Sir Harrison Birtwistle to premiere new work with BCMG


Birmingham Contemporary Music Group will perform the world premiere of …when falling asleep, the highly anticipated new work by the British composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle, at a special concert in Birmingham this autumn.


Commissioned through BCMG’s flagship new music commissioning scheme, Sound Investment, Birtwistle’s new piece for soprano, reciter and ensemble is a companion piece to his 1999 work The Woman and the Hare.


Celebrating Sir Harrison Birtwistle at 85 takes place at CBSO Centre, Birmingham, on 22 September 2019 before touring to the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany, in October 2019. 


With a nod to Birtwistle’s long relationship with BCMG, his 1981 work Pulse Sampler will be also performed in a new version created especially for this performance by BCMG oboist Melinda Maxwell and percussionist Julian Warburton in a special performance at 4.30pm, alongside performances by the 2019–20 NEXT Musicians.


Stephan Meier, Artistic Director of BCMG, commented:

"I am delighted that BCMG is now able to contribute this new work to our long relationship with Birtwistle. Sir Harry continues to pursue and counter romanticism, marrying it with modernity in his very own and unique style.”

Performances - Celebrating Sir Harrison Birtwistle at 85

Sunday 22 September 2019

CBSO Centre, Birmingham


Melinda Maxwell: Oboe

Julian Warburton: Percussion

Sir Harrison Birtwistle (b. 1934) Pulse Sampler (1984/2019), 32′

With works performed by NEXT Musicians


Alice Rossi: Soprano

Simone Leona Huebner: Reciter

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla: Conductor*

Geoffrey Paterson: Conductor

Rebecca Saunders (b. 1967) a visible trace (2006), 21′*

Lisa Illean (b. 1983) Cantor (2017), 9′

Sir Harrison Birtwistle (b. 1934) Three Songs from The Holy Forest (2017), 7′

                            …when falling asleep (World Premiere of Sound Investment Commission (2018/19), 7′

The Woman and the Hare (1999), 15′

David Taylor