Amy Dickson premieres a new concerto for soprano saxophone and strings, Machine by Tarik O’Regan at the Presteigne Festival in Wales on August 30. The piece, which has been specially commissioned by the festival and will be performed by the Presteigne Festival Orchestra conducted by George Vass, started life as a short three-minute solo which was first performed by the Australian saxophonist during lockdown. This provided the germ for the musical material within the 22-minute concerto and appears in its entirety as a cadenza in the work’s final movement, revealing what the composer describes as ‘the machine within the Machine’.
O’Regan’s music features in several other concerts at this year’s festival. On August 28 the Festival Orchestra will perform Chaâbi one of a triptych of North African-inspired pieces composed between 2006 and 2022. O’Regan’s award-winning choral setting of Kathleen Raine, Threshold of Night, will be performed by Bath Camerata conducted by Benjamin Goodison on August 29 in a concert that includes works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Owain Park.
This year’s Presteigne Festival runs from August 25 to 30. Among other Wise Music composers whose work is featured are Judith Weir, Richard Rodney Bennett and Thea Musgrave.
Audience Choice Award for The Stillness Chained
The world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Stillness Chained by Pacific Chorale has been named Best New Music Performance in this year’s San Francisco Classical Voice Audience Choice Awards. The eight-part a cappella setting of poems by Japanese writer Yone Noguchi was commissioned by Pacific Chorale as part of the composer’s residency with the Californian choir and premiered in their first concert following the pandemic in October 2021.