“..the best new stuff I’ve heard in an age came from the Birmingham-based Irish composer Sid Peacock, whose young, 16-piece big band played inspiring, wildly creative music.” Independent On Sunday
Sid Peacock is one of the most exciting composers in that difficult-to-define area between jazz, contemporary music and improv. The main vehicle for his work is his self formed Surge Orchestra. He has travelled to China as part of PRS for Music Foundation and British Council’s second edition of Musicians in Residence China.
PRSF: Hi Sid, thank you for being our Guest of the Month! By the time this page is live you will be in residence with the Sichuan Opera Troupe in Chongqing! What excites you most about being able to spend time composing in China?
SP: Experiencing Sichuan Opera. Initially it was a difficult music to wrap my western ears around but the more I listen the more beautiful it becomes. Add to that the elaborate costumes and staging, fire breathing, sword swallowing and face changing and you have one serious happening.
PRSF: What are your plans for the residency and what do you hope to achieve?
SP: Six weeks is a good bit of time out from my usual routine. I hope to get a lot of composing and practice done alongside having a lot of fun making music with interesting musicians and being a tourist.
PRSF: You’ll be meeting a lot of musicians in Chongqing. If you had to play them one record or piece of music that had inspired you what would it be?
SP: Sm Rivers – Waves
PRSF: What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
SP: Having Django Bates guest with my Surge Orchestra at the mac centre in Birmingham.
PRSF: And the biggest challenge?
Sid Peacock’s recommendations
Artist: Steve Tromans
Steve Tromans is a highly talented and versatile pianist/composer from Birmingham. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him regularly over the past ten years and consider him a truly magical musician.
To tip one work in particular? Songs of Love and Hate is a recent recording and available on a name your price basis from Pinkhaus Records, highly recommended.
Festival: Celebrating Sanctuary Festival 21st June
Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham put on an event each year at the mac to mark Refugee Week. If you go there on 21st June at 12am you will hear for free world class music from Salih Hassan – Sudan, Afro Mio – Angola & Congo, CASCA – Cameroon and Redeemed – Congo. All these wonderful acts are based in the West Midlands and deserving of much wider recognition.
Artist: Loose Tubes
One of my biggest inspirations and until last week only through recordings. I saw Loose Tubes at Ronnie Scotts on the second night of their residency with my partner vocalist/violinist Ruth Angell and we were awestruck. Pieces by Django Bates, Chris Batchelor and Eddie Parker in particular stood out for me. Here’s hoping Loose Tubes keep playing and someone has the good sense to offer them an ACE NPO gig.