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Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra latest CD release: “fuoco e fumo” by Prof Richard RIJNVOS

The latest CD release by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) features fuoco e fumo, a work by composer Richard RIJNVOS.

Premiered in June 2015 by Amsterdam’s world-famous ensemble, the piece was recently performed by the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Shi-Yeon Sun, during the ISCM World Music Days 2016 in Tongyeong (South Korea), where the composer represented his native country of The Netherlands.

The orchestral work fuoco e fumo ("fire and smoke") depicts the disastrous fire that destroyed the Venetian opera house La Fenice in January 1996. The piece was originally commissioned and premièred by the RCO, with whom the composer currently enjoys a long-term residency.

The new CD on RCO Live (the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's own in-house label) is entitled “Horizon 7”, and carries the catalogue number RCO16003. Besides Rijnvos, it features works by George Benjamin, and Magnus Lindberg.

Read more here.

(24 May 2016)

Performances of works by Dr Eric Egan in London, Oslo and Dublin

"Through the Embers"

Roundhouse Theatre, London; 25 April 2016

Dr Egan's "Through the Embers" was performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra Soloists at the Roundhouse Theatre in London, as part of an event organised by nu:nord, an interest group for composers from Canada, Norway, and the UK. This is the seventh performance of the piece, which addresses our relationship to the past and present through a series of evolutionary structural processes. It was originally written for the Ives Ensemble in 2013.



"Movements and Mazes"

Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo; 14 May 2016

Dr Egan's percussion trio "Movements and Mazes" will be performed by SISU at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. The piece, which explores complex gestural relationships between movement and sound, was originally written as a companion piece to Georges Aperghis' "Les Guetteurs de Sons", for the IMPULS Festival in Graz in February 2013. 


"murmurrandoms" première with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

National Concert Hall, Dublin; 16 May 2016

Dr Egan's "murmurrandoms" will be premiered by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. The event, which is a collaboration between the orchestra and the Irish Contemporary Music Centre, is part of a pilot project aimed at bringing new composers and audiences to the world of contemporary orchestral music.

(13 May 2016)

Prof Jeremy Dibble marks Queen's 90th birthday with radio interviews on role of Master of the King’s/Queen’s Musick

Professor Dibble examines the role of Master of the King’s/Queen’s Musick in the Royal Household, exploring the music written to commemorate significant royal occasions through the ages.

Listen to the full feature (in German) from the cultural radio channel WDR 3 here.

(5 May 2016)

Durham Music Department ranked 2nd in the Complete University Guide 2017

We’re delighted to announce that the Music Department has been ranked 2nd out of the 77 assessed departments in the Complete University Guide 2017, rising from 3rd in 2016. The league table measures research excellence, employability, student satisfaction and entry standards.

Full details can be viewed here.

(27 Apr 2016)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra plays 'Union Square Dance' by Prof Richard Rijnvos

6 & 8 May 2016, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

On 6 and 8 May 2016 the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO), conducted by maestro Gustavo Gimeno, will perform Richard RIJNVOS' Union Square Dance. The work is scored for two identical orchestras that are positioned stereophonically on stage.

Originally commissioned by NTR ZaterdagMatinee and first performed by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in April 2009, Union Square Dance is the final part of Uptown|Downtown, an urban panorama in six movements, which is thought of as an evening-long dance production about city life in Manhattan.

Carrying the disarming motto “divided we fall, united we dance,” the work is a euphoric dance, incessant and unceasing. The performances by the RCO mark Richard Rijnvos' creative engagement with the world-famous symphony orchestra from Amsterdam, in a long-term residency that started in 2011.

A studio CD-recording of Union Square Dance is available on Challenge Classics CC72538.

For more information, click here.

(26 Apr 2016)

Department hosts Philosophy of Improvisation Workshop

17 April 2016, St Mary's Heritage Centre, Gateshead

18 April, Durham University Music Department, Palace Green


A two-day workshop consisting of talks and discussions that explore the thinking behind improvisation. Participants include improvising musicians Louise Gibbs and Steve Beresford from the UK, Mike Baggetta and Kris Tiner from the US, Alípio C. Neto from Brazil, and writers Philip Clark and Andy Hamilton. Admission is free and open to all.
Please click here for full schedule and booking details. 

(10 Apr 2016)

World première of orchestral arrangements by Prof Richard Rijnvos

14-15-16 April 2016, Sala São Paulo, São Paulo (Brazil)

On 14, 15 and 16 April 2016 the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP) will give the world première of Richard RIJNVOS' orchestral arrangements of Alma Brasileira (1925) and Valsa da Dor (1932), two legendary solo piano works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, who is often described as "the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music".
Considered to be the foremost symphony orchestra in the whole of Latin America, the OSESP will be conducted by Valentina Peleggi. It is the second time the orchestra performs Rijnvos' orchestral arrangements, after giving the Brazil première of his orchestration of Rudepoêma in December 2014, with Durham University's Head of Performance John Snijders on piano. Rijnvos' scoring of Alma Brasileira and Valsa da Dor are the first ever orchestral arrangements of its kind.
For more information, click here.

(5 Apr 2016)

Dr Eric Egan leads composition study day for Framwellgate School pupils

On Saturday 6th February 21 pupils from Framwellgate School in Durham had a one day residential study day in the Music Department at Durham Univeristy.

This was led by Dr. Eric Egan, with the support of Dr. Chad Langford (currently a postdoctoral researcher in the department) and PhD student Mark Carroll. The event included talks on different conceptual and practical approaches to composition, the development of coherent musical structures, free improvisation as a tool for devising new musical material.

In addition, the pupils were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the current research of the three course tutors. There were also four hours of intensive composition sessions, where the Durham staff supported the work of the visitors.

(16 Mar 2016)

Orchestral work 'fuoco e fumo' by Prof Richard Rijnvos selected for ISCM World Music Days 2016

31 March 2016, 15:00, Tongyeong Concert Hall, Tongyeong (South Korea)

The orchestral work fuoco e fumo by Richard Rijnvos has been selected for the ISCM World Music Days 2016. The piece will be performed on 31 March in the futuristic Tongyeong Concert Hall in South Korea, by the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Shi-Yeon Sun.
The ISCM World Music Days is an annual contemporary music festival organized by the International Society for Contemporary Music since 1923. Each edition is held in a different location around the world, and the programmes are organized by a jury after evaluating the submissions of each ISCM national section. During this year's edition composer Richard Rijnvos will be representing his native country of The Netherlands.
The orchestral work fuoco e fumo ("fire and smoke") depicts the disastrous fire that destroyed the Venetian opera house La Fenice in January 1996. The piece was originally commissioned and premièred by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, with whom the composer currently enjoys a long-term residency.
For more information, click here.

(11 Mar 2016)

Prof Julian Horton appointed Netherlands & Flanders Music Theorist in Residence, presents new SMA podcast

Head of the Music Department, Professor Julian Horton has been appointed as Music Theorist in Residence to the Netherlands and Flanders for 2016 by the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory. In this position, he will give guest lectures and workshops at the Amsterdam Conservatoire, the University of Amsterdam, and the Catholic University, Leuven.

In his role as president of the Society for Music Analysis (SMA), Professor Horton presents the first in a new series of video podcasts intended to provide an accessible route into analysis.

Looking in detail at the exposition in the first movement of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, Op. 68, Professor Horton's film develops a case study of the dialogue between music analysis and musicology, by exploring ways in which motivic and formal analysis reflect and interact with broader music-historical issues.

The full series of podcasts can be found on the SMA's website.

(6 Mar 2016)

Prof Jeremy Dibble provides history of 'Jerusalem' as MPs debate anthem for England

As MPs debate the idea of England adopting an official national anthem, Professor Jeremy Dibble provides a history of one of the contenders, Jerusalem

Should England say goodbye to the patriotic God Save The Queen and instead adopt its own national anthem just as the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish have? David Cameron thinks so – and MPs will debate this week whether or not to replace God Save the Queen, with Jerusalem being mooted as a possible alternative...

Read the full article here.

(4 Mar 2016)

CD release and performance of Dr Eric Egan's 'in some or other Oasis'

Dr Egan's 'in some or other Oasis' has been released on the CD 'Tapestry' with the FABRA label. It is one of seven pieces for string orchestra, written by members of the NyMusikks Komponistgruppe (a Norwegian interest group for composers), and recorded by a Telemark Chamber Orchestra in Oslo in August 2015. The tracks on the CD are available through all major online platforms.

 'in some or other Oasis' will be performed by Telemark Chamber Orchestra on 3 March 2016 at the National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. The piece, which is inspired by an extract from Norwegian writer Jens Bjørneboe's seminal work 'the Silence', was commissioned by the orchestra with funds from Komponistenes Vederlagsfond (a Norwegian arts fund). It is the first of two pieces based on distorted arrangements of traditional Irish and Norwegian fiddle tunes; the second, 'murmurrandoms', will be premièred by the RTÉ orchestra in Dublin in May 2016.

(25 Feb 2016)

World’s first computer generated musical opens in West End: composition software developed by Dr Nick Collins

A new piece of algorithmic composition software has been developed by the Music Department's Reader in Composition, Dr Nick Collins, to produce musical scores after being fed ingredients that make a successful show tune.

Music produced by the software features in Beyond the Fence, which plays at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End from 22 February to 5 March.

Full the full story, click here.

(19 Feb 2016)

World premiere 'Asie' by Prof Richard Rijnvos

19th March 2016, 14:15, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (the Netherlands)

The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado, will première Richard Rijnvos's new orchestral work Asie, during the NTR ZaterdagMatinee concert series. The work, commissioned by Dutch Radio 4, forms part of Grand Atlas, subtitled "représentation du monde universel en sept tableaux musicaux".
Asie is the third part of Grand Atlas, a cycle in which each of the seven world continents is depicted in an orchestral composition. The work embarks on a journey that takes us to the archipelago of Japan, the volcanic island of Bali, and finally to the Korean Peninsula, experiencing various weather conditions along the way. There are six sections that succeed each other without a break:
1. Prelude - Banshun no Kaze (Late Spring Breeze)
2. JAPAN - Seigaiha (Blue Sea Wave)
3. BALI – Sekar Kamuda (after I Ketút Gedé Asnawa)
4. Interlude - Turun Kabut (Descending Fog)
5. KOREA - T'aep'yongga (Song of Great Peace)
6. Postlude -Jangmajeonseon (Early Summer Rain)
For more information, click here:

(15 Feb 2016)

Professors Julian Horton and Bennett Zon give public seminars

Professor Julian Horton - Textual Evidence and Musical Analysis: Once More on the First Movement of Beethoven’s ‘Tempest’ Sonata, Op. 31, No. 2

Tuesday 2 February 2016, 18:00-19:30; PGL Learning Centre - Palace Green Library

This lecture revisits the analytical reception history of Beethoven’s ‘Tempest’ Sonata, as part of Palace Green Library’s series ‘The Life of Texts: Evidence in Textual Production, Transmission and Reception’.

Follow this link for full details.

Professor Bennett Zon - Evolution and Victorian Musical Culture: anti-Semitism and Hebrew music in Carl Engel's Music of the Most Ancient Nations (1864)

Monday 8 February 2016, 13:00-14:00; Institute of Advanced Study, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green

In this IAS Christopherson Knott Fellows' Seminar, Professor Zon explores the conflicted nature of ethnomusicologist Carl Engel’s anti-Semitism in Music of the Most Ancient Nations.

Places are limited, so please contact the IAS Secretary at: in advance to reserve a place.


Follow this link for full details.

(31 Jan 2016)

Music Department holds musicology/ethnomusicology study day

Tuesday 2 February 2016; Institute of Advanced Study, Palace Green
Each session open to all - no registration required

Imagined Communities, Imagined Territories - FULL PROGRAMME

The theme 'Imagined Communities, Imagined Territories' brings together musicologists and ethnomusicologists among the Music Department's staff and postgraduate researchers for this study day, part of the 2015/2016 Research Forum series.

The day's keynote lecture is given by Srđan Atanasovski (Institute of Musicology, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade), and is entitled Musical and Sonic Spaces of Contemporary Serbian Religious Nationalism.

(28 Jan 2016)

New AHRC-funded research project begins April 2016

Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance (IEMP) is an interdisciplinary research project, based on a large-scale international collaboration between a group of scholars with a common interest in interpersonal coordination and synchrony in music-making. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and will run for two years from April 2016.

The project is led by Martin Clayton and Tuomas Eerola at Durham, with international co-investigators Antonio Camurri (Casa Paganini – InfoMus, Genoa) and Peter Keller (MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University). These investigators will collaborate with a wider international group of researchers with interests in musical entrainment and expertise in a wide variety of musical traditions, supported by lead technician Simone Tarsitani (Durham).

For more about the project see:

We are currently recruiting a Postdoctoral Research Assistant to work on the project: see

(24 Jan 2016)

Department delighted to welcome new Lecturer in Music, Dr Katherine Hambridge

Dr Hambridge is a specialist in French and German musical life in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Her research has been published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, in the Annales de la Révolution française, and is forthcoming in the Oxford University Press Handbooks Series and the Cambridge Opera Journal.

Visit Dr Hambridge's full profile.

(17 Jan 2016)

John Snijders performs world premiere on BBC Radio 3

9 January 2016, 10pm – Hear and Now, BBC Radio 3

Head of Music Performance John Snijders plays the world premiere of ‘The Red Studio’, a piece commissioned by him from London-based composer Christopher Fox.

The piece brings together two areas of research Snijders is currently working on: the piano music of Christopher Fox, and the nineteenth century tradition of 'preluding', in which keyboard players improvise short preludes before every piece in a recital.

Fox's piece is a suite of four movements, each preceded by a prelude. The result is intended to be reminiscent of a painting in which the artist depicts their own studio, as in the Matisse work, 'The Red Studio'.

More information about the programme, and video clips of Snijders discussing the piece with Fox can be found on the programme's BBC webpage. This page also contains video performances of two other Fox piano pieces, ‘Boat Song’ (2007) and ‘You, Us, Me’ (1992, also a commission from Snijders).

(7 Jan 2016)

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships at the Music Department

The Music Department invites expressions of interest from outstanding candidates who wish to apply for a prestigious Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship through Durham University. We welcome expressions of interest from eligible candidates working on topics related to our specific research fields within musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, cognition, composition and performance, and on related interdisciplinary projects: potential candidates are encouraged to explore the information on our current research on our web site. These Fellowships aim to provide opportunities for career development for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but with a proven record of excellent research.

Further information on the Leverhulme Trust Scheme, including eligibility criteria, can be found here:

Those who wish to express interest in applying for a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship should contact Professor Martin Clayton at and be prepared to provide the following information by 15 January 2016.

  1. curriculum vitae

  2. detailed account of the proposed research, (2 pages of A4, Times New Roman 12 pt). This should state the aims, objectives, method and publication plans, with particular attention to explanation of the significance of the subject, and the research problem and questions. This statement should be clear and precise, with bibliographical references given in full.

  3. abstract of the proposal in non-technical terms so as to be easily comprehensible to a non-expert.

  4. details of the research being undertaken in the Music Department which is relevant to your proposal.

Applicants will be sent comments on their proposal, and, if judged suitable for support, further advice will be provided on the draft application. These applications undergo a process of scrutiny and selection by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Those whose proposals are to receive Faculty support will be informed in good time to enable any further refinement of the application, before submission to the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships scheme by its deadline of 10 March 2016.

Durham University is one of the UK’s leading universities for research in Arts and Humanities. It offers an acclaimed environment for the support of early career researchers. The University holds internationally important research collections and in REF 2014 the Faculty of Arts and Humanities was ranked 6th among similar faculties. The Music Department was highly ranked in REF 2014 (2nd overall in Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts in the research intensity ranking). All departments in the Faculty pursue world-leading research and interdisciplinary research is further supported through several research centres and institutes.

(15 Dec 2015)

New publication by Dr Hector Sequera on Tomás Luis de Victoria’s music

The volume 'New Perspectives on Early Music in Spain’ edited by Tess Knighton and Emilio Ros-Fábregas is fresh off the press.

It includes a contribution by Dr Sequera entitled "Alternatives to the ‘English a Cappella Heresy’: Performance Practice of Sacred Spanish Polyphony in Recusant Households Based on Elizabethan and Early Jacobean Sources.”

The volume is published by Edition Reichenberger.

Full information is available here.

(30 Nov 2015)

Latest recording projects involving Professor Jeremy Dibble

Professor Jeremy Dibble has acted as musical editor and advisor to a new recording of Charles Villiers Stanford's 'Stabat Mater', 'Song to the Soul' and 'The Resurrection' with the London Bach Choir and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Hill for the Naxos label.

He is also acting as advisor and editor for a new recording on the SOMM label of Stanford's String Quartets Nos. 5 and 8 with the Dante Quartet.

For more information can be found here.

(28 Nov 2015)

Durham Music Department ranked 3rd in the Times Subject Rankings

We are delighted to report that the Music Department has been ranked 3rd among the UK’s 77 music departments in the Times Good University Guide Subject Rankings 2016.

This success follows rankings among the top three music departments in both the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, and the Complete University Guide 2016.

(26 Nov 2015)

Durham ranked in top three departments in REF 2014

(19 Dec 2014) » More about Durham ranked in top three departments in REF 2014