VNM) = Published by Verlag Neue Musik, Berlin
(CE) = Available from Camerata Editions, London
- The Firmament of Time (VNM) 220.127.116.11:18.104.22.168:tmp:4perc:hrp:strings (20’) 2008 Commissioned by the BBC 1st perf: BBC Studio 1, Maida Vale, London; January 2009; BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Garry Walker …purposeful, even ceaseless transformation…the correlation of incidental detail within the overall picture was finely controlled…expressive immediacy (classicalsource.com)
- La Settima Bolgia (VNM) 22.214.171.124:126.96.36.199:tmp:5perc:2hrps:strings (14’30") 1989 1st perf: Southampton International New Music Week 1989; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kees Bakels .. always in fluctuating, often turbulent motion...brilliantly scored. (The Guardian) A firm sense of direction...vividly imagined and realised. (Independent)
- Mercurius (VNM) 188.8.131.52:184.108.40.206:hrp:strings (9’) 1989 (adapted from chamber ensemble version of 1979) 1st perf: Southampton International New Music Week 1989; Bournemouth Sinfonietta, conducted by Kees Bakels A piece of many layers, shades, contrasts and transformations, as unpredictable as quicksilver, and just as captivating in its elusive manner (Contact) Austere, delicate patterns... (Sunday Times)
- In the Silence of Turned Earth (VNM) solo soprano, solo violin & strings (11’) 2010 Commissioned for the Sofia Soloists, Bulgaria 1st perf: Sofia, Bulgaria, September 2010; Vania Vatralova-Stankov, Ivo Stankov, Sofia Soloists, conducted by Plamen Djouroff
- Spring Music (CE) 220.127.116.11:0.2.1.0:3perc:pno:hrp:strings (16’) 1972 Commissioned by The BBC
- Concerto for Viola and Orchestra (CE) viola solo:18.104.22.168:22.214.171.124:timp:celesta:strings (16’) 1967, revised 1984 1st perf: Royal Scottish Academy of Music 1968; soloist James Durrant
Instrumental chamber ensembles: mixed
- Harmoniemusik (VNM) 126.96.36.199sax:188.8.131.52:1perc:pf:e-gtr.b-gtr (12’) 2009 1st perf: Musis Sacrum, Arnhem, Netherlands; October 2010; Orkest ‘de ereprijs’, conducted by Wim Boerman
- The Fruit of Chance and Necessity (VNM) solo ‘cello:184.108.40.206:220.127.116.11:accrdn.:solo strings (16’) 2004 Commissioned by Barry Noble 1st perf: City Theatre, Basel, Switzerland; November 2004 at the ISCM World Music Days; soloist Beat Schneider with Ensemble Phoenix conducted by Jürg Henneberger
- Mercurius (CE) wind quintet, string quartet, harp (9’) 1979 1st perf: University of York 1979; conducted by Peter Wiegold Sparkling fragments of dialogue tossed about in explosive flashes...constantly changing mood (The Times)
- Kommos (VNM) oboe, 2 violins, viola, ‘cello, doublebass, piano (10’) 2011 Commissioned by Daegu Contemporary Music Festival, S Korea 1st perf. scheduled June 2011; Eclat conducted by Jin Soo Kim
- Strata (CE) 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, string trio (12’) 1977 Commissioned by Hotwells Music Workshop 1st perf: SPNM’s ‘Alive and Composing’, London 1980; conducted by Buxton Orr
- Ensemble Music for Six (CE) flute, clarinet, piano, violin, viola, ‘cello (6’) 1976 1st perf: Arnolfini, Bristol 1976; conducted by Peter Wiegold ...wonderfully idiomatic (musicalpointers.co.uk)
- Nephalauxis (CE) string quartet, 2 percussionists (15’) 1977 1st perf: Warsaw Autumn Festival 1979; Royal Lazienki Quartet, Marta Ptaszynska, Hubert Rutkowski A striking piece (Contact)
- The Visions of Zosimos (CE) flute/alto, clarinet/bass, percussion, string trio (18’) 1981 Commissioned for its inaugural concert by Uroboros Ensemble 1st perf: October Gallery, London 1982; Uroboros Ensemble, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard
- Lollay, Lollay (CE) cor anglais, bass clarinet, piano, percussion, viola, ‘cello (13’) 1983 Commissioned by Uroboros Ensemble 1st perf: 1983; Uroboros Ensemble, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard .. cunningly evoked the terrifying conception of a lilting lullaby, and the darkness behind its apparent innocence. (Robert Saxton on Music in Our Time, BBC Radio 3)
- Moondance (CE) solo clarinet, string trio, percussion (20’) 1982 Commissioned by Angela Malsbury 1st perf: Arnolfini, Bristol 1982; Angela Malsbury, Uroboros Ensemble, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard ..ranged from deeply lyrical solos to frenzied ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ atmospheres, encapsulating in music everything one could associate with nocturnal adventure. Most definitely the highlight...successfully captivated the audience. (Venue)
- Chamber Concerto (CE) solo piano, flute/piccolo, clarinet, violin, ‘cello (14’) 1985 Commissioned for Allan Schiller 1st perf: St John’s Smith Square, London 1986; Allan Schiller, Uroboros Ensemble, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard ..an accomplished work (Tempo)
- Madrigal (VNM) flute/piccolo/alto, oboe/cor anglais, clarinet/bass, percussion, harp (12’) 1987/8 Commissioned by Uroboros Ensemble 1st perf: The Michael Tippett Centre, Bath 1989; Uroboros Ensemble, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard ..discipline and formal simplicity ... dryly expressive, like neo-classical Stravinsky. (The Times)
- Wayang (CE) flute/alto/piccolo, clarinet/bass, piano, percussion, ‘cello (13’) 1993 Commissioned by The Basle Soloists 1st perf: Quebec, Canada 1993; The Basle Soloists, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard
- Nebulae and Episodes (CE) alto sax., violin, ‘cello, percussion, piano (13’30") 2005 1st perf: The Warehouse, London 2007; Uroboros Ensemble, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard ...as the music breathed gently...it found an elusive dialogue...(New Notes)
- Demise (VNM) percussion trio, piano, live electronics (18’30") 1994 Commissioned by The Basle Percussion Trio 1st perf: Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 1994; The Basle Percussion Trio, Daniel Cholette, Alex Buess ..made a strong case for further airings. (The Independent)
- Features and Formations (VNM) solo violin, flute, clarinet, ‘cello (10’30") 2003 Commissioned by the 1st Reggello International Festival of Music, Italy 1st perf: Reggello International Festival of Music, Italy 2003; Darragh Morgan solo violin with Uroboros Ensemble, conducted by Gwyn Pritchard
- Nightfall (VNM) flute/alto, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, ‘cello ( 11’00") 2011 Commissioned for Ex Novo Ensemble, Venice, Italy 1st perf. scheduled October 17th, 2011; La Fenice, Venice.
- Ariel Dreaming (CE) recorders, cimbalom, percussion, accordion (9’) 2010 1st perf: Weimar Spring Contemporary Music Days, 2010; Ensemble Kozmosz
- Objects in Space (VNM) clarinet, harp, percussion (12’) 1978 1st perf: Purcell Room, London 1978; Gemini, conducted by Peter Wiegold ..a taught and well pointed structure, and sonorities that were never arbitrary or redundant. (The Guardian)
- Res (VNM) violin,‘cello & piano (4’15") 2011 1st perf: Scheduled Salzburg, November 2011; Members of oenm
Instrumental chamber ensembles: homogeneous
- Earthcrust (CE) six percussionists (21’) 1980 1st perf: Potsdam, New York 1982; Crane Percussion Ensemble, conducted by James Petercsak
- Eidos (CE) six percussionists (15’) 1990 Commissioned by International Percussion Workshops, Poland 1st perf: Bydgoszcz, Poland 1990; directed by Stephen Schick
- Tetrad (CE) four flutes (7’) 1976
- Break Apart (CE) four percussionists: xylophone & marimba soli, two sets of drums (8’) 1995 Commissioned by Siegfried Kutterer 1st perf: Festival Schlaglichter 96, Birsfelden, Switzerland 1996; André Morin & The Basle Percussion Trio
- Conflux (CE) four bassoons (5’) 2008 1st perf: Rheinsberg, Germany, 2008; Quadriga Bassoon Ensemble
- Das Mysterium der Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (CE) three percussionists - theatre piece (2’) 1995 Commissioned by the Basle Percussion Trio 1st perf: Basle City Theatre 1995; The Basle Percussion Trio
- Tangents (CE) ‘cello & piano (5’) 1969 Commissioned by Paul Pulford 1st perf: Royal Scottish Academy of Music 1969; Paul Pulford & Stewart Robertson
- Music for Double Bass and Harp (CE) (6’30") 1969 1st perf: BBC Christchurch Studios, Bristol 1972; Jack Goldzweig & Meinir Heulyn
- Duo with a Young Girl (CE) viola & piano (12’) 1980 Commissioned by Philip Clark 1st perf: Auckland, New Zealand 1981; Philip Clark & Brian Sayer
- Janus (VNM) flute/piccolo/alto & clarinet/Eflat/bass (13’30") 1991 Commissioned for Philippe Racine & Ernesto Molinari and performed by them at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 1994 1st perf: West of England tour 1991; Ingrid Culliford & Roger Heaton ..highly entertaining, brilliantly written, captivating virtuosity. (Dreh Punkt Kultur, Salzburg)
- Canzonetta Elusiva (CE) mandolin & doublebass (4’) 1995 Commissioned by Sandy Mills
- In Passing (CE) flute & marimba (6’) 2005 Commissioned by The Corsham Festival 1st perf: Corsham Festival 2005; Kate Kelly & Amy Kelly
- Song for Icarus (VNM) flute & violin (15’20") 2006 Commissioned by Carin Levine & David Alberman 1st perf: Weimar Spring Contemporary Music Days 2006, Germany; Carin Levine & David Alberman
- Game (CE) flute & marimba and small percussion (open form 1’30" to 3’') 2007
- Intermezzo (VNM) solo flute (4’30") 1992 1st perf: London 2002; Nancy Ruffer
- Pour le Musicien de Saint-Merry solo flute (5’15") 2011 (Included in an anthology of short pieces for solo flute, to be published in 2011 by Edizioni Sconfinarte, Italy) 1st perf: Blackheath Halls, London October 2011; Jenni Hogan (flute)
The following two items may be performed as a single work under the title ‘Two Capriccios’
- Capriccio Inquieto (VNM) solo oboe (4’30") 2006 1st perf: Kingston University 2007; Christopher Redgate
- Capriccio Fluido (VNM) solo oboe (5’15") 2010
- Epyllion (VNM) solo oboe (5’15") 2011 1st perf: Randspiele, Zepernick, Berlin 2011; Yu-Pei Wang
- Nocturne (VNM) Listen solo clarinet (4’30") 1982 1st perf: Philharmionic Hall, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2007; Uros Rojko
- Five Miniatures (CE) solo violin (8’30") 1969 Commissioned by Gail Harvey 1st perf: Arbroath, Scotland 1969; Gail Harvey
- Contours (CE) solo violin (7’) 1972 revised 2002 1st perf: Bush Hall, London 2002; Darragh Morgan
- Novelette solo violin (4’) 2011 (Included in an anthology of short pieces for solo violin, published in 2011 by Edizioni Sconfinarte, Italy)
- Two Movements for Solo Viola (VNM) solo viola (6’) 2007 1st perf: Sala Filarmonica, Trento, Italy 2007; Maurizio Barbetti
- Ricorrenza (VNM) solo violoncello (10’) 2009
- Sonata for Guitar (VNM) solo guitar (16’) 1982 1st perf: Festival ‘Il Tempo Sospeso’, Abruzzo, Italy 2005; Maurizio Grandinetti
- Dramalogue (CE) solo percussion (11’) 1984 Commissioned by Elizabeth Davis 1st perf: British Music Information Centre 1984; Elizabeth Davis
- Five Short Pieces for Piano (VNM) solo piano (7’) 1975 1st perf: Brno, Czechoslovakia 1979; Jaroslav Pokorny
- Raum Greift Aus (CE) solo piano (17’) 1996 Commissioned by Nicolas Hodges 1st perf: St Georges Brandon Hill, Bristol 1996; Nicolas Hodges A substantial piece, palpably honest in its music-making and most effectively written for the instrument...an ambitious piece... (Tempo)
- From Time to Time (VNM) solo piano (6’) 1999 Commissioned by Ian Pace 1st perf: Bristol University 1999; Ian Pace
- Micropus 1 (VNM) solo piano (1’30") 2002 1st perf: Essen, Germany 2008; Ian Pace
- Micropus 2 (VNM) solo piano (1’30") 2003 1st perf: Essen, Germany 2008; Ian Pace
- Micropus 3 (VNM) solo piano (1’) 2008 1st perf: Essen, Germany 2008; Ian Pace
- Micropus 4 (VNM) solo piano (1’10") 2008 1st perf: Essen, Germany 2008; Ian Pace
- Micropus 5 (VNM) solo piano (1’10") 2009 1st perf: Borealis Festival, Norway, 2010
- Micropus 6 (VNM) solo piano (1’45") 2010
Works with voice(s)
- Becoming (CE) soprano, mezzo-soprano, flute/piccolo/alto, sax., 2 per, harp, ‘cello, bass (13’30") 1974 Text: various poets
- To Jardenna (CE) flute, percussion, narrator (10’) 1978 Commissioned by, and text by Renate Kelly 1st perf: Arnolfini, Bristol 1983; Sebastian Bell, Elizabeth Davis & Renate Kelly ..nervously atonal, striving, reflective... (Independent)
- Enitharmon (CE) mezzo-soprano & piano (8’) 1973 Text: William Blake 1st perf: St Giles, Cripplegate, London 1998; Susan Anderson & Nicolas Hodges ..extremely appealing and sensitive...a gratifying work to sing and hear...the vocal writing is beautifully supple and idiomatic throughout the piece (Jane Manning in New Vocal Repertory [pub: OUP])
- Forse mi Stai Chiamando (VNM) mezzo-soprano & cello (6’) 1997 Text: Pinuccia Amodei 1st perf: Banff, Canada 2000
- Luchnos (VNM) 6 solo voices (s.s.a.t.bar.b.) (3’) 2007 Text: Paulus Silentiarius 1st perf: Festival Pramidale 6, Berlin 2007; Vox Nostra Pritchard’s short but powerful Luchnos (musicalcriticism.com)
Gwyn Pritchard was born in Yorkshire in 1948. He started composing at the age of twelve, and in 1966 entered the Royal Scottish Academy of Music where he studied the ‘cello and composition. During his student years he wrote a Viola Concerto, and other works which still receive regular performances, most notably Music for Doublebass & Harp (included on a portrait CD on the Sargasso label). After a short period as Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral School he worked as a freelance ‘cellist in London, and was then employed by the BBC, firstly as an orchestral ‘cellist, and later to be the subject of a documentary film Young Composer for which he was commissioned to write Spring Music.
For a brief period he divided his time between composing and working as a ‘cellist, but in the late 1970s, after performances of Objects In Space and Mercurius at London’s South Bank brought his work to the attention of a wider public, he decided to commit himself exclusively to composition and conducting. Since then much of Pritchard’s compositional activity has been based outside the UK.
In 1979 Nephalauxis was performed at the Warsaw Autumn Festival. This was the beginning of a fruitful musical relationship with many Polish musicians and festivals that was to develop over the following years, culminating in his being a Featured Composer alongside Lutoslawski at the International New Music Week held in Southampton at which several of his works were performed, including the première of the major orchestral piece La Settima Bolgia.
In 1982 he founded Uroboros Ensemble which includes some of Britain’s leading instrumentalists. He has composed several pieces for the group, including Moondance, Lollay-Lollay, Chamber Concerto, Madrigal and most recently Features and Formations. As their conductor he has performed and broadcast with them throughout Britain and abroad, and as their Artistic Director has commissioned several new works, and introduced much unfamiliar music from other countries to British and other audiences in Europe.
Since the early 1990s Pritchard has developed an ongoing association with leading instrumentalists based in Switzerland (mostly in Basel) for whom he has composed a number of substantial pieces: Janus, Wayang, Break Apart, Demise (which involved him for the first time in electronics), culminating in the ‘cello concerto The Fruit of Chance and Necessity which was performed in Basel at the 2004 ISCM World New Music Days. His lighthearted theatrical birthday tribute to the Basel Percussion Trio Das Mysterium der Heiligen Dreifatligket was incorporated into La Revue Burlesque by the famous Teatro Dimitri which toured in numerous countries in the late 1990s. More recently the Basel Symphony Orchestra promoted a concert which, to celebrate Pritchard’s sixtieth birthday, included two of his works, and Conflux was toured extensively throughout Switzerland by the ensemble Quadriga. He has also conducted Swiss groups including The Basel Soloists touring Britain and Canada, and Ensemble Interplay in Italy.
Italy has also figured prominently in Pritchard’s career. In 2003 he founded the Reggello International Festival of Contemporary & Classical Music in Tuscany, and as Artistic Director invited ensembles and soloists from many parts of the world to participate, often programming music which is seldom heard in Italy. He also directed the RIF Composers’ Competition, hosted by the festival. In 2008, to mark his sixtieth birthday, Pritchard was one of very few composers represented in a major concert series in Florence to celebrate Elliott Carter’s hundredth birthday; and the same organisers have continued to include Pritchard’s work in their summer concert series in Florence in subsequent years. In Venice in 2011 Ex Novo Ensemble commissioned and gave the première of Nighfall.
In recent years Pritchard has been the recipient of a number of commissions and performances in Germany and Austria, including Song for Icarus and Ariel Dreaming, both commissioned for the Weimar Spring Days for Contemporary Music. Since 2008 he has returned annually to this festival as composer, conductor and competition judge. A special concert in Essen celebrated Pritchard’s sixtieth birthday (along with other composers’ decennial anniversaries) by programming all his shorter works for piano. His music has been represented regularly at the Zepernicker Randspiele and other German festivals and concert series, many of them in or near Berlin, which is also the home of Pritchard’s main publisher, Verlag Neue Musik. In November 2011 three ‘portrait’ concerts dedicated entirely to Pritchard’s music were given in Salzburg by members of the Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik (oenm); the piano trio Res which was composed especially for the occasion was repeated at the Wien Modern festival.
Pritchard’s music is performed around the world. It has been represented at major international festivals such as Warsaw Autumn, Wien Modern, Huddersfield, International New Music Week, ISCM World Music Days, Weimar Frühjahrstage and numerous others. It has been performed in many European countries, in the USA, Canada, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and of course throughout Britain. It has also been widely broadcast, often under his own direction, on many radio and television networks. In recent years The Firmament of Time was commissioned by the BBC and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2009. He also has recently completed a work for the Dutch group Orkest ‘de ereprijs’ entitled Harmoniemusik, a piece entitled In the Silence of Turned Earth for soprano and violin soloists with string orchestra, composed for the Sofia Soloists in Bulgaria, Kommos for Ensemble Eclat of S Korea, and Nighfall for Ex Novo Ensemble of Venice.
Pritchard is a professor of composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. As a teacher and lecturer he has been invited to many academic institutions, including The Royal Academy of Music, The Birmingham Conservatoire, The Basle Conservatoire, The Eastman School of Music and several universities in Britain and American. He has also taught composition extensively to private students and in workshops in Britain and abroad. He has written, introduced and participated in programmes for BBC Radio 3, and has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of musical publications.