Press Release date: September 2015
James Baillieu commissions a partner piece for a Britten Masterpiece
James Baillieu. Photo Kaupo Kikkas
Baillieu commissions MuhlyPremiere: 4 December 2015 7.30pm Wigmore Hall, London
As part of his mission to bring the traditions of Lieder repertoire into the 21st century, James Baillieu has put his BBT Fellowship funds towards a new commission from American composer Nico! Muhly for piano and two voices - counter-tenor Iestyn Davies and tenor Allan Clayton*. It will be premiered on 4 December 2015 at Wigmore Hall as part of Introducing James Baillieu, a season-long series of 11 concerts curated and led by James.
South African-born pianist James Baillieu is especially known for his collaborative work with both instrumentalists and singers. The idea for this project arose from his shared friendship with Davies and Clayton whom he heard some years ago performing Benjamin Britten’s Abraham and Isaac: "No obvious partner piece for the Britten seemed to exist. That’s where the idea for a commission originated; I wanted to perform Britten together with something new."
Muhly was an obvious choice as not only has he already written for Davies and Clayton, but he is also interested in creating atmospheric and dramatic works through a profound engagement with text – in this case, another ‘mystery play’, a biblical story that will both complement and contrast the Britten.
Introducing James Baillieu runs throughout the season from September 2015 to July 2016 and is part of Wigmore Hall’s dedication to nurturing outstanding song accompanists in line with its commitment to the Lieder art form’s longRterm future. Baillieu also performs with singers Henk Neven*, Anna Huntley, Sarah-Jane Brandon, Jonathan McGovern, Ailish Tynan, Johnny Hertford and Julian Prégardien, as well as flautist Adam Walker* cellist Alasdair Tait and the Heath Quartet*.
In addition to co-commissioners BBT and Wigmore Hall, André Hoffmann/Foundation Hoffmann and a host of private donors have supported this commission.
* also BBT award winners