2 lost songs

Music for a changing world

Monday, 13 July 2020 | 2.45pm – 3.00pm

Our world is changing at an incomprehensible rate. 

What would happen if the ancient forms of our music are lost in translation? 

For this new piece I have worked in the shared – or certainly similar – ancient musical history of my own and the Hebrides Ensemble, with a play on reels and imagined/misremembered folk-tunes. Shifting the focus between clear gesture with ‘sung’ or realised melodies and the haze of time passing. Only the smallest vestiges of any ‘national’ style remaining.

This is a recorded premiere performance of 2 lost songs, performed by members of the Hebrides Ensemble on 7 December 2018 at Universität Mozarteum, Salzburg (Austria), as part of the 2018 CROSSROADS International New Music Festival.

About the creators

Nathan James Dearden
Music Creator

Nathan James Dearden (b. 1992) is a composer and conductor, whose music is regularly performed across the UK and overseas by a variety of different instrumentalists and ensembles, from both community ensembles to internationally renowned musicians.

Nathan’s music has been commissioned, performed, featured and workshopped by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Berkeley Ensemble, The Tippett QuartetGenesis Sixteen, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, The Heath Quartet, Grand Band, the Fidelio Trio, Hebrides Ensemble, CHROMA ensemble, Carla Rees and The Dunedin Consort. His music regularly features in concerts across the UK and overseas, including at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Dartington International Summer School and Festival, International Young Composers’ Meeting, CROSSROADS International New Music Festival and Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music. Nathan was an inaugural Young Composer-in-Residence with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and Music Creator for Sinfonia Newydd in 2013. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru.

Recent notable performances include under the earth, written as part of TŷCerdd’s CoDI Chamber Programme  (Berkeley Ensemble), 2 lost songs at CROSSROADS International New Music Festival (Hebrides Ensemble),3 postcards as part of Making Music UK’s Adopt-a-Composer Scheme (Swansea Philharmonic Choir), and franz at City of London Guildhall (London Philharmonic Orchestra).

Upcoming projects include a song-cycle collaboration with composer and pianist Michael Finnissy, a new work for pianist Mary Dullea as part of an album project with the TŷCerdd Label, an outreach collaboration in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Swansea receiving city status with the Welsh National Opera, plus a commission from National Youth Arts Wales for a new work for National Youth Choir of Wales. For their 2020 season, Nathan is a Young Composer with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, creating new music with the choirs in partnership with NMC Recordings and the PRS Foundation.

Nathan has recently been awarded an Early Career Public Engagement Grant from the Institute of Musical Research in support of Spotlight Series: Finnissy at 70 and was selected as a London Philharmonic Orchestra Leverhulme Arts Scholar for their 2016/2017 season. In May 2017, Nathan received the inaugural Paul Mealor Award for Outstanding Young Composers by the Welsh Music Guild.

As a conductor, Nathan is carving a career as one of the most sought-after interpreters of his generation for the performance of twentieth and twenty-first century repertoire. Nathan has held posts and guest conductorships at National Youth Orchestra of Wales, National Youth Choir of Wales, CHROMA, Cardiff University, Cardiff Contemporary Music Group, London Metropolitan University / CASS Institute, and is currently the Director of New Music Collective and New Voices Consort at Royal Holloway, University of London. Nathan made his London Philharmonic Orchestra conducting debut with members of the LPO at their 2018 Summer Gala. Nathan has recorded, performed and premiered works by established living composers such as Judith Weir, David Lang, Caroline Shaw, Michael Finnissy, Benjamin Tassie, Gavin Bryars and Howard Skempton, plus hundreds of new works by young and emerging composers. 

Based in South East England, Nathan is currently Performance Manager, Visiting Lecturer in Music Composition, Conductor of the New Voices Consort and New Music Collective and Postgraduate Research Scholar at Royal Holloway, University of London. Supervised by Mark BowdenHelen Grime and Julian Johnson, Nathan’s research interests include parody in music, and music as a form of social commentary. 

Nathan holds a Bachelor of Music (with Honours) from Cardiff University, where he was awarded the David Lloyd Music Prize for excellence in vocal studies and choral work (2012) and the Elizabeth Griffiths Award for his outstanding contribution to the musical life at Cardiff University School of Music (2013). He later graduated from Cardiff University as a Master of Music (with Distinction) in Music Composition with Robert Fokkens, Louis Johnson and Arlene Sierra, where his studies were kindly supported by Cardiff University, the James Pantyfedwen Foundation and the RVW Trust

Nathan is a Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (SMISM), a Trustee of Classical Remix, Board Member of the Welsh Music Guild and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).


Hebrides Ensemble

With programmes that are diverse, imaginative and inspiring, Hebrides Ensemble has established itself as one of the foremost chamber music collectives in the UK. Co-founded and led by its artistic director, the cellist and conductor William Conway, the Ensemble is renowned for its fresh and intelligent approach to programming, which places contemporary music at the heart of a diverse range of repertoire. The Ensemble’s flexibility is its strength, drawing its performers from a pool of the most outstanding musicians in the UK and beyond, ensuring the exceptional performance standards for which it has become renowned. This is an international ensemble with its roots in Scottish culture, a collective which performs regularly at venues and festivals throughout the UK and Europe, and is regularly featured in broadcasts for BBC Radio 3. In recent years, the Ensemble has given premieres at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, London’s King’s Place, The Wigmore Hall, Aldeburgh Festival, and in 2018, will make its debut appearance at the BBC Proms. Hebrides Academy supports the next generation of performers, composers, artistic directors and cultural leaders through its mentoring programme and Hebrides Digital allows audiences around the world to be part of every performance the Ensemble gives, using live streaming, Twitter feeds and cutting edge digital technology.

In August 2017 Hebrides Ensemble released its second disc in a series of composer-focused discs with Delphian. The Last Island, chamber music by Peter Maxwell Davies follows on from the success of James MacMillan’s Since it was the day of preparation…, which went straight to No 1 in the Specialist Classical Charts.

Music at Royal Holloway MixTape

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