Wien Modern Composer Focus 2011
Howard has just returned from Vienna, where she was a featured composer at Wien Modern which this year had a focus on British music. The festival showcased a major retrospective of Howard's music with five of her works performed over a two week residency in some of Vienna's iconic venues, with Magnetite performed at the Musikverein by Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich and Andrés Orozco-Estrada.
The world premiere of new orchestral work and Wien Modern commission Calculus of the Nervous System was given at the Konzerthaus with ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester conducted by James MacMillan in a concert which also included Solar. The Telegraph commented "Calculus presented an absorbing mix of stealth, suggestion and surprise ... engineered ... with winning confidence and craft".
The festival also featured performances of Howard's chamber music, with oenm performing Broken Hierarchies II and Platypus Ensemble the world premiere of Ada sketches II. Howard's music was the subject of an OE1 ORF Composer Portrait broadcast on 15th November 2011. Full programme details of Howard's performances at Wien Modern can be found here.
Emily Howard writes:
"Wien Modern 2011 has been an amazing experience - musically, culturally and socially - a heartfelt thanks to WM Artistic Director Matthias Losek and his wonderful team for making me feel so welcome in Vienna. I was in residence from 6-21 November with the aim of experiencing the festival and the city in full. During this time, I attended most WM events finding the concerts to be impressively varied and always with such high standards of performance, commitment and with a real following: I experienced large audiences in all-contemporary programmes at the Musikverein and Konzerthaus. The aftershow gatherings in the traditionally Viennese (so I am told) Cafe Heumarkt were the perfect conclusion to countless evenings.
There have been so many highlights! A walking trip into the Vienna Woods with the WM Mädchens was certainly one of these (photo attached) and it was then that I discovered about the importance of Viennese Districts, and the fiercely tribal attitudes the Viennese have towards them, prompting an urge to visit each of them (mainly by foot) on my part. Navigation strictly by composers' graves - there are so many! I think one of my walks was from Schubert in Zentralfriedhof to Mahler in Grinzing ...
Thanks must go to the British Council and British Embassy for their generous support and of course to all of the musicians in the ensembles I worked with - oenm, Platypus, as well as the orchestras: Tonkünstler and Andrés Orozco-Estrada (it was a wonderful experience to hear Magnetite in the Musikverein) and the ORF RSO Wien with James MacMillan (a great pleasure to work with James MacMillan again for the world premiere of Calculus of the Nervous System). I'm delighted that WM programmed older works alongside a new commission. I always find it exciting to experience the first performance of a new work, but I think it is just as important to hear new interpretations of existing works.
I am also very glad that Austrian contemporary music is well represented in the UK. I have developed a strong relationship over the past three years with Soundings, the Austrian Cultural Forum's celebrated exchange programme for composers from Austria and the UK. It has been a pleasure to be so involved with this project. It is through Soundings that I first made a connection with the Austrian contemporary music scene, and many other young British and Austrian composers have also benefited from this wonderful programme. And of course HK Gruber, Composer/ Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, is certainly making an excellent impression 'up north' with his Austrian-flavoured concert series in Manchester and Salford.
So Wien Modern gets a real thumbs up! I really hope some of you will make the festival in coming years - I certainly can't wait to go back." www.wienmodern.at