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Psappa, National Youth Jazz Orchestra (UK). Music theatre works include the operas FOR the LOVE of THORNSTIEN SHIVER, BEL and the DRAGON, WOOLF MUSIC, EQUIVOCAL HARRIET, NOGGIN the WHALE and RAVEN’s CHILD and were hosted by English National Opera, Helios Colective, Tête à Tête Festival, Second Movement Opera.

His Dreammusics uniquely combines electronic sounds with leading virtuosic improvising-musician / notated-musician soloists. Alex has extensively written music for community settings and for young performers: MUFFIN and FLY like a KITCHEN. Alex has worked across the UK as an educator in creative-music settings and is composition tutor on the National Youth Orchestra (UK). Alex studied as a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in London. “Manic, brilliant beauty.” Listenpony Records.

Shruthi Rajasekar

LC Shruthi RajasekarShruthi Rajasekar

Shruthi Rajasekar (b. 1996) is an Indian-American composer and vocalist exploring identity, community, and joy. Named by The Guardian as a composer “who will enrich your life”, Shruthi creates intersectional music that draws from her unique background in the Carnatic (South Indian classical) and Western classical idioms.

Shruthi has won numerous honors for her compositions, including the 2020 KHORIKOS ORTUS International Award, the 2018 Composers Guild of New Jersey Award, and the 2018 Global Women in Music Award from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights & Donne in Musica Adkins Chiti Foundation (Rome, ITL). Performed across the world, Shruthi's music has reached hundreds of thousands of listeners on Spotify's Classical Releases, BBC Radio 3, Classical MPR (Minnesota, USA), WSMR Classical (Florida, USA), and WWFM Classical (Mid-Atlantic region, USA). In 2020, she was named a "Rising Star" by BBC Music Magazine.

Described as “lushly beguiling music” with “sophisticated rhythms” by The Times, Shruthi’s sonic output is diverse. Current and recent projects include Hertfordshire Chorus’s commission of Sarojini, a 35-minute piece for chorus, orchestra, and Indian instruments, as well as new works for I Fagiolini, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Everybody Hits! percussion consortium, Psappha, London Youth Choirs, Royal Academy of Music, and Spitfire Audio. An award-winning classical soprano and Carnatic vocal disciple of her mother, internationally renowned musician Nirmala Rajasekar, Shruthi performs in traditional and collaborative settings. In 2020, her works Numbers and did you know were digitally released by NMC Recordings to critical and commercial success.

Shruthi graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, where she was awarded the Edward T. Cone Prize. In 2018, Shruthi received a Marshall Scholarship from the United Kingdom government to pursue postgraduate studies at SOAS, University of London (M.Mus. Ethnomusicology, with Richard Widdess and Richard Williams) and the Royal Northern College of Music (M.Mus. Composition, with Adam Gorb and Laura Bowler). She serves on the board of directors of new music chamber ensemble Zeitgeist.

Alex Tay

LC Alexander TayAlex Tay

Alex spends his time studying and composing with psychoacoustic illusions. His fascination with deceit and aural trickery has formed the foundation of a composition PhD at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Guided over the last four years by supervisors Julian Anderson and Malcolm Singer, Alex has made pieces which deceive perceptions of musical speed, pitch continuity and sound ontology for François Xavier-Roth, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Park Lane Group and Royal Northern Sinfonia. Previous teachers and collaborators include Robin Holloway, Richard Causton, Christian Mason, Jeremy Thurlow (Kings and Churchill College Cambridge) Colin Matthews (Panufnik Scheme), Judith Weir (Dartington), Gerry Cornelius, Patrick Bailey, Hugh Brunt, the Britten Sinfonia and the Heath Quartet (Dartington). In his most recent creative exploit, an 8 minute piece for Brett Dean and the LPO, Alex interrogates the relationship between quotation and object, exploring how one uncannily might transform into the other.