Composer-in-Residence at CSYM’s Cambridge Suzuki Summer Music Institute 2007
At the finale concert of CSYM’s 2007 workshop, an exciting new work by
Graham Fitkin entitled Uncertain received its premiere performance. It met with
exhilarated cheers and lengthy applause from a warm and receptive audience.
Graham composed the work especially for CSYM, coaching and directing the
performers himself during the four-day workshop.
Commissioned by the Cambridge Suzuki Young Musicians with support from the
Cambridge City Council, the PRS Foundation and Blueprint, the composition was
written for two pianos and string quartet. It is made up of three movements of
increasing difficulty, and lasts for nine minutes.
In the finale concert, the second movement incorporated a Dalcroze Plastique
coached by Jacqueline Vann and involving twelve children, aged 8—11 (from the
UK, USA, Spain and Denmark). Dalcroze Plastique is a Dalcroze strand that
involves ‘bringing alive’ the music through organised movement.
Eleven children, aged 11—16, from Cambridge, Devon and Copenhagen played
the piano parts and the string quartet was made up of a mixture of teachers,
students and two very young children from Spain and Denmark. All eleven children
worked on their own individual piano parts for a number of weeks before the
Institute, and Graham rehearsed them over the four days of the course.
Born and brought up in Cornwall, Graham Fitkin is a composer who is also
involved in conducting, performing, music production and education. He started
playing the piano and composing at a young age. Early influences included his
mother (a piano teacher), jazz, popular culture and Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of
Spring’. He studied at Nottingham University and then travelled to the
Netherlands to study with Louis Andriessen at Koninklijk Conservatorium in The
Composing for solo or multiple pianos has been central to his work. In 1985 he
founded the four-pianist group, ‘Nanquidno’ and there followed
commissions for Piano Circus and Kathryn Stott. Commissions followed for such
ensembles as The Smith Quartet, Ensemble Bash, Sound Affairs and Icebreaker. In
1993 he was appointed Programme Director for the spnm in England. Extensive
education work has included a 1995 project in the black community of Pelmamma,
Soweto in South Africa, three PRS Composer in Education residencies, various
regional community projects, university seminars, masterclasses and workshops
around the world.
Graham also often works with acoustic and electronic instruments and
collaborates with dance, film and digital media alongside concert orchestral and
chamber music. He has worked frequently with choreographers around the world and
with numerous ballet and dance companies, and in 1994 was awarded the Grand Prix
Music for Dance Video Award.
For more details about Graham’s work, his numerous past projects, current
plans, and recordings, visit his website
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Betty & Stephen Power