Berkeley Ensemble: Beyond Borders
World premiere tour of The Mare’s Tale: A music theatre piece by Mark Bowden & Damian Walford Davies inspired by a ghostly Welsh folk tradition.
Mark Bowden is a British composer of chamber, orchestral and vocal music. His work has been described as ‘an exceptional and absorbing pleasure’ [The Guardian], ‘conjuring up magic and mystery’ [Opera], ‘invigorating’ [The Times] and ‘powerfully dramatic’ [BBC Radio 3]. Mark’s music often comes with a bundle of extra-musical connections, embracing far-reaching literary and philosophical ideas, but its impact is a physical one. He creates music of great expressive power and his confidence handling large forces and forms is unmistakable. Mark studied at Huddersfield and the Royal College of Music. He has enjoyed residencies and fellowships with: BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Rambert Dance Company, Aldeburgh Music, Handel House Museum, Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, the Visby International Centre for Composers in Sweden and the MacDowell Colony in the US. Mark is currently Professor of Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London and chair of the British section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. In 2015 he was awarded the Welsh Music Guild’s Glanville Jones Award and in 2016 he received a British Composer Award.
Hailed as ‘an instinctive collective’ (The Strad) the Berkeley Ensemble was formed with the aim of exploring little-known twentieth- and twenty first- century British chamber music alongside more established repertoire. It now enjoys a busy concert schedule performing throughout the UK and abroad, and is much in demand for its inspiring work in education. Its recordings have attracted critical acclaim, most recently with Lennox Berkeley: Stabat Mater which was nominated in Gramophone Magazine’s Classical Awards 2017. The group enthusiastically champions new music, premiering its first commission, Michael Berkeley’s Clarion Call and Gallop, in 2013 and launching the New Cobbett Prize for composers the following year. Engaging new audiences, most importantly through education, is central to the ensemble’s activities. The ensemble is ensemble-in-residence at both the University of Hull and Ibstock Place School, runs an annual chamber music course in Somerset, and is currently partnering with PRS for Music to present the Accelerate Scheme for emerging composers. A highlight of the ensemble’s year is the Little Venice Music Festival in London, which it has curated and managed since October 2016.