Stephen McNeff has written two major works inspired by the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 2009, which will be premiered this Autumn.
On 11 November the world premiere of The Darwin Dilemma will be performed at The Music for Youth 'Schools’ Prom’ at the Royal Albert Hall. The Darwin Dilemma is a large-scale 12-minute work for on-stage orchestra, off-stage orchestra, soloists and youth choirs numbering over 500 singers. The work will also feature performances from around 60 dancers, puppeteers and actors.
McNeff writes: The work was commissioned to be performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London by around 700 young people from Hampshire as part of the Schools Prom.
It is designed to include as many people as possible from a relatively young age in the main choir to advanced instrumentalists as soloists. In addition the work was written for a group of actors (the Discussion Group) who might be off to one side as well as dancers and puppeteers who represent the unfolding of the history of life on the planet.
All kinds of theatricalisation are possible and encouraged! The texts are by Richard Williams drawing on historical sources from the Bible, Greek, Roman and Arabian myths of creation stories. In addition the writings of Milton, Blake and Darwin himself help to convey the sense of awesome discovery experienced by philosophers and scientists - as well as back-garden star-gazers - throughout the ages.
The work is in 12 parts of varying length describing the process of creation from the Void to the ascent of Humankind.
World premiere of Creation for symphonic wind orchestra:
Birmingham Conservatoire Senior Wind Orchestra will give the world premiere of Creation, a new 20 minute work for symphonic wind orchestra on 27 November at Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham. Creation was commissioned by the BASBWE Education Trust.
Further Autumn/Winter 09 performances: 25 Oct Image in Stone Royal Northern college of Music Wind Orchestra, Helen Sherman (mezzo)Mark Heron (Cond) RNCM Oxford Road, Manchester 1pm
2 November Madrigali Dell’ Estate Clare McCaldin (mezzo), Lindy Tennent-Brown (piano), Royal Opera House Covent Garden 1pm
4 November The Starlight Night Canticum, Mark Forkgen (Cond.) Holy Trinity Church, Chelsea
14 November Dissolve Me Into Ecstasies Trinity College of Music, St Alfege Church, Greenwich 7.45pm
14 November Flimminilap (world premiere) Peter Willcock (baritone) Vicki Wright (Clarinet) The Warehouse, Theed St, London SE1
Mexican Tour of 'Los Ambulantes' Machaca (Morgan Szymanski, Ollie Cox & Owen Gunnell)
16 November - Morelia Festival, Michoacán 21 November - Uruapan, Michoacán 22 November - Mexico City 24 November - Puebla Festival, Puebla 28 November - Valle de Bravo
5 December Nightingales Swansea Philharmonic Choir, Clive John (Cond.) Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.7.30pm
6 December The Bell Carol Alice Millar Chapel Choir, Stephen Alltop, conductor; University Women's Chorus, Alice S. Millar Chapel, Evanston IL, USA, 10.40am
Works for Piano, Prepared Piano and Toy Piano
February Pieces for Piano and Octet '61 for Jasper Johns