National Youth Orchestra of Wales: Young Composers

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Following four successful years, the National Youth Orchestra of Wales will again run the Young Composers programme as part of this summer’s NYOW residency.

Successful applicants will receive tuition in compositional technique, orchestration and analysis, all delivered by Mark.

In addition, composers will have the opportunity to write new music for groups of musicians drawn from within the ranks of the NYOW itself. The young composers will work with Wales’ foremost young musicians to develop and rehearse their music before presenting it in a series of stand-alone performances across Wales.

For more information and to apply click here.

BBC National Orchestra of Wales: Composition Wales

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Mark returns to work with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on the Composition Wales 2017 project. Eight composers have been selected to take part in a series of workshops which began in January and will culminate in a concert in March conducted by B Tommy Andersson. This year the composers were briefed to create a work that could serve as a concert opener or an encore for a BBC National Orchestra of Wales concert. Follow the story on twitter via #CompositionWales

Creative Collective at Tate Exchange

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The Creative Collective, a new Trinity Laban project for young artists led by Mark and choreographer Bethan Peters was in residence for a week in February at the Tate Modern as part of the Tate Exchange programme.

Mark mentored Creative Collective artists as they developed ideas for new works inspired by the environment of Tate Modern which will be performed as part of the annual Lewisham Live Festival, and at the Tate Modern.

Mark receives British Composer Award for Five Memos

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Mark’s five movement work for violin and piano, Five Memos, received a British Composer Award at a ceremony at the British Film Institute in London. The annual British Composer Awards ceremony highlights the best compositions in the UK across Jazz, Choral, Sonic Art, Orchestral categories and beyond. You can listen to the ceremony on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now.

Creative Collective at Trinity Laban

CreativeCollectiveMark is co-leading a new project at Trinity Laban: the Creative Collective, a new opportunity for young artists looking to develop their own artistic work as composers and choreographers.

Mark is working alongside choreographer Bethan Peters to mentor Creative Collective participants as they create new, innovative and challenging pop-up pieces that will be performed across Lewisham as part of the annual Lewisham Live Festival, and at the Tate Modern as part of the Tate Exchange programme.

For more info click here.

Five Memos nominated for British Composer Award

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Mark’s work Five Memos has been shortlisted for the 2016 British Composer Awards.
‘The shortlist reflects just how much the richer our musical life is for the international musicians and artists who have settled here and who come here to study and to explore a rich global culture,’ said Ed McKeon, joint artistic director of the British Composer Awards. ‘In the process, music has become less tribal and more playful, and the same goes for audiences. It’s a great time to be listening to new music in the UK.’
‘This year Basca introduced a number of changes to the submissions and judging process to ensure the British Composer Awards are representative of the wealth and diversity of talent here in the UK,’ said BASCA chair Crispin Hunt. ‘The resulting shortlist announced today is a great snapshot of the creative expression that is contemporary classical, jazz and sonic art.’
The winners in each category will be announced at the British Film Institute on 6 December 2016.

Power, invention and subtlety ✮✮✮✮

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In a recent review, the Guardian gave Mark’s Debut Disc Sudden Light four stars and described the disc as having ‘power, invention and subtlety’. The review noted the ‘impact is a physical one: the systems Bowden sets up generate climaxes of great power, and his confidence in handling such large orchestral forces is unmistakable.

✮✮✮✮ review for debut album

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BBC Music Magazine has given Mark’s Debut Disc Sudden Light four stars in its latest edition. The review noted that ‘excellent performances by all involved do contemporary composer Mark Bowden proud. The energetic Lyra, inspired by Philip Pullman’s bold protagonist in His Dark Materials, is a particular highlight.

NMC Debut Disc released

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Mark's debut solo album Sudden Light was released in September 2016 by NMC. Available worldwide in all formats the disc displays Mark’s passion for orchestral writing and exploring its enormous timbral range.
The intoxicating Lyra for cello and orchestra was described 'as a richly allusive work of considerable scope and ambition' by Seen and Heard International and was Mark’s first commission, as resident composer, for BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The solo cello part calls for a blistering technique and was written for Oliver Coates, who performs on this recording.

Heartland, also commissioned by BBC NOW, was created as both a standalone percussion concerto and a ballet score for the National Dance Company Wales. The Times said that the work 'bubbles with fluid, spicy rhythms and pretty celestial ruminations ... watching Julian Warburton play it was a fascinating show in itself’.

Sudden Light was inspired by Marcus du Sautoy’s book The Music of the Primes and explores the play of consonance and dissonance through the overtones of the harmonic series.

As a contrast to the orchestral works on this album, Five Memos is a light, airy interplay between violin and piano, performed beautifully by Hyeyoon Park and Huw Watkins.

To purchase the disc directly from NMC please click here.

National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Young Composers

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For the fourth year, Mark led the National Youth Orchestra of Wales Young Composers course this summer. For two weeks, six young composers from all over Wales worked closely with Mark to create new compositions which were performed by members of the orchestra. Concerts took place in Aberystwyth, Llandudno, St David’s City and Cardiff. To get a flavour of what happened on the course visit the NYOW Facebook page.