Brum lands another good catch

Weeks after the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra appointed Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla as its next music director, its offshoot the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has appointed a new artistic director.

He’s extremely well connected. Stephan Meier – percussionist, conuctor, composer – is presently artistic director of Hanover’s Das Neue Ensemble, which he founded in 1993. His ensemble has worked with Earle Brown, Wolfgang Rihm, Carola Bauckholt, Johannes Schöllhorn, Mark André and Helmut Lachenmann. Meier is also chairman of Musik 21, a national network for new music in Germany.

Meier, who succeeds Stephen Newbould, will remain artistic director of Das Neue Ensemble while leading BCMG.



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  • This sounds encouraging. But one of the great strengths of BCMG under Stephen Newbould and Simon Clugston before him has been the breadth and open-mindedness of its conception of New Music – everything from late Falla and Leonard Bernstein showtunes to Wolters, Golijov, Gerald Barry and Ferneyhough. They’ve also nurtured any number of young composers, including Luke Bedford, Edmund Finniss and Charlotte Bray. It’s to be hoped that Meier won’t fall prey to any one exclusive conception of what constitutes ‘new music’ (or the dogma that anything worth taking seriously has to come from an academic bunker in France or Germany). Happily, a quick look at his current programming suggests he won’t.

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