SoundState: who are the composers?

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 12:32

SoundState is a new Southbank Centre festival which lets you see live performances of some of best contemporary classical music, including world premieres, intriguing collaborations and incredible musicians.

Ahead of the festival in January 2019, we’re giving you a chance to get to know more about some of the composers whose work is featured – read this short series of biographies, which could help you decide which of the SoundState concerts is is most relevant to your interests.

Dai Fujikura

Photo of composer Dai Fujikura

Dai Fujikura was born in 1977 in Osaka, Japan. His work includes operas, orchestral pieces, ensemble works, chamber music, and film scores, but he also also has strong connections to the experimental pop/jazz/improvisation world, collaborating with Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian and Jan Bang, among others.

He moved to the UK on his own aged just 15, studying at Trinity College of Music, King’s College London and the Royal College of Music, where Dai is now Professor of Composition. At SoundState you can hear the UK premiere of his Dai Fujikura Concerto for flute & ensemble, performed by the incredible Claire Chase and musicians from the Philharmonia Orchestra.

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Vito Žuraj

Black and white portrait of Vito Žuraj, who appears at Southbank Centre's SoundState festival

Vito Žuraj is a Slovenian composer who was born in 1979. He is classically trained, earning a degree in composition and music theory from the Ljubljana Academy of Music and winning the Claudio Abbado Prize for composition in 2016, but he is also very interested in the technology and aesthetics of electronic sound generation.

The Philharmonia Orchestra, Resident at Southbank Centre, dedicated its April 2018 Music of Today concert entirely to Vito’s work. At SoundState you can hear the UK premiere of his piece Runaround, performed by brass quartet and Vito’s long-term collaborators the International Ensemble Modern Academy – with Zimbabwean-American Vimbayi Kaziboni conducting.

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Oliver Christophe Leith


Black and white photo of composer Oliver Christophe Leith

Oliver was born in 1990 and is a London-based composer who makes acoustic music, electronic music and video. His work focuses on text, image, video, theatre and tangible human themes and he describes himself as a fan of ‘scientific illustrations, gardening, film, tapestry, reality television, wobbly sounds and the visceral’.

He was the recipient of a British Composer Award in 2016 and of the Royal Philharmonic Composition prize in 2014, and has collaborated with an eclectic group of artists including Apartment House, Matthew Herbert, Ives Ensemble, Exaudi, Plus Minus and the London Sinfonietta, who perform a world premiere of Oliver’s at SoundState conducted by Jonathan Berman.

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Southbank Centre’s SoundState took place Wednesday 16 – Sunday 20 January, 2019.

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Southbank Centre’s 2018/19 series includes 200 incredible classical concerts that look to the future of what music can be and who it is for. Discover some of the most exciting artists, conductors, orchestras and ensembles the world over with us.

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