News: Composer chosen for ISCM World Music Days Festival 2020

Joe Cutler Headshot
Wednesday 13th November 2019

Joe Cutler to represent ISCM British Section in New Zealand

Congratulations to Joe Cutler - Britain's representative for the ISCM World Music Days Festival 2020 in New Zealand! The event, run by the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), is an annual international showcase of new music from around the globe, attended by international delegates as well as producers, programmers and composers. You can find out more about the programme here.

Joe Cutler

Joe Cutler has been described as ‘writing music of quirky dancing energy and humour mingled with mystery’ (Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph). For more than 20 years, he has been a distinctive figure on the contemporary music scene, often exploring the spaces between genre.

His music has been performed in over 40 countries and on six continents, and he has released to date three albums, Bartlebooth (NMC, 2008), Boogie Nights (Birmingham Record Company, 2014), and Elsewhereness (NMC, 2018). He is the recipient of two British Composer Awards and since 2005 has been Head of Composition at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Joe's latest work, Hawaii Hawaii Hawaii is premiered in December 2019 at the South Bank, London by Trish Clowes (saxophone) and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

twitter @kutlerski

soundcloud Joe Cutler

Submission Title: McNulty

"McNulty, for piano trio, was written in the summer of 2016, commissioned by my dear friends, the Fidelio Trio, supported by a grant from the Britten-Pears Foundation. I've known the members of the Fidelio Trio for nearly twenty years and we've travelled widely together, often in Ireland (where two of the trio, Darragh and Mary hail from). I have dabbled with folk fiddling myself, playing for a while in a group in an Irish Pub in Warsaw (whilst a student), and have some links to Ireland myself. 

In McNulty, I attempt to place the intricate ornamentation of Irish traditional music outside its normal environment, allowing it to become fused with repetitive riffs and figurations, or placed alongside spectral-inspired harmonic-based textures. Through isolating one feature of traditional music, and placing it within an alternate context, ornamentation becomes the "thing" the piece is about, at odds with its normal ‘supporting’ role.

The piece also takes some inspiration from the American TV drama series The Wire, concerning itself with ideas of what is pertinent and non-pertinent material, 2nd generation heritage (in this case Irish-American), and musical structures that go off the rails."


About World Music Days Festival

The prestigious annual ISCM World Music Days Festival is the principle vehicle,through which the organisation pursues its mission, which can be described as a "platform for musical exchange showcase of world contemporary music prejudice or bias on differences in musical expressions, styles, genres or media". It is organised and funded by the member Sections (countries) each year, and acts as a meeting place for organisations, performers and composers from around the world. The member countries of the ISCM each take turns in hosting the festival. Recent festivals have taken place in Tallinn, Beijing, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Sweden, Australia and Croatia (for a list of past events, please visit the ISCM's World Music Days webpage).

Each year, the host nation has some flexibility in determining the individual themes that drive the programming of the festival, either presenting a  showcase of activity from around the world, or applying other criteria for the selection and programming of works. The festival strives to represent all legitimate members of the ISCM in one way or another through the activities of its programmes, such as: performances, seminars, exhibitions, etc.

To constitute the music for the event, one composer from each member country has the opportunity to have their work performed, after applying via their countries'  Section and being selected from a shortlist by the Associate Members' panel. 

The Section for Britain is Sound and Music, thus all applications for future festivals must be submitted through us.

The festival also provides an opportunity for the ISCM members to meet in their annual congress, to discuss issues affecting the organisation.

The ISCM British Section is supported by the Bliss Trust.

Sound and Music encourages our audiences to join the Bliss Society (

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