Composer Profile:  BRIAN ELIAS

Thursday 23 September – Saturday 2 October

“I am delighted that Brian Elias will be featured across the Music@Malling Festival this September. His music is truly fascinating with many diverse influences and cultural references. It will be great to hear in the wonderful, atmospheric venues that we use for the Festival and fantastic for his music to reach new audiences.”

Thomas Kemp, Artistic Director, Music@Malling

As the 2021 Music@Malling Festival returns to live performances with 15 concerts which will also be available online, it continues to profile the music of Brian Elias which began at last year’s online Festival. Daniel Grimwood, who performed Elias’s Plaint (1997) and Moto Perpetuo (1995) at the 2020 Festival, opens proceedings with Elias’s early Five Pieces (1969) in a programme that places works by Brian Elias and Mark-Anthony Turnage in the context of two Beethoven Sonatas.

During the course of the Festival, Artistic Director Thomas Kemp and Sophia Rahman will give the first performance of Brian Elias’s Three Scherzifor violin and piano, and Adam Mackenzie and Chamber Domaine will première Capricciofor bassoon and string ensemble. Further works by Brian Elias programmed this year include Duofor violin and piano; Three Duetsfor violin and cello; Piecefor cello; and the Oboe Quintet, performed by Nicholas Daniel. Of Nicholas Daniel’s première of the same work at the Wigmore Hall in 2017, The Times wrote: “Elias’s new quintet, is full of glinting details and clever interweaving between the four string players and the oboe. Rather than contrast the woodwind player with the quartet, it feels more like a conversation for five equal players; or perhaps a heated debate with different factions aligning then falling out again as the piece’s motifs splinter and reform.” In addition, Thomas Kemp will be joined by film director Barrie Gavin – director of the recent documentary about Brian Elias called A Passage from India – to talk to Brian Elias about his life in music. Full details of the 2021 Festival are available at  

To mark its tenth anniversary, Music@Malling commissioned six composers to write companion works for Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos which will be premièred at a new spring event in 2022. The six new commissions will be programmed alongside their respective Brandenburg Concerto and performed in three concerts by the internationally acclaimed Chamber Domaine, directed by Thomas Kemp. The first of the six premières will be Brian Elias’s Sequel, an 8-minute work composed for the same instrumentation as Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. Also commissioned are Joseph Phibbs, Deborah Pritchard, Daniel Kidane, Michael Price and Stevie Wishart,

Founded in 2011, Music@Malling takes place in historic venues in and around West Malling, an area of exceptional natural beauty with a rich history of culture. The Festival places contemporary music, its composition and performance at the heart of its programming and, over the past ten years in addition to presenting many world and UK premières. Music@Malling has profiled the work of Mark-Anthony Turnage, Judith Bingham, David Horne, Mark Simpson, Arvo Pärt, HK Gruber, James Pearson, Danny Elfman, Elan Eshkeri, Barrington Pheloung, Huw Watkins, Alexander Goehr, Judith Weir and Paul Patterson.

Reflecting on Music@Malling’s return to live concerts, Artistic Director Thomas Kemp remarks: “I am delighted that we can return to in person concerts and we are also delighted to make our events available online to new and existing audiences. We missed having audiences in 2020 and all the musicians are thrilled to perform to the public in person this autumn. It will be a blast.”