Wigmore Hall Commissioning Series

The Radcliffe Trust is proud to be partnering Wigmore Hall in an important series of chamber music commissions.  Initiated as part of our Tercentenary, the series fell naturally into two parts, the first comprising six new string quartets; and the second, a quartet, sextet, and octet commissioned from 2016 through to 2019.

The composers are British, some well-established and some relatively early in their careers, and the performers chosen from amongst the leading chamber musicians of our time.  All nine new works will be premiered at Wigmore Hall.

The commissions were conceived to reflect the Trust’s long-standing interests in both chamber music and composition, and to look to the future with the creation of an important addition to the chamber music canon.

As well as adding significantly to the string quartet repertoire, it is hoped that the commissions will act as “companion pieces” to already-established chamber works for larger ensembles.  By so doing, the new works stand a good chance of finding regular performances in the future.

The series started with a new composition by Mark-Anthony Turnage which was co-commissioned by Wigmore Hall, The Radcliffe Trust and NMC Recordings.

The following performances were premiered at The Wigmore Hall and recorded by the NMC:

  • Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new work for the Belcea Quartet was performed in December 2014
  • Simon Holt’s composition for the JACK Quartet was performed in January 2015
  • In June 2015, the Carducci Quartet with the cellist Guy Johnson performed Anthony Gilbert’s string quintet “Haven of Mysteries”, in a programme which also included the great Schubert two cello quintet in C
  • In July 2016, a commissioned work for string quartet, by Donnacha Dennehy, was performed by the Doric String Quartet
  • Anna Meredith’s commission was premiered by Aurora Orchestra on 24th September 2016
  • Elias Quartet performed Paul Newland’s commission in May 2017
  • Alexander Goehr commission was premiered in September 2017 by the Nash Ensemble Quartet
  • In February 2019 Collin Matthew’s composition was performed by Britten Sinfonia.

The NMC has already released the first volume of these recordings, titled “Bracing Change”, which includes the compositions of Simon Holt, Donnacha Dennehy & Anthony Gilbert.

A further two albums are scheduled to be released in Spring 2020 and Winter 2021.

The final event of the Commissioning Series will be on 10th July 2021 at Wigmore Hall, performed by Heath String Quartet.  It will be the European premiere of the Helen Grime quartet composition.