Marc Yeats - music biography (as of July 08)
Marc Yeats began composing in 1994. Since then he has received performances from among others, The Edinburgh String Quartet (UK), the Chamber Group of Scotland (UK), Psappha (UK), Richard Casey, Stephen Combes, the London Sinfonietta (UK), the Endymion Ensemble (UK), Lonba (Argentina), Paragon Ensemble (UK), the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (UK), illegal harmony (UK), 175 East (N.Z.), Sarah Watts, SCAW (UK), Sarah Nicolls, Federico Mondelci, the Commonwealth Sinfonietta (UK), Contempo Ensemble (Italy), Rarescale (UK), The Scottish Clarinet Quartet (UK), Symposia (UK), the New York Miniaturists Ensemble (USA), Trio IAMA (Greece), The International Concert Brass Soloists (Swiss), the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), the Hallé Orchestra and Chorus (UK), Tokyo City Philharmonic (Japan) and Gewandhaus Radio Orchestra (Germany), with broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland as well as German, EU, Hawaiian, Japanese and New Zealand radio.
In 1997 he was commissioned by the St. Magnus Festival to write the anatomy of air (25 mins.), for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The premiere was conducted by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Later in that year the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra performed I see blue, also conducted by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Psappha gave the world premiere of pumping iron (20 mins.) for ten musicians, in Manchester. The Endymion Ensemble gave the work its second performance at the South Bank, London in April 1999. I see blue has so far been broadcast 3 times on BBC Radio 3.
In 1996 Marc was awarded a three-year composer bursary by The Scottish Arts Council to enable him to compose full time.
In November 1997, pagan II for orchestra and is it me? (Cl, Vc, Pno) were premiered in Tokyo as part of The Next Millennium Composition Award. pagan II was premiered by Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra. The event has been broadcast in Japan. In 1997 Marc was also awarded a two-year composition bursary from the Hope Scott Trust.
In February 1998, room (12.. for Piano), was given its premiere by Richard Casey in a Psappha promoted concert in Manchester, it has subsequently been performed in the 1998 Cheltenham Festival and throughout the UK. In February 1999 pagan II was recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
In December 1999, a waiting ghost in the blue sky (Cl. Vc. Pno Percussion (1)) was premiered by Contempo Ensemble in Prato, Italy. November 2000 saw Sir Peter conduct I see blue with the Gewandhaus Radio Orchestra in Leipzig. This concert has been broadcast in Germany. Other commissions include a new work for The London Sinfonietta and a commission from the BBC to write a work for piano and orchestra for Kathryn Stott and the BBC Philharmonic. a I edited my profile with The round and square art of memory was premiered in February 2000 in the Bridgewater Hall Manchester. This work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 twice. The summer of 2000 saw a waiting ghost in the blue sky performed by Psappha at the St. Magnus Festival and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
In March 2001, a new work for solo alto saxophone, metaphors of battle and conquest, commissioned by Kathryn Stott for the Italian saxophonist Federico Mondelci, was premiered at the Bromsgrove Festival. In September 2001, the premiere of only the trees will whisper in the dark (Alto Flt. BCl. Vln. Vc. Pno) was given by the Commonwealth Sinfonietta at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen and later performed in London.
2002 saw the commissioning of several new works including VOX for solo bass clarinet (Sarah Watts) and davy jones' locker (175 East, New Zealand), which was also recorded for New Zealand F.M. mad canary, for solo piccolo, was also given its premiere in New Zealand later that year. October 2002 saw the premiere of colour songs, (high soprano, flt (picc). Cl (bcl) vla. Vc. (35 mins)) by illegal harmony with a tour of five Scottish islands, It was commissioned by Hebridean Music Workshops with funds from the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery.
2003 saw the premieres of hunting magic for flute and piano (Rarescale), whereto my wishes lie for bass clarinet and piano (Sarah Watts), and jigsaw for clarinet, trumpet, double bass, piano and timpani drum (Paragon Ensemble) and for there's a kind of world remaining still for string trio in November (illegal harmony).
February 2004 saw the premiere of repeat offenders, a bass clarinet duo, with Henri Bok and Sarah Watts at the RNCM in Manchester and illegal harmony premiered ASCII dialogues for soprano and alto flute and have heard this dialogue of one for alto flute solo. Further premieres in 2004 include two performances of objects that the sense delude for wind quintet and piano, by Lonba in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in June, stillness in movement, for eight instrumentalists (commissioned by An Tuireann Art Centre with subsidy from the Scottish Arts Council), was premiered by illegal harmony. A commercial recording of this music was produced.
Also in June where do these voices stray, for bass clarinet and Bb clarinet, was premiered by Henri Bok in Washington, America, with subsequent performances in China and Europe. ASCII dialogues is to have its London premiere at the RCM in July - the sea bell's perpetual angelus and an interrupted passacaglia, for solo piano, was premiered by Sarah Nicolls in Somerset in September. Later that year a fractured melody for alto flute and piano, received its world premiere with Rarescale in London.
2005 saw more performances and premieres. In January a fractured melody received its American premiere with Rarescale in New York. In February, tales of enchantment for bass clarinet, (commissioned by Henri Bok), will be premiered at Rotterdam Conservatoire, Holland. In February, I have a charm for bruising for string trio, will be premiered by illegal harmony trio. Have heard this dialogue of one for alto flute, will have its London premiere with Carla Rees. In March and April, my songs, for soprano, clarinet and cello, and hocus-pocus, for wind trio, received their premieres with illegal harmony at An Tuireann Art Centre. Also in April, torment of the metals, for chamber orchestra and soprano, was premiered at Rotterdam Conservatorium, Holland. May saw the second London performance of ASCII dialogues with Rarescale. July saw the London premiere of Hunting Magic (pno and flute) with Rarescale.
In October 2005 Marc was awarded first prize (1500 euro) in the World Bass Clarinet Conference's Composition Competition for his new work for bass clarinet and piano, child to the black faced night. This work will be used as the test piece for the finals of the WBCC performance competition and is to be published by the WBCC 2005. Sarah Watts and Antony Clare also performed whereto my wishes lie, (bass clarinet and piano) at the WBCC.
In 2006, mimesis for bass flute, cello and piano and the viciousness of circles (piano), will receive their world premieres by Rarescale in London. Paul Goodey is also to give the world premiere of a journey to nowhere in particular (for oboe and piano) and Sarah Watts will give the UK premiere of tales of enchantment (bass clarinet solo).
In 2006 two new works were also premiered in New York by the New York Miniaturists Ensemble: Array (cl, Vln, vla) and Hinterland 1 (digital).
In September, Helen Jones, a music theatre piece for Soprano, alto flute and digital sound environment (2006), was given its premiere at An Tuireann Arts Centre with Natalie Raybould (voice) Carla Rees (alto flute) and Micheal Oliva (electronics).
Later this year it will be possible to download complete MP3 and AIFF files of a selection of Marc's works as well as purchase CD recordings direct from the composer's website, a link to which is given below.
New Commissions 2007 - 2008
Scottish Clarinet Quartet: 'Fallen Angel' work for bass clarinet quartet and percussion - duration 9 mins. (July 2007)
Symposia: 'Sea Change' work for flute, violin, 'cello, trombone and digital sound environment - duration 17 mins. (June 2007)
SCAW: 'Night Flight' work for bass clarinet, piano and digital sound environment - duration 12 mins. Completion winter 2007
A new album of 10 'dance' pieces exploring contemporary dance rhythms and avant garde/electro-acoustic techniques. Scheduled for completion in the winter, 2008. Supported with a Creative Development Grant from the Scottish Arts Council.
'Strange Geometry'- Trio for flute, cello and piano for Trio IAMA. Duration 16 minutes. Scheduled completion end of spring 2008 (with professional development funds provided by HI~Arts)(2008)
Haar:1 act opera especially created for CD. 2 voices, small female chorus and digital sound environment - projected duration 60 mins. Made possible with funds from the Hope Scott Trust.(2008)
Caliban's Dream - a new work for solo acoustic guitar. (2008)
New work for brass quintet '....the other side of air' - commissioned by International Concert Brass Soloists - 14 minutes duration.(2008)
'Marching With Ethel' - Piano variations on 'March of the Women' by Ethel Smyth duration: 9 minutes - commissioned by Manchester Gay Pride Festival: Premiere to be given by Stephen Combes on the 18th August in Studio 7, BBC Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester. (2008)
'My Blood is as Red as Yours' - New work to celebrate World Aids Day. Setting one song from a song cycle created by Jackie Kay - for soprano, baritone and the Halle Orchestra and Chorus - conducted by Mark Elder - Duration circa 13 minutes. Premiere at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on 1st December 2008.
'Cerberus' for Dirk Amrein (International Concert Brass Soloists) for four trombones (three pre-recorded by Dirk and digitally treated as part of the composition process to create a performance sound track - 4th trombone strand is performed live. Anticipated completion: Winter 08. Duration: circa 15 minutes.
‘The genesis of his work stems from two major influences on the composer. Yeats' own initial musical experiences delineate nostalgia for the English Pastoral School (exemplified by Bax, Vaughan Williams and Moeran) casting an acute emotional impression and a diametric opposite; matched by his passion for and fascination with avant-garde expressionism and experimentalism awakened from the 1960s and '70s.
Being also an acclaimed landscape painter Marc Yeats' work with colour, form and texture inform his ideas on musical construction and content. As his illustrative aptitude intensified he observed:
'I moved decisively from representational to abstract art. With a rising technical repertoire, so too grew my conviction of creating an individual compositional language by exploring these modes in a musical context. In I am Nature, both threads are transformed through my 'painterly ear' to assimilate and evoke a very personal, natural and unselfconscious outpouring of sound.
On first hearing, the music may seem arbitrary, improvisational or even chaotic. This is not the case. Consciously the music doesn't operate within the logic of number series, motific development, Fibonacci-based proportions, functional harmony, magic squares, tone rows or any of the customary gamete of compositional techniques. Another rationale is operative; a personal logic rooted in 'self experience' of the techniques and processes of abstract painting.'
Excerpt about Yeats’ work from ‘I am Nature’ edited by Keith Evans
Marc Yeats was born in London in 1962. His career encompasses painting, nursing, composition and educational projects which relate to several aspects of his talent. He lives and works in Dorset in the south west of England.
For further information please visit:http://www.marc-yeats.co.uk
others have said about Yeats’ work:
'That Yeats has something to say in the wild shrieking music is beyond question. He hurls himself at the sound with an admirably pure and savage impressionism.' The Scotsman on The Anatomy of Air
'... he unleashes every shade on the palette, and continually pushes instruments, textures and dynamics to extremes.' The Herald on The Anatomy of Air
'The orchestral work I see blue, is startlingly original in its structure and orchestration, using brass and bass drum to unexpected and powerful effect, with dazzling combinations of string and wind colour.' Sally Beamish
'Marc Yeats is one of the most exciting composers I have encountered in recent years. His ability to use maximum with all timbres of the instrument, whilst never sacrificing the very heart of the music, gives the musician many challenges which are exhilarating to discover.' Kathryn Stott
'Yeats' instrumental roles are demanding, pushing every player to extremes of agility. The intensities of expression are not empty extravagances, however, but the comment of an expressionist drama that exudes the passion and life-energy of their creator.' Piers Helliwell
'Marc Yeats' musical voice is quite unlike anything else; the music is challenging to both performers and audiences, and very communicative. He produces extraordinary compositions that not only look and sound good, but demonstrate a very high level of academic learning, while being breathtakingly original.' Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
'Refreshingly unfettered in concept - it's something of a tour de force' Lynne Walker, The Independent on The round and square art of memory
'He uses his orchestra resourcefully; fresh and intriguing colours, but he uses his musical time even more resourcefully, never allowing the ear to lose track of the changing and evolving ideas.' The Scotsman on The round and square art of memory
'Yeats has a strikingly individual feel for the texture of an orchestra, yet it's never in all-purpose avant-garde alienated tones. But this is the second fabulous piece I've heard from this emerging composer, and if there's more where that came from we have a major new British talent on our hands.' David Fanning, The Telegraph on The round and square art of memory
'The sheer noise of the percussion section through which Kathryn Stott somehow managed to make the piano audible set a new decibel level for this hall. Yet one felt an original creative mind at work, not just a bruiser but a maverick with some kind of purpose.' Michael Kennedy on The round and square art of memory
VOX review: Sarah Watts, Park Lane Group Young Artist Concerts, Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London: 'Vox was premiered by and written for Sarah (Watts), with the intention of depicting as many voices as the instrument is capable of. In Sarah's hands the instrument spat, grumbled, screamed and sang throughout. Making use of the altissimo range of the instrument at every turn, this has to be one of the most demanding yet effective works in the repertoire, both musically and technically.' Sarah James, Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine
Yeats is largely self-taught, though he has received support and encouragement from Maxwell Davies after attending his composition summer school on Hoy some years ago. He is also a painter, and the possibility that the audio and visual aspects of his creative imagination are linked in some way should not be ruled out. Yeats is an experimental composer in his own highly individual manner, and this is reflected in almost all his recent scores. a waiting ghost in the blue sky was the most 'advanced' music on offer at this year's Festival, yet the confidence with which Yeats deployed his material ensured a warm reception. John Warnsby - Festival Review: St Magnus Festival - 16 - 21 June 2000