Works that speak the truth of our time

International Centre for Contemporary Music launched to promote the performance, production and commissioning of contemporary music

Inaugural London season of concerts and events announced


Zvonimir Hačko

Its name is in many respects self-explanatory, but the International Centre for Contemporary Music merits detailed attention as a multi-faceted organisation with a powerful vision. Newly launched and based in London, ICCM is devoted to the performance, production, and promotion of contemporary music and to encouraging audiences to experience works that are either entirely new or date from the recent past.

With performance at the core of its mission, and with Croatian-American conductor Zvonimir Hačko as its Artistic Director and Music Director, ICCM is announcing its first London concert seasons, scheduled for Spring 2022 and the 2022/23 concert season and featuring a number of world and UK premieres.

Among the performing ensembles are the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and London Sinfonietta, and the themes are contemporary music from Eastern Europe and the US. The Spring 2022 series, Leaning East, will include works by, among others, Sofia Gubaidulina (who turns 90 in October 2021), Witold Lutosławski and Pēteris Vasks (a UK premiere); the Spring 2023 series, America’s High Cotton, will feature such composers as John AdamsJennifer HigdonSteve ReichOsvaldo GolijovPhilip Glass and Missy Mazzoli.

Krzysztof Penderecki, who died aged 86 in March 2020, will be a major focus for ICCM as it not only records all his symphonies, but also presents Penderecki Retrospective in Autumn 2022, a series of seven concerts featuring the composer’s major orchestral works performed by several of London’s leading orchestras including the Philharmonia and the RPO, different choruses and conductors, including Mo. Hačko.

Over the last 100 years or so, concert programming has come to be dominated by music of the past. ICCM is committed to reviving a performance culture in which a wealth of new music is presented as a matter of course. Throughout his international career, Zvonimir Hačko, has always commissioned and championed the work of contemporary composers. As Music Director/Principal Conductor of the Portland-based (Oregon, USA) Oregon Music Festival, he has given local premieres of works by composers such as Adams, Pärt, Vasks, Rautavaara, Górecki, Tavener and Kancheli.

“Every age has its prophets,” Hačko says, “and ours does too. Our job is to find them and perform their works because they speak the truth of our time. That is what ICCM is about.”

There will be further, complementary strands to ICCM’s activities, embracing audience engagement and education, the nurturing of young composers, and partnerships with other artists, performers and cultural institutions. ICCM’s commissioning programme has been active for the last 18 months before launching so that major symphonic works are ready to be programmes by leading orchestras. Likewise, ICCM’s recording programme, and masterclasses and workshops are in operation. An international music academy will soon be launched that will give young musicians the opportunity to work beside established artists.

Already scheduled for 2022 is Meet the Composer, a free programme providing opportunities to interact with composers featured in ICCM’s concert series. It will comprise public forums, open rehearsals, panel discussions, lectures and interviews. The three composers announced for 2022 are French composer Thierry Escaich in March, Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn in April and Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad in November.