Seven Hills Project with St Mary's Music School
It is with great delight that Jay Capperauld has been commissioned to compose a new work for the young musicians of St Mary’s Music School as part of the Seven Hills project in celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary. The Seven Hills project combines the poetry of Alexander McCall Smith and several new pieces of music by Scottish composers inspired by the famous hills that surround St Mary’s Music School in the city of Edinburgh. Jay’s new work is called 'Theory of the Earth' and has been written for Percussion, Piano and String Quartet and takes stimulus from McCall Smith’s poem “Arthur’s Seat and Geology”.
Jay says of the work: “In Alexander McCall Smith’s poem, he evocatively describes the primitive volcanic formations that forged Edinburgh’s iconic Arthur’s Seat as well as highlighting James Hutton’s revelatory discoveries about Earth’s true age. Hutton published his “Theory of the Earth” which put forward his observations about the different ways in which the various rock layers of Arthur’s Seat were formed as well as the vast expanses of time it would have taken to create such formations. Hutton encapsulated his findings in the theory that the Earth we see today is formed through a continual process of renewal and decay by various forces over millions of years and summarised his theory about the Earth’s origins and its ancient past as having “no vestige of a beginning – no prospect of an end”. His discoveries were truly ground-breaking at the time as they unseated long-held notions about how the Earth was created and how old it truly is. Therefore, this new piece attempts to capture Earth’s primordial process of renewal and decay as embryonic musical ideas are built up in layers (like the rock formations of Edinburgh’s dormant Volcano), which gradually erode over time to reveal – sometimes imperceptibly – a perpetual ever-changing musical landscape”.
'Theory of the Earth' will be the first commission to feature as part of the Seven Hills project and will receive its premiere by St Mary’s Music School senior pupils alongside percussionist Tom Hunter in their Summer Concert 2021 on Friday 2nd July at 7pm.
This event will be held online this year as part of a webinarjam. Please register with St Mary’s Music School to attend this free event via the following link:
Westering Echoes - WSSO Trust
The West of Scotland Schools Orchestra Trust (WSSO Trust) has commissioned Jay to compose a new piece in celebration of their 25th anniversary in 2021. Jay’s new piece “Westering Echoes” combines the full forces of WSSO Trust as members of the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Training Band and String Orchestra will rehearse the piece online and eventually record the work for its online premiere on Youtube in August 2021. This project involves a virtual side-by-side in association with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra who will provide Inspire Sessions for members of WSSO Trust and will record “Westering Echoes” at the RSNO Centre to be included in the final broadcast in August 2021.
“Westering Echoes is inspired by my own time in ‘West’ (as the organisation is affectionately known) as a young saxophonist in the Concert Band. The piece looks to emulate the fantastical sound-worlds of the music that I loved to play as a member in an earnest salute to the organisation and the exciting repertoire which young performers are introduced to. It was these exciting works along with the whole ‘West’ experience which ignited my own deep passion for performing and composition.
Westering Echoes highlights the cultural vibrancy, immediacy and vitality of west and central Scotland with an upbeat and energetic flourish. The listener will hear echoes of Scottish culture blended with my own musical memories of living in the west of Scotland and my time as a member of this wonderful organisation”.
Westering Echoes will premiere online with the WSSO Trust in association with the RSNO, conducted by James Lowe in August 2021.
Déjà Vu to feature on Rob Buckland’s new CD
Renowned saxophonist, Rob Buckland has recently launched his newest solo CD “Just Because – Shot Stories for solo Saxophone” which features Jay’s work Déjà Vu for solo Alto Saxophone. The new album features Jay’s work alongside solo pieces by Graham Fitkin, Gwilym Simcock, Gary Carpenter, Sally Beamish, Julian Argüelles, Jenni Watson & Andy Scott which then leads into Rob Buckland’s own set of new compositions. This disc represents a deeply personal expression of Rob Buckland as a musician and seeks to connected with music as a narrative that takes the listener on many journeys of intrigue and wonder.
Rob Buckland explains his connection to Jay’s work:
“In the early stages of putting together repertoire ideas for what would become my new Solo CD “Just Because”, I watched a performance of Jay’s “Afterlife” suite online, performed by saxophonist Lewis Banks with pianist Marianna Abrahamyan. It stopped me in my tracks. A truly captivating and dynamic work with an immediate emotional and musical impact. I immediately contacted Jay and asked if I could record the solo saxophone movement 'Déjà Vu’ for my CD project, and he graciously agreed. I felt so drawn to this piece, connected to it somehow, and really wanted to create a deeply personal and dramatic interpretation of it as part of my CD. The piece for me is such a perfect representation of the emotional heart of the alto saxophone, and Jay’s wonderful writing, informed by his personal expertise on the saxophone as well as his distinctive compositional style, provides an incredibly rich palette of colours and textures for the performer to paint with. Every time I play this piece it takes me on a different journey, and I very much hope that it becomes widely performed by saxophonists around the world”.
Rob Buckland’s new album is out now and is available to purchase from Rob's website or as a digital download via Bandcamp.
Music Now For Sale
It is a huge pleasure to announce that Jay’s music is now available to buy on this very website. Jay is self-publishing a selection of his work for solo, duo and choral instrumentation/vocals which can all be purchased as digital downloads.
Jay’s solo collection includes the quirky encore piece What The Bird Said for solo Piccolo, his melancholic piece The Pathos of Broken Things for solo Flute as well as his reconstruction of Bach’s famous Cello Prelude in his Déjà Vu for solo Alto Saxophone. Jay’s protective charm Talisman for solo Guitar is also available alongside his evocative and tumultuous solo Piano works Christus Tantasticus and The Epoch Interludes. His duo collection comprises of the mammoth anthology Afterlife for Alto Saxophone and Piano which contains over an hour’s worth of new music across 9 pieces; each piece from Afterlife is also sold separately as works in their own right, along with his earthy rhythmic piece Erratics for Percussion and Piano. Jay’s choral work features his a cappella vocal writing all inspired by Scottish poetry including The Unspoken for SATB Choir inspired by Edwin Morgan’s work of the same name, Arcadia for SATB Choir after the words of Alexander Hume, and Jay’s most recent choral work Dreamer for SATB Soloists, SATB Choir and Organ inspired by Robert Burns’ poem Flow Gently Sweet Afton.
Upon purchase, you will be given instant access to your new score(s) via a digital download link in your confirmation email. Browse, listen, buy and perform Jay’s musical works now – follow the link provided or head to “Buy Music” at the top of this page and enjoy!
RSNO Community Orchestra: All Together Now
It is a great pleasure to announce that Jay has been commissioned to compose a new orchestral piece for the RSNO Community Orchestra as part of their project All Together Now. Jay’s new piece INTERLACED has been composed for mixed abilities covering beginner levels up to ABRSM Grade 5 and will be rehearsed online by members of the RSNO Community Orchestra and the RSNO itself under the baton of conductor Michael Repper. The project is a fresh look at how individuals can grow their music making from their own homes across the country, and while it is still a challenge for many to get out and meet in large groups, the RSNO have created this space to come “All Together Now” to play, share, create and learn Jay’s specially written piece.
“INTERLACED refers to both the interwoven patterns of Celtic knotwork as well as the technological process of incorporating fragmented/alternating lines to form a whole picture. In this sense, this piece attempts to unite various interweaving musical elements, such as short riffs and refrains, which come together to form the overall sound image of the music. This piece was written for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Community Orchestra as part of “All Together Now” during the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020 with the intention of bringing the orchestra’s musicians together over an online platform. Therefore, the objective of the work is to highlight music’s ability to connect, uplift and unify people regardless of their apparent isolation during the global pandemic, or indeed at any time.”
This new piece will premiere online through the RSNO’s social media channels as each individual member of this “digital orchestra” film and record their performance from home, which will be pieced together to create the full orchestral forces. The online premiere performance of INTERLACED will be released on 21st June 2021 as the culmination of the All Together Now project.
Psappha Ensemble - Music for Cimbalom
Jay has been commissioned by Psappha Ensemble to compose a brand-new song for Soprano Voice, Violin, Cello and Cimbalom in collaboration with the Nigerian writer Vashti Suwa Gbolagun. This new work has been written for Psappha Ensemble’s “In Focus” series alongside newly commissioned pieces by Nina Danon, Shruthi Rajasekar, David Nunn and Alan Williams as well as György Kurtàg’s Splinters and Jatekok. These new works all feature the unique sound of the Cimbalom, which will be performed by Psappha Ensemble’s Artistic Director Tim Williams along with Soprano vocalist Claire Wild.
“Glitz and Glamour takes direct inspiration from a poem of the same name by Vashti Suwa Gbolagun, which articulates the plight of Nigerian Miners and the effect that this way of life has on the wider communities of Nigeria. This work attempts to explore the contrasting qualities of Gbolagun’s text where shimmering light meets foreboding darkness in a poignant and lamenting tribute to those men and women lured by the mine’s’captivating embrace’.”
This concert shall take place Thursday 25th March 2021 at 7pm in Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester.
BBC Proms 2020 - Circadian Refrains
Jay Capperauld has been commissioned by the BBC to compose a brand-new piece for this year’s BBC Proms 2020. Jay’s new work will be written for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and will be conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, with a reduced chamber orchestra line-up to adhere to the new social distancing guidelines. The new piece is called “Circadian Refrains (172 Days Until Dawn)” and takes direct inspiration from the recent global lockdown and the habitual daily routines that many developed during this extraordinary experience.
“The title ‘Circadian Refrains’ refers to the biological processes that naturally recur in a 24-hour period. These cyclic processes are governed by our internal circadian clock which reacts and adapts to sensory changes in our environment, such as the transition from night to day (or darkness to light). In this context, this piece has been written in direct response to the recent global lockdown implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to articulate the day-to-day experiences of lockdown in a musical setting. The notion of refrains is suggestive of the repetitive, restricted and constrained lifestyles adopted by many during this time, while also referencing the very literal musical refrains and ritualistic utterances in the piece itself. Despite this relentless daily process, the work’s subtitle ‘172 Days Until Dawn’ attempts to capture a more hopeful perspective as the piece slowly transitions (through its own circadian processes) from a place of darkness to a place of light by mapping 172 chords and bars which represent each day since my personal lockdown began until the very day of this work’s premiere. Therefore, Circadian Refrains attempts to portray an individual journey from stillness, inertia and darkness towards a reviving metaphorical dawn.
It is a real honour to have been commissioned to composed this new piece for the BBC Proms, especially given everything that has been happening recently, and I am hugely excited at the prospect of working with the BBC SSO and Thomas Dausgaard again. As we all adjust to new ways of life and the slow return to a new kind of normality, I am aware of just how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work with such a phenomenal orchestra in such times. The commentary on lockdown is perhaps an inevitable artistic expression after events such as this, and I hope that this new work offers a cathartic and optimistic contemplation as we return to live concerts once more.”
Circadian Refrains will premiere as part of the BBC Proms 2020 on the 5th of September at Glasgow’s City Halls (without an audience) and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 & live-streamed to BBC iPlayer from 7.30pm, performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.
RSNO and Katherine Bryan - Our Gilded Veins
It is a great pleasure to announce that Jay Capperauld has been commissioned to compose a brand-new Flute Concerto for flautist Katherine Bryan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as part of their 2020:21 Season. The new piece is titled ‘Our Gilded Veins’ and is inspired by the ancient Japanese art of gilding broken objects with a golden lacquer in order to not only repair the object but to highlight its previous damage in a special and positive way.
Jay says of the work:
“As an artistic tradition, if a plate is broken, instead of throwing that plate away it is glued together with gilded lacquer to emphasise and celebrate the break as part of the object's history. Essentially, as a human concept, this new piece is an honest reflection on damage, failure and scars with the intention of embracing the necessity of life’s negatives when attempting to forge a positive existential outcome.
The concept of cultivating a positive state of Mental Health is at the crux of this work’s aims. The concept of Kintsugi acts as a fitting metaphor for the human experience, which is an undeniable reflection of how we must interact with the external world as well as how we negotiate the various knocks that life throws our way. It is through this metaphor that ‘Our Gilded Veins’ attempts to explore and champion the message of positive mental health in a musical context, and the idea that broken objects ought to be celebrated and nurtured, not discarded.”
Our Gilded Veins will premiere as part of the RSNO’s Season Opening concert alongside Beethoven’s 9th Symphony ‘Ode to Joy’ on the 18th September 2020, 7.30pm at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, with a repeat performance on the 19th September 2020, 7.30pm at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Both concerts feature an pre-concert 'insight' conversations with Katherine Bryan and Jay Capperauld at 6.45pm.
18th September 2020, 7.30pm - Usher Hall, Edinburgh - insight conversation at 6.45pm
19th September 2020, 7.30pm - The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow - insight conversation at 6.45pm
The new project Afterlife is a cutting-edge new music and film project based around the fictional work ‘Sum’ by bestselling author David Eagleman. ‘Sum – 40 Tales from the Afterlives’ is a collection of vignettes exploring possibilities of post-death scenarios which alongside revealing unexpected and inventive possibilities for the afterlife, provide us with a lens through which to view our current lives with striking clarity.
The performance will consist of new compositions by Jay Capperauld while the music will be performed by two prizewinning graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Lewis Banks (Saxophone) and Marianna Abrahamyan (Piano), whose combined abilities as a musical duo have earned them debut recitals at top London venues such as The Purcell Room and St Martin in the Fields in 2019. The project also integrates a number of short films from Manchester-based director Paul Wright, whose recent film ‘Fissure’ has been subject to strong critical acclaim.
This trio of new music, short film and live performance will seamlessly merge in a gripping live performance of ‘Afterlife’ to create a beautiful, unsettling and vivid artistic response to David Eagleman’s bestselling work, which will have a truly broad appeal to book fanatics, contemporary music specialists and film lovers alike.
Jay says of the project:
“Inspired by David Eagleman’s short story cycle ‘Sum: Forty tales from the afterlives’, this work, entitled Afterlife, comprises of several pieces for Alto Saxophone and Piano, and is conceptualised around a number of speculative stories that Eagleman created that postulate a diverse range of scenarios in which humans might find themselves in the afterlife.
Therefore, Afterlife attempts to capture the qualities of a selection of Eagleman’s short stories in a musical context, while pondering their intended meanings and existential (or post-existential) implications.”
Afterlife premieres at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on the 27th September 2019 at 1pm.
This will be followed by a further performance at this year's Cumnock Tryst Festival 2019 on the 5th October at 4.30pm in the New Cumnock Town Hall.
Psappha Ensemble - Composing for Piano and Percussion Duo 2018/19
Jay Capperauld has been selected to take part in Psappha Ensemble ‘Composing For…’ scheme in which Jay will work closely with the ensemble in the creation of a new work for Piano and Percussion Duo. This Duo will comprise of the pianist Benjamin Powell and the percussionist (and Psappha Ensemble’s Artistic Director) Tim Willaims, who Jay will develop this new 5 minute work with over the coming 2018/19 Season.
Psappha Ensemble say: “We have been running our “Composing For…” talent development schemes since 2013, supporting the creation of new works for solo instruments and duos by emerging and early career composers by providing sustained, one-to-one contact with our expert musicians. The works created through our schemes are listed below. You can watch HD multicamera films and listen to audio by clicking the relevant icons.”
The scheme will culminate in a Filming and Recording day where the ensemble will produce a high-quality video performance of Jay’s new piece ‘Erratics’ for Piano and Percussion Duo.
Jay says of the new work:
“Erratics takes its inspiration from the masses of colossal rocking stones that can be found in various locations throughout the world, which are balanced in such a precarious way that they can be rocked back and forth by the application of force by a single person.This piece attempts to portray an abstract image of a vast rocking stone being pushed in various directions by two quasi-antagonistic characters, in the form of the Pianist and Percussionist, who instigate movement in the stone and agitate the musical material between them in order to influence the motion of this huge object. In this way, Erratics takes on a double-meaning in its title by acting in a capricious and unpredictable or “erratic” manner, which conveys the abnormal movements of these massive rocking stones.”
The video to Jay's new work Erratics can now be viewed via the link below.