2011 has been an eventful year for Howard, with highlights her Composer Focus at Wien Modern and premieres of the works which comprise The Lovelace Trilogy: Calculus of the Nervous System, Mesmerism and Ada sketches. Howard is looking forward to an exciting 2012 with the first staging of Ada sketches at the Royal Opera House’s Exposure in February and the premiere in June of her first opera Zátopek!, part of New Music 20x12 and the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and one of Tom Service’s top Classical Picks for 2012 in The Guardian.
Emily Howard writes about the year ahead:
Happy New Year! 2012 is going to be busy, and it got off to a fine start with my Park Lane Group debut last week as part of the Young Artists New Year Series. Pianist Olga Stezhko gave an exhilarating performance of Sky and Water alongside works by John McCabe. And following in the chamber music vein, my new clarinet quintet for Quatuor Danel and Nicholas Cox will receive its premiere at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool in May. Also, I am really looking forward to becoming actively involved in the dramatization of my works, first with Ada sketches in February, and then the premiere of mini-opera Zatopek! in June.
It’s very exciting that New Music 20x12 has really begun with Howard Skempton’s Five Rings Triples and Anna Meredith’s HandsFree for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Both of these works and all of the other New Music 20x12 works will be available on the NMC website here. I am delighted and proud to be part of it all and I’m really looking forward to the Liverpool premiere in June of mini-opera Zatopek!, my contribution to New Music 20x12.
Selma Dimitrijevic’s libretto for Zátopek! is a lot of fun - essentially a real-time 5000m race based on one of the greatest races of its kind in history that took place in 1952 at the Helsinki Olympics. Contenders Christopher Chataway (GB), Alain Mimoun (France) and Herbert Schade (Germany) battled it out but… no surprises here … Emil Zátopek was the winner. Working closely with Selma and members of Second Movement on researching Zatopek! has been such an enjoyable and informative experience. The Czech trip in August 2011 was a highlight, and last month, I had the great pleasure of speaking with Sir Christopher Chataway. I couldn’t ask for more than to have firsthand information from somebody who actually ran in the race that the opera is based on.
All of this research has left me really wishing that I had known Emil Zátopek the man. But I do feel as though I have come quite close, with such wonderful insight into his character from so many different angles thanks to Mrs Dana Zátopková, his friends and colleagues Mr Jindra Roudný, Larry and Vaneesa Koran, his competitor Sir Christopher Chataway and the numerous Zátopek fans (including Sir Christopher, see below) that I encounter everywhere on a regular basis. And, I’m proud to say he has inspired me to start running 5K regularly myself, not to mention a little interval training…
“If ever there was an athlete worth making an opera about it’s Emil Zátopek”
Sir Christopher Chataway
5000m finalist 1952 Olympics, 5000m World Record Holder 1954
Zatopek! has been commissioned as part of New Music 20x12. Special thanks to Jerwood Charitable Foundation for making this New Music 20x12 commission possible.