NMB 20th Anniversary 1994–2014

Happy New Year to everyone.

This year marks our 20th Anniversary, our first concert was on the 11 May 1994 and our next concert will be a Multimedia Concert at the Friends Meeting House Wednesday 19 March at 7.30pm. The programme will be announced as soon as we can and there is still time for members to submit a piece.

Later this year will also be a solo piano concert with Helen Burford, again at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton on Wednesday 3 September, programme to be announced (a submission form has just been sent to members, please let us know if you haven’t received one).

We’re hoping to announce some more concerts for this year and we also hope to institute some informal Salon concerts for members to play pieces in an informal setting, we’ll let members know once we have more details.


nmb_graphic_green anniversary

The Riot Ensemble: More Hands


We’re pleased to announce our next concert on the 31st October, 7:30pm, at the Friends Meeting House with the Riot Ensemble. The full programme is:

Lutoslawski Songs
Barry Mills Piano Duet No 2
Martin Suckling Flute Piece
Guy Richardson Ahavah Rabbah

~ Interval ~

Amy Beth Kirsten Two Monologues
Phil Baker Echo’s Antiphons
Jonathan Clark Songs
Patrick Harrex Tramezzino

Closet music: call for imaginary works


Closet Music: Imaginary Sound-worlds Open call for works: the Travel Pack Closet Music is a genre of works never intended to be performed out loud: the challenge is to create pieces for private, imaginary performance or contemplation. See the website for details, background, samples…  www.closetmusic.co.uk

Following the successful launch of the first collection of Closet Music works, composers, artists, writers and musicians are invited to contribute to the next stage: a Travel Pack of new Closet Music works. Each work has to fit on to A6 (post-card sized) cards (or on a series of these cards) which will be separate items collected in a playing-card type box. The travel pack will be very portable and ideal for passing the time on journeys… the theme of travel/journeying itself would be a fruitful (though not essential) one for creating the travel pack.

There is no fee for participation in this project. Contributors included in the final Travel Pack will receive a copy of the Travel Pack. Closing date for initial submissions: July 15th 2013 You are welcome to send (or discuss) ideas before sending full pieces. Send them in to me in pdf or jpeg format:

Our new events page

I’m pleased to announce that we have redesigned our events page with a new sidebar widget listing upcoming events. The events page now has a list view and a calender view and shows concerts for both New Music Brighton and other organisations who our members collaborate with.  The events page is here Events

Events pageevents2

We have the facility to include a Google map of the venue and of course we’d appreciate it if you could link the event to your facebook or twitter feeds by clicking one of the buttons below the entry.

Our first concert of 2013 at the Friends’ Meeting House


Saturday 2 March 2013 at 7.30 pm
Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton
Tickets: £8 | £5 (concessions) | children free.
Tickets at the door.

New Music Brighton is pleased to announce our first concert of 2013 at the Friends Meeting House on 2 March 2013 at 7.30pm . This concert is a fundraising event for NMB and will consist of a rare performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations performed by a relay of pianists, an improvisatory piece called Tides of C and performed by Steve Gardiner and Phil Baker’s composition Pathways to the C… performed by the Skeleton Ensemble.

Erik Satie’s Vexations was never performed in his lifetime but was written at the end of his affair with trapeze artist and artist’s model Susanne Valadon. The Satie/Valadon affair was intense and brief, ending nastily after some six months in June 1893. Vexations dates from the time of their break up and it ended either because he called the police on her or pushed her out of a window depending on which version of the story he was telling at the time. Vexations is:

…a short composition for piano lasting a mere thirteen bars, which Satie indicated should be repeated a deadening 840 times. Vexing not only due to its repetitious nature and extreme length, the piece features built-in annoyances for the performer in its persistent enharmonic spellings, atonal harmonies and asymmetrical phrase structures, all of which undercut efforts to retain the music in memory. This seems to have been Satie’s expressive outlet for the frustration he felt in the wake of this failed and often tempestuous affair with Valadon, which in any event was definitive…

Erik Satie Mary E Davis

NMB are performing an abridged version of the piece as a complete performance can take anywhere between 18 and 24 hours to complete. It has been performed before, most notably by John Cage, and has been regarded as one of the first modernist pieces.

Our second piece Tides of C by Steve Gardiner is an extended improvisation for solo piano‘This piece fuses together Eastern and Western sounds’, says Steve. ‘The listener will be able to experience the piece in a variety of ways; as a meditation on C, an Indian raag, a minimalist piece, a celebration of the incoming and outgoing tide. I like producing music which can lead listeners to a deeper place, where they can feel relaxed, inspired and energised at the same time. I believe I have found a way of playing which achieves this.’

Our third piece is Phil Baker’s Pathways to the C … performed by The Skeleton Ensemble.

Phil Baker writes “I rarely venture in to the world of improvisation or ‘chance music’ but have done so with two pieces: one, Library Hollers for performance at the newly built Jubilee Library and the piece being given at the New Music Brighton fundraising concert at The Friends’ Centre on March 2nd, entitled Pathways to the C… Here, the pun is very definitely intended as the piece works like a series of musical walks each of which ends when it finds its way to the C/sea. Get it? The piece gives wide scope for individual and group improvisations and is played on this occasion by the composer Phil Baker, Ric Graebner, Patrick Harrex (viola), Roger Harmar (amplified bass), Tim Willsone (oboe/flute) and Helen Glavin (vocals). The work offers surprises for both performers and audience alike and is entirely unpredictable ..but, what isn’t?”


the skeleton ensemble






Events for November and December

NMBs next concerts will be in the new year, but in the meantime there are a number of concerts and events that involve our members (in bold) and from other music organisations across Brighton and Sussex.

Friday 16 November at 7.30pm,
St Luke’s Church, Queen’s Park Road, Brighton BN2 9ZB

Music and Wine at St Luke’s: Dryads duo, Carla Santos (violin) and Saul Picado (piano), perform 20th century classics – sonatas by Janáček, Prokofiev and Enescu, plus Beethoven.
£7 (£5 concessions; £3 under 12s).


Sunday 18 November at 7.45pm,
All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes

Musicians of All Saints perform Peter Copley‘s Elegiac Variations for two Violas and Strings (Ellie Blackshaw and Ros Hanson-Laurent, violas) and Ellie Blackshaw’s Two Pieces for String Orchestra with works by Bach, Bridge and Elgar. Peter Copley will discuss the music in his pre-concert talk at 7.10pm. More details of this concert and the remainder of the season are on the MAS website.
£10 (£7 concs) – children free.


Monday 19 November at 7pm,
Chapel of the Ascension, University of Chichester, College Road, Chichester

Music for 2 Pianos and for 6 Pianos by Mendelssohn, Britten, Reich, Gould, and Fitkin, performed by Terence Allbright, Thomas Duchan, Jonathan Plowright, Suzie Shrubb, Adam Swayne and Angela Zanders pianos.
£8 (£4 concessions).



A number of events promoted by MOOT – Music of Our Time are coming up, including:

Thursday 29 November at 7pm,
Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF

Pierre Boulez: Living in the Present: Geoffrey Thomas, a long-time friend of the legendary composer, will speak on his personal knowledge of Boulez and their shared passions for a diverse range of disciplines from music to engineering, plus a never-before-shown film on Boulez by director Barrie Gavin and a live performance of ‘Douze Notations’ by pianist Helen Reid.
Tickets on the door £10 (£5 under 25s).

Special offer by MOOT to members of New Music Brighton: save £10 and find out more about MOOT! FREE admission to Pierre Boulez: Living in the Present. Just tell the person on the ticket desk when you arrive that you are a member of NMB.


Sunday 2 December at 2pm
Under the Bridge Studios, 7 Trafalgar Arches, Brighton (under the railway station)

A Beyond the Score ® film on Bela Bartók’s symphonic pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin, exploring its sumptuous colours and eroticism of this complex and fascinating dramatic tale captured in Bartók’s composition.
Free, but donations appreciated.


Wednesday 12 December at 7pm,
Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF

‘Christmas with the Schoenbergs: A second Viennese School Yuletide Celebration’ – to include performances of Transfigured Night and Weihnachtsmusik
Tickets on the door £10 (£5 under 25s).

Please note that the CoMA Sussex concert (‘Natural and Supernatural’) planned for Sunday 25 November in Lewes and announced in our previous mailing has been postponed until the new year – date tba.