Music: rarescale to host 10th Anniversary Concerto Gala + interview with Carla Rees

It's time to say happy birthday to rarescale ! The London-based contemporary music ensemble is celebrating its tenth year this autumn and to honour the occasion has two ambitious projects in the pipe-line.

The first is a special composition competition (see rarescale's website) aimed at promoting brand new music. Hosted by the Royal College of Music, the competition called for submissions of unperformed chamber works featuring the alto and bass flute earlier this year. A shortlist of pieces from the Student category has been chosen and will be performed in a workshop with rarescale's artistic director Carla Rees and the composer in residence Michael Oliva. Those from the Professional category will be performed in a finale concert on 27th September 2013 at 7.30pm at Royal College. The winner will be announced at the end of the concert.

Discussing the project with me, Carla expressed her delight in the standard of the entries. "The shortlisted works were selected from over fifty entries, and the overall level was very high. The pieces cover a range of compositional styles which show different perspectives of the alto and bass flute."

The second event is a 10th Anniversary Concerto Gala. Carla and rarescale will perform two concertos for alto flute and chamber ensemble, both specially commissioned for the occasion. The concertos, written by Michael Oliva and Tomi Räsänen, will be programmed alongside works by Daniel Kessner, Sungji Hong and Paul Goodey. As well as turning ten this autumn, rarescale is also celebrating the gift to Carla of a new Kingma and Brannen Kingma system alto flute. 

"The concerto gala is possibly our most ambitious project so far", Carla says. "We're using a bigger group of players than usual, and will be giving the premiere of two new concertos for alto flute with chamber ensemble and electronics."

Carla let me in on what we can expect from the concerto composers: "Michael Oliva, our composer in residence, has a lot of experience writing for low flutes, and his musical language combines the tradition of Debussy and Scriabin with the modern world of microtones and electronics in a unique and emotionally engaging way." She described Tomi Räisänen as 'hugely talented' and went on to say, "This is our first project together and something we've been planning for a long time, so it's very exciting to see the piece coming together."

I am very much looking forward to heading over to Shoreditch for the Gala. rarescale's concerts never fail to be utterly inspiring and are showcases of the very finest contemporary composition and performance there is.

"One of the aims of rarescale from the beginning has been to develop chamber music for alto and bass flute in a range of styles which would help to secure these instruments' position on the recital platform", Carla enthuses. "The concert is a celebration of what we've achieved so far (including the creation of around 750 new works for low flutes) and a thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way."

Carla will perform the world premieres of two new alto flute concertos on Saturday 5th October at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch. Details of the event can be found HERE.

Carla Rees | photo: rarescale

rarescale is a registered charity, number 1112917.


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