Edinburgh Festival 2017

17 March, 2017

The World Premiere of 'Staffa', a collaboration with Gerry Fox, for orchestra and three large screens, is being performed by the BBC SSO (conductor Martyn Brabbins) at the 70th Anniversary Finale Concert of the Edinburgh Festival (August 27) and as an installation in the National Library of Scotland (August 17-27) with score recorded by the RSNO (conductor Jean-Claude Picard). Excerpt from press release:

Created by BAFTA and Grierson award-winning filmmaker Gerry Fox and acclaimed composer Ned Bigham, Staffa pays homage to Mendelssohn's famous 1829 visit to the haunting Fingal's Cave on the Hebridean island by exploring the unique hexagonal, basalt column formations of the interior of the cave and its surroundings. Whilst inspired by Mendelssohn’s journey, the work is new and ground-breaking.

Supported by Creative Scotland, Staffa will be presented prior to the finale concert as a three-screen quadraphonic installation, with music recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, at the National Library of Scotland from 17-27 August.

Using pioneering drone-mounted footage in three contrasting weather conditions; sunny, rainy and stormy, Gerry has been able to depict three simultaneous visions of the uninhabited island. Scored for full symphony orchestra, celeste and two harps, Bigham’s music dramatically evokes the different moods and the marriage between sound and image is unique and magical.

Gerry Fox said: "It has been an incredibly rewarding journey collaborating with composer Ned Bigham. We have captured the vastly different moods and conditions of Staffa to create a spiritual voyage around the distinctive cave and its beautiful surrounding landscape.”

Ned Bigham said: “Composing music across three different atmospheres which are projected simultaneously has been a great challenge. Both Gerry and I have strived to create a narrative which draws the audience in and reaches the inaccessible.”

The music will be available on CD in September on Aruna Records.

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Update August 2016

03 August, 2016

The two recent commission premieres were well received. 'Music to hear', acappella setting of Shakespeare's Sonnet VIII, was beautifully performed by the combined choirs of Chichester, Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals at the Southern Cathedrals Festival twelve days ago. 'Heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness' was stunningly performed by the Brodsky Quartet at Champs Hill and St Mary's last week as part of the Petworth Festival.

A track I co-wrote and recorded with Amy Winehouse ('Jazz 'n Blues') is mentioned in the current issue of Rolling Stone Magazine: link

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Update Spring 2016

11 April, 2016

The recording of 'Staffa' with the RSNO in Glasgow went well. Currently working with Gerry Fox to finish the installation. Also finishing a commission for the Southern Cathedrals Festival. This is an unaccompanied choral setting of Shakespeare's Sonnet VIII, 'Music to Hear'. It will be performed in Chichester Cathedral 21-23 July by the massed cathedral choirs of Chichester, Winchester and Salisbury. The next project is a commission for an eight minute work for the Brodsky Quartet, which is being performed at the Petworth Festival on 25th and 29th July. Also inspired by Shakespeare, its title is 'Heaven shall call her from this heart of darkness' (Henry VIII Act V Scene V, referring to the future Queen Elizabeth).

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RSNO Commission

12 December, 2015

Currently working on a commission from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to compose 'Staffa'. This is a multi-media collaboration with BAFTA-award winning director Gerry Fox. Inspired by Mendelssohn's journey to the Hebrides, it features unique drone-based footage of the island and Fingal's Cave. The orchestral recording sessions are in Glasgow in February under the baton of Associate Conductor Jean-Claude Picard. They will take place in the RSNO's new state-of-the-art concert hall and recording space, engineered by Linn Records chief producer/engineer Phil Hobbs.

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