Howard Skempton   Darragh Morgan   Steve Beresford

Two new works by Howard Skempton: for solo violin and ensemble.

Howard Skempton is a British composer and accordionist. Since the late 1960s, when he helped organize the Scratch Orchestra, he has been associated with the English school of experimental music. Skempton’s work is characterized by stripped down, essentials-only choice of materials, absence of formal development and a strong emphasis on melody; his music has been described as “the emancipation of the consonance” by musicologist Hermann-Christoph Müller.

Skempton was born in Chester, but moved to London in 1967, and began taking private lessons in composition with Cornelius Cardew. In 1968 Skempton joined Cardew’s experimental music class at Morley College, where in spring 1969 Cardew, Skempton and composer Michael Parsons organized the Scratch Orchestra. This ensemble had open membership and was dedicated to performing experimental contemporary music by composers such as La Monte Young, John Cage, Terry Riley, as well as by members of the orchestra itself.

Skempton has been working as a composer, music editor, performer and teacher (at Birmingham Conservatoire) since 1971.

Irish violinist Darragh Morgan has collaborated with many leading composers including Philip Glass, Arvo Part, Michael Nyman, Sir John Tavener, Gavin Bryars, Kevin Volans and Michael Finnissy. He has made numerous concerto appearances with orchestras across the world, and is a member of the Fidelio Trio with whom he has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Casa da Musica Porto and Symphony Space New York.

Darragh has recorded over 25 CDs for labels including NMC, Naxos, Delphian, Mode, Black Box and Nimbus. He is professor of violin and chamber music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Internationally known as a free improviser on piano and electronics, Steve Beresford has also composed scores for feature films and music for various TV shows and commercials; and has worked with hundreds of musicians.

Born in Wellington, Shropshire in 1950, Steve moved to London in 1974, playing piano with improvisers like Derek Bailey and also trumpet with the notorious Portsmouth Sinfonia, which included Brian Eno and Gavin Bryars.

He plays with and conducts the London Improvisers Orchestra every month. He also regularly collaborates with musicians such as Elaine Mitchener, John Butcher, Satoko Fukuda and Shabaka Hutchings, playing at venues like Café Oto in Dalston, London.