New Music Players: Ed Hughes at 50
Ed Hughes started the New Music Players in 1990 after leaving university in order to bring together some of the UK's finest and most versatile musicians, with backgrounds in chamber, orchestra, contemporary, jazz, Baroque and early music performance. This special mix of skills combined with the virtuoso qualities of individual players is considered to be one of the most distinctive aspects of this ensemble. The New Music Players focuses on British music and has given numerous first performances and also made many CDs, DVDs and recordings for London Independent Records, Tartan Video, BFI and BBC Radio 3.
Media Vita (1991) for piano trio was written for Andrew Toovey's group Ixion and first performed by them at the Brighton Festival. It is a fluid, contrapuntal work with expressive harmonies influenced by John Sheppard's great vocal work of the same name.
In 2018 (year of his 50th birthday!) Hughes has returned to his interests in early English notated vocal music and is writing a Sinfonia for the group's full ensemble of 18 instruments to perform at this special concert. This brand new work is a modern instrumental fantasia that will explore how the structures and sounds of polyphonic notated vocal music from 14th, 15th and 16th century England can inspire new music today. English composers referenced will include Cooke, Dunstable and Gibbons, noting some artistic exchanges with and debt to Europe which in part led to some of this music's very survival. A particular interest is in the harmonies arising from some of these composers' love of movement in thirds and sixths, but the music will also have rhythmic and polyphonic aspects that are Hughes’ own. Hughes is also writing a blog about the development of this work:
Here at UYMP, we would like to wish Ed Hughes and New Music Players the best of luck for this concert and hope that many of you will take the opportunity to attend.
(20 Sep 2018)