World Premiere of Atria for cello and piano
A set of five pieces by Piers Hellawell, Atria – a new work for cello and piano – will receive its premiere on 21 February 2013 at the Belfast BMS Festival, given by Paul and Huw Watkins. The pieces progressively expand in scale, growing from the brief opening piece to a final, five-minute scena. This formal preoccupation is held in the title atria, or 'hallways', intended to convey that each piece forms an entry-point to the next, as if the listener were moving further into a building through its outer chambers. Between the three expanding duo pieces are two shorter interlude pieces (ii and iv); these are less fully notated and contrast the main three by exploring an expanded cello sound-world that is not found in the main pieces. In these interludes, fragments from the three main pieces occur, out of context, as if in a dream recollection.
Syzygy: concerto for brass quintet & chamber orchestra - World Premiere in Sweden
On 28 February 2013, the Stockholm Chamber Brass with Swedish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Paul Watkins, will give the world premiere of Piers Hellawell’s Syzygy in Örebro Sweden. In 2006 the quintet premiered Hellawell's Sound Carvings from the Bell Foundry in Norway, and subsequently asked for a concerto; Syzygy has been commissioned by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra for a premiere conducted by Paul Watkins in Örebro. Across the three movements the brass quintet progresses from its role as a cogent solo unit to its fragmentation and collaboration within the chamber orchestra in the last movement. A 'syzygy' is an alignment of heavenly bodies in which the outer ones are separated from view by the central one, and here the central movement of the work separates the outer two, with their very different treatments of the solo/brass relationship.