Emma Smith

Britten Sinfonia premieres new concertos by composers on its 2023 Magnum Opus development scheme and announces 2024 cohort

  • Britten Sinfonia will premiere three new concertos by composers on its 2023 Magnum Opus development scheme (2 March, 3pm) with Sean Shibe, jazz singer Emma Smith and Ryan Corbett.
  • The 2023 cohort has been embedded with the orchestra for one year, working with players in workshops and rehearsals, and with Programme Directors Dani Howard and Raymond Yiu.
  • The orchestra also announces the 2024 Magnum Opus cohort, composers Alex Groves, Eden Lonsdale, and Anibal Vidal. They will premiere new septet works at Milton Court Concert Hall, London (9 April, 6pm) and chamber concertos for a showcase later in the year. 

Each year three composers ready to take a significant leap forward in their careers are selected for Britten Sinfonia’s headline development programme Magnum Opus, with applications submitted in response to an open call viewed anonymously by the scheme’s Programme Directors. The programme is made possible by the generous support of the 

PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner fund.

The 2023 composers, David John Roche, Crystalla Serghiou and Daniel Soley, have been embedded with the orchestra over the past year. They wrote wind quintets which were premiered as part of a Britten Sinfonia tour in April 2023, and they have now composed more substantial chamber concertos to be premiered at the finale event on 2 March 2024 by Britten Sinfonia and a soloist of their choosing, conducted by William Cole. They have had opportunities to work with the players and their soloist in workshops and rehearsals, as well as receiving feedback and mentoring from 2023 Programme Directors Dani Howard and Raymond Yiu.

David John Roche describes his music as “direct, determined, and loud”, and “strongly influenced by heavy metal, lush orchestral music and his working-class Welsh background”, His concerto for electric guitar is written for the ultra-versatile star soloist Sean Shibe, who is renowned for his collaborations with composers.

Crystalla Serghiou is a composer, singer, songwriter, pianist and conductor who works across contemporary classical music, jazz, pop, opera and traditional Greek-Cypriot music. Her new work, The Stepford Wife, is written for the powerful and expressive jazz singer, Emma Smith.

Daniel Soley is a composer, experimental sound artist and producer whose eclectic work has ranged from orchestral scores to music and sound design for public installations in the Middle East. His new accordion concerto is written for Ryan Corbett, the first accordionist to be selected to be a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist.

Composers selected for Magnum Opus 2024

Britten Sinfonia is delighted to announce the three composers selected for 2024. They will write new works for septet to be premiered on 9 April, 6pm at Milton Court Concert Hall, London, while also choosing chamber pieces for their works to be paired with. They will be supported by the 2024 Magnum Opus Programme Directors, Dani Howard and Michael Zev Gordon, and will work towards writing new chamber concertos for the 2024 showcase this autumn.

Alex Groves is an Ivor Novello-nominated composer and curator working across contemporary classical and electronic music. His work often blends classical instruments and live-processing to create uncanny soundworlds which blur the line between acoustic and electronic.

British/German composer Eden Lonsdale’s music focuses on exploring the various ways that movement and stasis can co-exist, as well as the interconnectedness of harmony, timbre and melody. Often using very limited materials, his dense and immersive sound-worlds attempt to draw the ear into the smallest details and hope to inspire the listener’s self-guided exploration into the music’s manifold layers.

Anibal Vidal is a Chilean composer based in London whose multifaceted career spans concert music, music for media, and multidisciplinary projects. He draws on his South American heritage and diverse musical influences to produce immersive works characterized by gradual processes of gestural repetition and timbral experimentation.