composing beyond the modern
K E V I N M A L O N E
The work of Kevin Malone spans genres and media beyond conventional labeling. He is equally at home with electronics, multimedia and harpsichords to choirs and orchestras, embracing postmodernist and hybrid approaches across his work.
Abandoning high Modernism, Malone speaks with an open, personal expression, freeing his music from the baggage of serious high art music without actually throwing away the bags.
His concert music often embraces theatricality. A Clockwork Operetta, a cabaret commissioned by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, sets the discarded pop lyrics from Burgess’ unused film script of A Clockwork Orange. Herstories Unsung attacks women’s social and political inequalities by having the solo pianist restrained as she attempts to play outspoken passages. The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe is a piano fantasy drawn entirely from chants at protest rallies in the USA and UK - a genuine voice of the people brought into the concert hall.
Manchester Opera Project commissioned the full-length Mark Twain-inspired opera Mysterious 44, featuring the specially recorded voice of Richard Dawkins, which was premiered at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2016, followed by the American premiere by Hartford Opera Theater USA.
Malone composed seven works about 9/11. One "urban" orchestral work is World Trade Center concerto Eighteen Minutes with two double bass soloists, which NAXOS chose for its Top 20 Recommended tracks for September 2016 out of 2 million tracks, while Requiem77 is for cello or saxophone with air traffic controller tapes.
Across the globe, some of the championing orchestras, ensembles and soloists include Psappha, Ricochet, Riot Ensemble, Jane's Minstrels, PRISM Quartet, Ebonit Quartet, Quatuor Danel, Apollo Saxophone Quartet, Ensemble Archi, Opera North Orchestra, Dnipropetrovsk Symphony Orchestra, Radio State Orchestra Ukraine, Kiev Chamber Orchestra, Winston-Salem Symphony, Long Island Symphony, Manchester Sinfonia, Fidelio Trio, Joanne MacGregor, Kronos' Hank Dutt, Alison Wells, Jane Manning, Richard Casey, Roger Heaton, Beth Levin, Adam Swayne, Emily Howard Cobley, Andy Long and John Turner.
Malone is Reader in Composition at the University of Manchester, UK.
October 24, 2020
Ebonit Saxophone Quartet give Dutch premiere of "The Water Protectors" - twice!
The highly-expressive musicians of Ebonit have broken through the walls of the pandemic to give the first performance in the Netherlands of the anti-fracking, anti-DAPL pipepline work "The Water Protectors", inspired by my visit to Standing Rock protest camps, Preston New Road Cuadrilla protestors in Blackpool, and XR's protests in 2019. The work is for disassembled and assembled saxophones, an evocation of a world where activism becomes the norm, and a sense of spirituality pervades the basic human right for clean water. Ebonit give two performances on 25 October at St Aegtenkapel, in Amersfoort, Netherlands. Check out their new CD "Troubled Waters" (with "The Water Protectors") in the news item a few weeks ago!
October 11, 2020
Agreement signed with New York's Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.
Today I signed an agreement with New York literary agent Brandt & Hochman, Inc. to write music to a poem by Conrad Aiken, one of the authors they represent. "Songs of Perished Love" will also include poems by Sara Teasdale and Edna St Vincent Millay. The collection for mezzo-soprano (or tenor) and Bb clarinet will be published in November.
September 21, 2020
CD with "Zuzu's Petals": The Times Recommended Listening
The Times (London) has chosen Divine Art CD DDA25210 featuring "Zuzu's Petals" as its Recommended Listening disc on 20 September 2020. And John France of MusicWeb International declared the work "haunting music... fundamental optimism that shines through"
September 20, 2020
Two CDs released - Protests and Celebrations!
November sees the release of two CDs!
<> "Zuzu's Petals" for oboe, recorder, violin and cello swings between the pensive and the joyous, capturing George Bailey's life-changing revelation in Frank Capra's film "It's a Wonderful Life". The 5-minute work appears on "A Tribute to John Manduell", Divine Art DDA 25210.
<> Three new works for saxophone quartet appear on "Troubled Waters", Métier MSV 28578, recorded and dedicated to the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet. All three works address urgent social issues: "The Housatonic near Sandy Hook" reveals the tragic sadness of poor gun control in the USA; "When the World's on Fire" is a raucous romp via "This Land is Your Land" about climate-driven immigration; "The Water Protectors" uses disassembled and assembled saxophones to represent the exciting worlds of anti-oil pipeline camps, anti-fracking blockades and XR/Youth4Climate/Fridays for Future marches.
September 19, 2020
Irish broadcast premiere of "Zuzu's Petals"
Life-affirming "Zuzu's Petals" received its first broadcast in Ireland on RTE on 18 & 20 September 2020. Ian McGlynn, presenter of Sound Out, broadcast the work for oboe, record, violin and cello which captures the melancholy and joy of George Bailey's predicaments in Frank Capra's classic film "It's a Wonderful Life".
July 19, 2020
Major AHRC grant for climate resillience music
"Community Climate Resilience through Folk Pageantry" is a two-year £417,000 AHRC grant which starts in August 2020, and will conclude in July 2022 with North Manchester communities expressing their responses to climate challenges through music, poetry, puppetry and pageantry. I am the composer co-investigator with the next 24 months away from university work so that I can devote my energies toward scoring new works for the Northern Chamber Orchestra as North Manchester communities share their immense creativity with us.
May 02, 2019
Three premieres x 5 with The Orchestra of Opera North
The Orchestra of Opera North gave the premiere (with four further performanbces) of two new works in May 2019 in Leeds and Bradford. "A Peterloo Parade" is an orchestral overture which celebrates the pre-massacre gathering at St Peter's Square, Manchester in August 1819. It's an exuberant mash-up of music known to have been performed at the gathering, which included a proessional bassoonist, and chants I heard at rallies in the USA and UK from 2016 to 2019. It is based on an award-winning piano piece, "The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe". We also premiered my new violin concerto, "A Day in the Life", commissioned by Andy Long with funds from Arts Council England. Andy alerted me to the life of Robert Blincoe, a 19thC indentured boy forced to work in North West textile mills, and we worked together to create a haunting 27-minute work with a 46-player strong orchestra. I also created "My Mill Life", an electronic soundscape created from current and retired textile workers whose interviews I recorded, with echoes of their voices in a multi-tracked violin part also performed by Andy. The first two works are available on Composers Edition, and "My Mill Life" can be viewed on YouTube.
March 30, 2019
"Creations: Story-Songs for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra" receives vibrant, sold-out performance at University of Manchester's Whitworth Hall
The University of Manchester Chorus and Orchestra with conductor Robert Guy gave a vibrant performance of the 55-minute cantata on 30 March in the spacious Whitworth Hall, with tickets sold out a week in advance. "Creations" was commissioned by the Society for the Promotion for New Music, and first performed by Southwell Choral Society with conductor Nicholas Thorpe. It complements Haydn's "The Creation" by telling the raucous, drunken, destructive and tender creation stories of 13 other cultures. Get the vocal score from Composer Edition!
March 25, 2019
BBC Music Magazine April 2019 chooses "The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe" CD of the Month
BBC Music Magazine chose Adam Swayne's new solo CD "Speak to Me: New Music, New Politics", with "The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe" as Instrumental CD of the Month for its April edition, citing the work as having "plenty of dramatic tension". Check out the photos and 2/3rds' page spread on p144!
January 19, 2019
BBC Radio 3 chooses "The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe"
BBC Radio 3's Andrew MacGregor on "Record Review" picks Adam Swayne's new solo CD "Speak to Me: New Music, New Politics", with "The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe" as one of two tracks broadcasted. MacGregor was especially intrigued by the cover image of a glaring disheveled (and brilliant) pianist donning a "crudely knitted" pink hat.
November 29, 2018
Brexit in Nursery Rhymes? Here's the musical story.
Versatile mezzo-soprano Emily Howard Cobley will premiere the collection of 14 miniature songs which tell the story of Brexit in "Nursery Rhymes Strong and Stable" on 29 November at the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester. Sing a song of sixpence, indeed. 13:10 - 14:00, free event, no ticket needed.
October 02, 2018
"Angels and Fireflies" receives stunning Kiev performance
The National Chamber Orchestra of Ukraine with conductor Bogdan Plish and flautist Svitlana Ivanova presented a passionate, heart-felt performance of "Angels and Fireflies" in the International Kiev Music Festival on 3 Oct 2018 at The Church of St Nicholas, preceded by television interviews and followed by some well-deserved vodka toasts. A mighty festival, which was opened by Penderecki conducting his "Credo".
September 19, 2018
Arts Council England funds "A Day in the Life" with Orchestra of Opera North
I have received a major grant from Grants for the Arts to fund the commission and performances of three works for the textile community project "A Day in the Life" with the Orchestra of Opera North. The performance dates are 3, 4, 5, 11, 25 May 2019 in the Leeds-Bradford region, plus some extra performances. Watch this space!
August 17, 2018
Opera North Orchestra project on music about textile mills
Andy Long, violin virtuoso and recording artist from Orchestra of Opera North and New World Ensemble, has started a collaboration with Kevin to visit textile mill regions in North West, England to create a series of pieces about life in these close-knit communities.
August 13, 2018
"The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe" recorded by Adam Swayne for Coviello Classics
Adam Swayne donned a pink knitted hat and whipped up a furious, witty recording of this anti-Trump piano fantasy based on protest rallies in the USA and UK. Watch this space for the release in November.
July 03, 2018
All-Malone concert at Martin Harris Centre for Music & Drama, Manchester 29 Nov 2018, 1pm
As part of a season featuring my music, the University of Manchester is hosting a concert which contrasts my earliest work with hot-off-the-press premieres, performed by Adam Swayne, Emily Cobley, John Turner and an ensemble of stellar young musicians.
1 / 1