9th June-Contemporary Music Research Centre- York University
National Centre for Early Music-York
From my point of view, this was an uplifting, exciting, and exhausting day! It was very special to have the event in this very special space. The National Centre for Early Music is housed in the deconsecrated space of St Margarets, Walmgate. I always prefer to play in a building with real history and atmosphere, and the successive layers of late Romanesque, Early English and later architectures in this building really speak to the layering of musical history in what we do.
This project would not have happened without the support of the fantastic team at York University Music Department. A huge thankyou in particular, to Thomas Simaku, Roger Marsh and Martin Suckling, who also took an important part in shaping the workshop!
For me, ‘opening the door’ of the coimposer’s workshop is one of the most exciting activities of my life. Since very beginning of my career, I have been granted access to this privileged space by the composers who have encouraged me; Hans Werner Henze, Judith Weir, Michael Finnissy, George Rochberg, Poul Ruders and many more, and of course the composers that I played in the evening concert, Sadie Harrison, Nigel Clarke, David Gorton, Thomas Simaku and Evis Sammoutis.
I was also very lucky, early in my work to be invited to study the Berg Concerto with Louis Krasner, who commissioned and premiered it in 1936. What he revealed to me has taken a lifetime to unpack, but can be crudely summed up thus; if the performer can get woven into the compositional process, at whatever stage, then an extraordinary identification is possible, between composition, performance and listening. This is what I seek, and what today’s workshop really exposed!
‘Peter and the other composers created a really open and experimental atmosphere. It was the perfect environment to try out new ideas and find unfamiliar avenues of exploration.’ Neil Tomas Smith
‘The workshop with Peter Sheppard Skaerved surpassed all my expectations. In my experience this was a unique opportunity to sit alongside an outstanding interpreter as he realised this music for the first time and to and to develop a deeper insight into the collaborative relationship between composer and performer. Peter facilitated a detailed critical reflection on the decisions I had made in composing ‘Rough Cut’ and revealed some of the choices facing the performer in response to my work. The opportunity to continue to develop and refine this music, informed by his specialist input, will prove invaluable.’ David Lancaster’
St Margarets Church, Walmgate, York
Thomas Simaku-‘Capriccioso’ (2014)-
Evis Sammoutis-‘Monogenesis’ (2003)
Nigel Clarke-‘Epitaph for Edith Cavell’ (2014)
David Gorton-‘Rosetta Caprice’ (2006)
Sadie Harrison-‘Gallery’ 2012-13 (Movements to announced)
Selected young composer work
Nicola Matteis, GiuseppeTorelli, Tomasso Vitali-Preludes, from
‘Select Preludes and Voluntaries for the Violin’, Published London 1705
PSS is the dedicatee of well over 400 new works, ranging from violin concerti to pieces for violin alone. Tonight’s concert, bringing to a close this afternoon of workshops, celebrates his long collaboration with five of these.
Peter has released recordings of Thomas Simaku’s solo and chamber works on Naxos, and premiered his violin concerto in Copenhagen. More recently, he premiered ‘Capriccioso’ at King’s Place. The very first place where Thomas and Peter ‘set up’ their workshop was in Athens- it is typical of this indefatigable composer that he travelled to Greece to spend real time working with Peter on their first performance prepared together, of his ‘Soliloquy’ for violin. Peter has collaborated with Nigel Clarke since he was a student, resulting in two concertos, three works for string orchestra, multiple recordings, and site-specific projects on three continents. David Gorton has written a large set of caprices, two string quartets, and a piano quintet for Peter, resulting in two discs on Metier; in a few weeks they will make the first recording of their latest collaboration, a work for 15 strings based on Dowland and developed in workshops in London and Nashville. Evis Sammoutis was a student at York University and was introduced to Peter by Thomas Simaku. Since then they have collaborated on recordings and films of his work, founded a contemporary music festival in Cyprus together, and, most recently, wandered the backstreets of Nikosia with microphone and violin, workshopping in workshops and junkyards, gathering sonic material for a new concerto. Peter’s work with Sadie Harrison has resulted in String Quartets, Violin/Piano works, Duos, and a large number of solo works, which can be heard on the three discs of Sadie’s works Peter has recorded on Metier and Toccata Classics. Sadie’s ‘Gallery’, a 40 minute cycle for solo violin, was inspired by Peter’s work as an artist.