Bath Guitar Festival Opens with Premiere by Howard Skempton

Classic Arts News   Bath Guitar Festival Opens with Premiere by Howard Skempton
Opening tonight, the festival of the International Guitar Foundation in Bath, England will present the premiere of a new work by Howard Skempton in a concert by Tom Kerstens and his G+ Ensemble.

Skempton, who celebrates his 60th birthday this year, was connected early in his career with the English school of experimental music, which grew out of the likes of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Erik Satie in the late 1960s.

Other formative influences on Skempton's style include Webern and La Monte Young. His early piano work called Humming Song for piano (1967) is thus very brief and lean in texture.

Skempton aligned himself closely with minimalism in the 1970s, incorporating constructivist techniques and collaborating wth artists like Peter Lowe and Jeffrey Steele.

Into the 1980s and beyond, his pieces show more melodic stress and broadening, apparent in longer piano works like The Durham Strike (1985), Lento for orchestra (1990) and a series of concertos.

In addition to various chamber works, Skempton has been focusing on choral and vocal music, and recently finished a large-scale orchestral work for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales slated to be premiered in September.

Other ensembles celebrating Skempton's 60th birthday with performances include the Gemini Ensemble, Schubert Ensemble of London, and Leamington Music.

Tonight's celebratory concert also features the premiere of Joby Talbot's The Croydon Grand Prix, and music by Enrique Granados, Philip Cashian, Errollyn Wallen, John Metcalfe, Gabriel Jackson, Laurence Crane, Edward McGuire and Michael Parsons.

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