ISCM World Music Days 2017 Shortlist: Announcement!

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The International Society for Contemporary Music's World Music Days Festival kicks off in Vancouver this 2017! The shortlist for the British Section's composer candidates has now been announced...

A huge well done to all who applied to the British Section for 2017's World Music Days Festival. It was a tough call, but we can now finally announce our British shortlist of composers. With congratulations to... 


Alex Paxton

Alex Paxton

Alex Paxton (1990) is a prolific composer of chamber, orchestral, opera as well as music for children and theatre. He is a 1st class/distinction prize winning scholar and graduate of both the Royal Collage of Music and the Royal Academy of Music.His writing has a wide range of influences including prose, visual arts, jazz and groove music. Much of his work is interested in exploring the inherent musicality of spoken language in order to winnow away its semantic meaning and feast upon the fertile musical grist beneath.

Soundcloud linkalex-paxton-2

Category 9: ORCHESTRA

Submission Title: SPAKE

"My Grandfather was James Joyce’s Godmother (tittle from ‘Celebration’ by Harold Pinter) But My Words Will Not Fade Away (tittle from ‘The Gospel of Mathew’) And Mummy Came In All Guns Blazing (tittle from a mom.) This work is interested in exploring the inherent musicality of written language in order to winnow away its semantic meaning and feast upon the fertile musical grist beneath."

Charlotte Bray

Charlotte Bray 

Charlotte Bray studied under Mark-Anthony Turnage and Joe Cutler. Her associations include the LSO, LPO and BCMG and her work has featured at the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Tanglewood, Aix-en-Provence and Verbier. Sir Mark Elder, Oliver Knussen and Daniel Harding are among the renowned conductors who have performed her work. 2016 premieres include Stone Dancer for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, under Knussen at Aldeburgh; and Falling in the Fire, a cello concerto for Guy Johnston by the same orchestra under Sakari Oramo. Her many accolades include the RPS Composition Prize; Lili Boulanger Prize; and the Critics’ Circle Award.

Twitter link@composerbray 

Facebook composercharlottebray

Category 9: ORCHESTRA

Submission Title: At the Speed of Stillness

"Commissioned by the BBC Proms for Sir Mark Elder and the Aldeburgh World Orchestra, ‘At The Speed of Stillness’ finds part of its inspiration in a surrealist poem by Dora Maar. The energy, sense of endless movement and of exhaustion encapsulated in the poem permeates the music. Important also is the play with paradoxical ideas: the contrary notion that something moving quicker than the human eye is able to detect can appear to be motionless or still. Relentless, with constant shifts in perspective, the piece holds an underlying energy, zinging with immense power and force."


Cheryl Frances-Hoad

Cheryl Frances-Hoad 

Cheryl Frances-Hoad (b.1980) was educated at Cambridge University and Kings College London. Her music has been described as “like a declaration of faith in the eternal verities of composition” (The Times), with “a voice overflowing not only with ideas, but also with the discipline and artistry necessary to harness them” (The Scotsman). 

Recently featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Composer of the Week’, her works have garnered many awards, from the BBC Young Composer of the Year award in 1996 to the RPS Composition Prize and two BASCA British Composer Awards (for Psalm 1 and Stolen Rhythm in 2010). 

Twitter link@CherylHoad

Facebook CherylFrancesHoadComposer


Submission Title: From
The Beginning Of The World

"From the Beginning of the World was commissioned by the Cardinall’s Musick and premiered at Cadogan Hall on the 20th July 2015 in the first of the 2015 BBC Proms Chamber Music Concerts. 

I spent several weeks in libraries attempting to find a suitable text, eventually settling on excerpts from Tycho Brahe’s German Treatise on the Great Comet of 1577. Whether Tallis knew about the comet is unknown of course, but this seismic event, to me, seemed emblematic of all the great changes that occurred during his lifetime, in areas such as religion, the calendar, and time-keeping."


Christian Mason

Christian Mason 

A 2015 winner of an Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Composer Prize, Christian Mason composes music which combines an emotional aspiration to radiance with a sensitivity to natural resonance. He has been commissioned, performed and broadcast internationally by artists including Carolin Widmann, Jean-Guihen Queyras, LSO, London Sinfonietta, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Tokyo Philharmonic Choir. He completed a Ph.D at King’s College London with George Benjamin in 2012. He is a visiting teacher of composition at the University of Cambridge and Composition Support Tutor for the LSO Panufnik Young Composers Project. His works are published by Breitkopf & Härtel.



Submission Title: Unseen Seasons

"The starting point for this composition was my attempt to re-imagine the seasons evoked by Sei Shōnagon in The Pillow Book. Having never personally seen or experienced the seasons of 10th Century Japan, her words brought to my mind a sense of the difference between the universal familiarity of time passing through seasonal cycles, and the particular qualities of the unique instances to which she draws our attention. She seems to capture, in a few words, impressions of eternal moments, which are nevertheless long passed, having been inevitably subject to processes of change as time moves on."


Michael Taplin

Michael Taplin 

Born in 1991 and raised in London, Michael Taplin has been actively involved in writing music from an early age and studied privately with Dai Fujikura with a grant from the Talbot House Trust. In 2009, Michael accepted a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a Scholarship where he studied with Paul Newland. Michael’s music has been performed/workshopped by groups such as the Gemini Ensemble, Exaudi, The Composers Ensemble, the Namascae Lemanic Modern Ensemble, the Philharmonia and the London Symphony Orchestra. Michael recently completed his MComp (Distinction) at the Royal College of Music (London) with Simon Holt. 

Twitter link@mt04791

Facebook taplin.michael


Submission Title: Lambent Fires

Lambent Fires is a frenetic, brightly coloured, virtuosic showpiece for eight players. Lambent, (meaning glowing, gleaming, flickering light or fire) originates from the Latin verb lambere.  One of my main aims whilst composing the piece was to create an overall sense of revealing in the structure of the music. All the textures and harmonies in the work are created from one central line. The clearest and most direct statement of the Cantus Firmus is not stated overtly until the very end. However, even this momentary glimpse of the musical core essence becomes very quickly shrouded in a climatic inferno. 



Naomi Pinnock

Naomi Pinnock

With an emphasis on reducing music to its essential elements, Naomi Pinnock’s work has been described as ‘enigmatic’ (Words, 5:4) and having ‘great intensity’ (String Quartet no. 2, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik). She has collaborated with groups such as the Arditti Quartet, London Sinfonietta, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Schola Heidelberg, Ensemble Adapter and with soloists including Frode Haltli, Omar Ebrahim and Rolf Hind. Her work has been performed at various international music festivals including hcmf//, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, ECLAT Festival Stuttgart, Heidelberger Frühling, Festival Musica in Strasbourg and Spitalfields Festival London.

Twitter link@naomipinnock


Submission Title:
String Quartet no. 2

The circling, persistent viola solo, with which the quartet begins, is repeated, chopped up, magnified, distorted and stretched out. This treatment of musical material is similar to my manipulation of text in recent works. It has a lot to do with memories - how sometimes a vividly experienced dream can suddenly vanish upon waking and all you can grasp hold of are fragments. And how these fragments often linger but finally fade away.

Selected works for the ISCM World New Music Days 2017 will be announced by early 2017.

About the International Society for Contemporary Music

The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) is an important international organisation comprised of an Executive Committee and a network of around fifty member countries (or 'Sections'). It is a "premier forum for the advancement, dissemination and interchange of new music from around the world. Through ISCM, [its] members promote contemporary music in all its varied forms, strengthening musical life in their local contexts and making their music and its creators known to world."

Since the ISCM was founded in 1922 in Salzburg, their network has grown to include more than "60 organisations in over 50 countries, on every continent," with its headquarters residing in Paris, France. The Society's primary purpose is to continue the running of its annual associative festivalWorld Music Days.

The ISCM promotes a strong receptiveness to aesthetic and stylistic diversity. Today, more than ever, with the incredible diversity which exists in contemporary musical expression around the world, this ideal is still strongly supported by ISCM members.

ISCM British Section Panel Members:

  • Mark Bowden
  • Annie Mahtani 


















For further information about the International Society for Contemporary Music and World Music Days, you can visit our ISCM information webpage and our ISCM In Previous Years information webpage.  

For enquiries, please contact our Administrator, Sarah Moir:


Tele: 0207 759 1800


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