Using music and words, my symphony for Speaker and Wind Orchestra ‘A Richer Dust’ explores what it means to live with violence and extremism, the constant companions of human history. The words were written by the Danish writer Malene Sheppard Skaerved, with whom I have collaborated before. The intertwined text and music, ideas and images, weave together voices ranging from those of historically significant figures through to voiceless, ordinary people living in extraordinary times.
For me it is an honour to conduct the premiere with the Band of the Irish Guards: I served in the regimental band between 1982 and 1986 and owe the military so much for giving me not only memorable musical experiences, but allowing me time to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music. So this is a ‘coming home’ experience for me! As far as writing for wind orchestra, it has been one of the most challenging projects to date and I have given it my all.
The World Premiere of ‘A Richer Dust’ was given by the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble under the baton of Dr Reed Thomas. I am proud to contribute to the European and UK Premiere as a conductor on this occasion, falling as it does on Remembrance weekend. This work is about the victims of conflicts throughout history, and it is appropriate that it takes place in the Guards Chapel, London, which was destroyed by a doodle bug bomb during a church service in 1944 killing 121 people.
The day before the concert there will be an “In Conversation” event held in the Royal Academy of Music Museum (Piano Gallery). This is part of the SoundBox series hosted by the Academy’s ‘Viotti Lecturer’, violinist Peter Sheppard Skӕrved . The event will include the writer Malene Sheppard Skӕrved, the Irish Guards Band’s Director of Music Major Bruce Miller, the Band Master Andrew Porter and myself.
This event is free to the public: SOUNDBOX 1230 6th November Piano Gallery Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, London NW15HT
See 4barsrest Link for more about this event: