Imperial College Sinfonietta

Sunday 11 June, 7.00pm, Great Hall, Sherfield Building, Imperial College, London SW7 2BB

Ravel, Piano Concert in G 
GriegPeer Gynt Suite No. 2 
, Scherzo Capriccioso

Plus chamber music by Smetana, Dvořák and Beethoven

Tickets available soon

Farnborough Symphony Orchestra

Sat 10 June, 7.45pm, Princes Hall, Aldershot GU11 1NX

Elgar, Froissart Overture
Britten, Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
, Enigma Variations

Soloists: Alison Wyld (French Horn) and Ruairi Bowen (Tenor)

Supported by the Elgar Society


Hertford Symphony Orchestra

Sat 20 May, 7.45pm, Drill Hall, Ware SG12 9HP

Nielsen, Helios Overture; BeethovenLeonore Overture No. 3; Grieg, Morning Mood; Schumann, Symphony No. 3, ‘Rhenish’ 


Imperial College Sinfonietta – Sat 11 March, 7pm, Great Hall, Sherfield Building, South Kensington

A ‘circular’ masterpiece

Cesar Franck was one of the great organ improvisers – and an inspiring teacher to a generation of French composers. It’s probable that Debussy’s structural innovations (his String Quartet, for example) wouldn’t have come to pass were it not for the circular forms created by his teacher. Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D Minor takes a ‘cross’ motif that Bach would have recognised. He then meditates on it over the course of a three-movement symphony. Every theme and instrument is given its full character and space, like the organ stops and architecture of his beloved Saint-Clotilde in Paris. The recurrence of the cross motif brings us around with perfect timing to a blazing finale, with four trumpets blasting away jubilantly.

We are delighted to welcome back Aishwarya Swaminathan Saravanan, who led Sinfonietta for two years as an undergraduate. Her rendition of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor is passionate and inspiring. And the programme begins with Sibelius’ rousing Finlandia.

Tickets and map

Crendon Chamber Orchestra

Lark Ascending, Farewell to Stromness, Czech Suite and more… Saturday 29 October, St. Mary’s Church, Thame, 7:30pm

It’s a delight to collaborate again with Crendon Chamber Orchestra. I’m looking forward to exploring Vaughan Williams’ amazing evocation of lark-flight with violinist, Madeleine Pickering.

We will pair the Vaughan Williams with another outdoors gem: Maxwell Davies’ Farewell to Stromness, arranged for strings by Rosemary Furniss.

Two large-scale works for chamber orchestra complete the programme: Dvořák’s Czech Suite is a masterclass in Czech dance rhythms, richly characterised by superb orchestration; and the concert opens with Malcolm Archer’s Variations for Orchestra on a Theme of Ruth Gipps.

I hope to see you there!

News! News! News!

Bogs, glaciers and swans

I’m over the moon to be collaborating with a wonderful professional orchestra on a project featuring my compositions. More on that very soon.

In other news, the Harry Woolhouse Charitable Trust are commissioning a work by me for Imperial College Sinfonietta, to be performed next summer. More on that soon, too; but think bogs… think peat… think space. Bogs are our glaciers in UK and Ireland. They move, they breath, they shield.

Also, I’m delighted that Sands Films Studios want to feature The Singing Glacier in a festival in March 2023.

Finally, listen to this: Cliffs, by Garefowl, inspired by St Kilda. St Kilda has the highest cliff in the UK, Connachair, which falls 1401 ft to the sea. These sounds call me towards a sail voyage in 2025 to the great cliff of Cape Enniberg in the Faroe Islands – a staggering 2474 ft drop. Thank you, Anna Lowenstein, for the recommendation.

Tour to Prague

Imperial College Touring Orchestra, 4-10 July

What a joy this was. So good to be making music abroad again! Fantastic to be part of the combined energies of Imperial College Symphony Orchestra and Imperial College Sinfonietta.

It was a great pleasure to share the podium with Oliver Gooch; and the Imperial students were true ambassadors for Imperial College. At every turn we were bowled over by the hospitality and attentiveness of our Czech colleagues, as well as the audiences in St. Simon & Jude, Prague; St Ann’s, Karlovy Vary; and Jindřichův Hradec Castle. Huge thanks to the student committees, and to the tour consultants, ACFEA.

St Albans Symphony Orchestra, Saturday 2 July

7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans AL1 4DF

Two days short of Independence Day, SASO will celebrate with two American classics: Dvorak, Symphony No. 9, ‘New World’ and Barber, Violin Concerto, with soloist David Le Page. The concert also features the ballet music from Holst’s opera, The Perfect Fool.

This concert is dedicated to the memory of Tom Hammond, SASO’s Principal Conductor, who died in December 2021. One of Tom’s passions was the music of Sibelius. We will celebrate Tom by performing Sibelius, The Swan of Tuonela.

Tickets and details.

New commission from the Harry Woolhouse Charitable Trust

A new work for Imperial College Sinfonietta, to feature current members and alumni.

I am delighted to have been commissioned by the Harry Woolhouse Charitable Trust to write a new work to mark the quarter-centenary of Imperial College Sinfonietta. To be performed in 2023/24. The piece will reflect the adventurous spirit of Harry Woolhouse and Sinfonietta. It’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the Sinfonietta community and, in particular, the amazing work that current members and alumni do in the field of climate adaption. More details soon.

Imperial College Sinfonietta 25th Anniversary Concert

Great Hall, Imperial College, Sunday 12 June

Imperial College Sinfonietta was joined by alumni from the past 25 years for a festival weekend, culminating in a concert given by a massed orchestra of over 100 players. We were delighted to welcome back the founding conductor, Daniel Capps, to conduct Prokofiev, Symphony No. 5. We were also thrilled to perform Schumann, Cello Concerto, with alumnus, Elizabeth Porter. Our Honorary President, Sir Robert Lechler, gave a welcome speech.

The weekend was an opportunity for the wider Sinfonietta family to meet and reminisce, and a wonderful time was had by all. It was also a golden opportunity for us to highlight the work of the Harry Woolhouse Charitable Trust, named after alumnus, Harry Woolhouse. The trust supports the current membership, and the long-term future of the orchestra.

Farnborough Symphony Orchestra: Mahler Symphony No. 1

Princes Hall, Aldershot, Saturday 11 June

FSO gave a beautiful performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in Princes Hall to mark the end of our 100th Anniversary Season. We opened the concert with Joby Talbot’s Chacony in G minor, composed for the BBC Proms in 2011. Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, ‘Haffner’, completed a glittering musical offering that brought nearly 80 musicians together before an appreciative audience.

Recording of ‘Disco Ball – Mountain Hare’

Recorded at the premiere on 22 January by Farnborough Symphony Orchestra. Listen here.

FSO is grateful to the sound engineer and producer, Haresh Patel, for recording the premiere live.

FSO performed Disco Ball – Mountain Hare in a Scottish themed concert that included Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Scottish Symphony.

Disco Ball – Mountain Hare was inspired by my research into Mountain Hares in the Cairngorm mountains, Scotland, and was supported by a Finzi Trust Scholarship. There is also a version for violin, cello, piano and clarinet. The title Disco Ball – Mountain Hare is shared by an extended travel essay I wrote about the research process called Disco Ball – Mountain Hare: composing in the Cairngorms. You can read extracts from that, and about the disco ball metaphor here.

Cairngorms 2018, photograph by Bill Carslake

St Albans Symphony Orchestra, Saturday 14 May

7.30pm, St Albans Cathedral, St Albans, AL1 1BY

A beautiful programme in the fabulous acoustic of the cathedral. We are joined by soprano, Jessica Cale, organist, Andrew Parnell, and Gloriana choir, under their director, Deborah Miles-Johnson. Tickets.

Poulenc: Ave verum corpus
Debussy: Nocturnes
Canteloube: Chants d’Auvergne
Faurè: Cantique de Jean Racine
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3, Organ Symphony

Imperial College Sinfonietta, Sunday 20 March

6.30pm, Great Hall, Sherfield Building West, Imperial College South Kensington Campus, SW7 2AZ

Rimsky-Korsakov, Capriccio Espagnol; Dvořák, Carnival Overture; Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 in D.

The students of Imperial College Sinfonietta celebrate their upcoming holidays with two glittering orchestral showpieces and Sibelius’s soaring second symphony. Advance tickets here (select ‘non-student tickets’ in the drop-down menu) for £8 or £9 on the door. Map here.

St Albans Symphony Orchestra, Saturday 12 March

7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans AL1 4DF

Arnold, Clarinet Concerto  No.2 with Mark van de Wiel; Arnold, Symphony No. 5; Brahms, Symphony No. 3.

St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) celebrates Malcolm Arnold’s centenary year with these two stunning works, in a programme designed by SASO’s much-missed principal conductor, Tom Hammond. It’s a great pleasure for us all to work with Mark van der Wiel, Principal Clarinet of the Philharmonia, in Arnold’s super jazzy concerto, written for Benny Goodman. Brahms’ third symphony rounds off an evening of uplifting and moving music-making. I’m honoured to be conducting SASO this season. Information and tickets here.

Crendon Chamber Orchestra cond. by Orlando Jopling

I have Covid so I’m very grateful to Orlando Jopling for stepping in to direct CCO this Saturday 26 Feb at St. Mary’s Church, Thame, 7:30pm

Arnold, Concerto  No.1 for Flute and String Orchestra  with Sirius Chau; Dag Wiren, Serenade for Strings; Sibelius, Suite Champetre; Janacek, Idyll for String Orchestra.

Beginning with a chance to hear the highly-acclaimed young flautist, Sirius Chau, the programme ends with a delicate Sibelius suite and an early work of Janacek that includes one of the most beautiful tunes in 5-time ever written.

The collaboration between Orlando and CCO will be stunning. Enjoy it with the loyal CCO audience in the beautiful accoustic of St Mary’s, Thame. Tickets and details. All the best to everyone for a fantastic concert. I look forward to reuniting with CCO soon!

Premiere of ‘Disco Ball – Mountain Hare’

Saturday 22 January, Princes Hall, Aldershot, GU11 1NX with Farnborough Symphony Orchestra.

Farnborough Symphony Orchestra is brilliant for performing contemporary music. Recent concerts have included works by Charlotte Bray, David Matthews and Elizabeth Winters. We are also proud to run the Farnborough Young Composers Competition.

I’m thrilled that FSO performed Disco Ball – Mountain Hare in this Scottish themed concert which also included Mendelssohn’s Hebrides overture and his Scottish Symphony.

Disco Ball – Mountain Hare was inspired by my research into mountain hares in the Cairngorm mountains, Scotland, and was supported by a Finzi Trust Scholarship. There is also a version for violin, cello, piano and clarinet. The recent change of title to Disco Ball – Mountain Hare brings the piece in line with the extended travel essay I wrote about the project called Disco Ball – Mountain Hare: composing in the Cairngorms. You can read extracts from that and about the disco ball metaphor here.

Cairngorms 2018, photograph by Bill Carslake

EcoClipper Ambassador

I am honoured to be an Ambassador for EcoClipper! This inspiring company has a vision for clean cargo shipping.

‘Ten years ago everybody thought it was crazy to transport goods in sailing ships. Now it is a rising trend for companies to watch their entire production chain for sustainability. Soon customers will demand clean transport…’ (EcoClipper website.)

If you are interested in joining the second round of investment contact Captain Jorne Langelaan and the EcoClipper office via the investment form. If you are interested in taking part in the sailing revolution here is a great article by Jess Clay of EcoClipper that includes a section on sail cargo.

Clarity & Hart Agency

Communications and website design exclusively for low-carbon shipping

Since November 2020

I set up Clarity & Hart as part of the ecological concern of my total work. The amazing team at C&H advises on communications, creates designs and provides tracking. We also design websites from scratch, e.g. C&H is proud to have collaborated with sail cargo companies in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, the UK and Central America.

The Raz Club

Bill introduces incredible pieces played by the Razumovsky Quartet

This is such a blast. The playing by Ellie Fagg, Tom Norris, Dorothea Vogel and Orlando Jopling is world-class and there is advice on food and wine to go with the music! The Raz Club is for people who enjoy great music, food, wine and the company of others. It’s a way of coming together with like-minded people to enable musicians to keep on making music and sharing it with others. I’m honoured to be there with the wine writer Nina Caplan.

Imperial College Performers

Bill introduces a live-streamed lunchtime concert featuring Daniel King-Smith, piano

27 November, available online

Bill gives the introductory talk for this live-streamed recital given by undergraduates at Imperial College, London. He shares the background to the pieces, including a little about Liszt’s relationship with the writer, Comtesse Marie d’Goult, pen-name Daniel Stern.

The Finzi Trust podcast

Series hosted by Jonathan James, trustee

Bill was delighted to chat to Jonathan James about mountain hares and the composition process for Timidus. Timidus was funded by a Finzi Scholarship. Very happy to share a listing with Alice Barron!

Article in Southwark News

Interview with Michael Holland, Arts Correspondent for Southwark News

Michael has been running a series about musicians in South London, and the effect of the pandemic on their working lives.

BBC Radio 3 ‘Unclassified’

Poetry and music, featuring ‘The Singing Glacier’

1 October 2020

As part of the BBC’s annual Contains Strong Language spoken word festival, Elizabeth Alker talked to writer Helen Mort about her musical collaborations, including The Singing Glacier. Composer Sophie Cooper revealed a new piece written in response to one of Helen’s poems. The programme included a clip from The Singing Glacier in the version for modern violin and piano, featuring Flora Curzon, violin.    

Heath Street Baptist Church

Heath Street Baptist Church ‘Home Companion’ radio show and newsletter

During the first lockdown these radio programmes included thoughtfully-curated poetry, readings and songs, featuring members of the congregation. As well as contributing to these, Bill was happy to feature in the September – November newsletter.

‘Grumpy Trio’ for MishMash

Part of the touring production, ‘Strange Creatures’

Bill was commissioned by MishMash Productions to write a trio using just vocal sounds and body percussion for this fantastic show. Bill chats with cellist Sophie Rivlin about the process. An excerpt from the ‘Grumpy Trio’ is included.

Knoydart: Striations and Horizons

Knoydart Peninsula

August 2020

Knoydart is the uppermost of the peninsulas that make up the Rough Bounds in Northwest Scotland, an area intruded by deep sea lochs (including Scotland’s deepest, Loch Morar) and characterised by mountainous horizons. They overlay each other like lines of music, and the striations in the rock provide other melodies. Work in progress.

Photograph © Bill Carslake (Knoydart Peninsula 2020)

I Musicanti: Beethoven Violin Concerto

Introducing lunchtime concert series at Imperial College, London

5 November 2020,  12.45pm

Concert available on YouTube. Bill gives an introductory talk (starting at 00:48) about the collaboration between Beethoven and violinist Franz Joseph Clement that produced this radiant and intimate concerto. I Musicanti perform it in an arrangement by Carl Hinde for string quintet, with soloist Tamás András.

RAH! Podcast at Manchester Metropolitan University

Science and Art: Climate Change and The Singing Glacier

Manchester Metropolitan University

June 2020

Part of the Science and Art series. Poet Helen Mort and Physical Geographer Kathryn Adamson share their experiences of East Greenland and discuss how science and art can interlock to communicate the effects of climate change. Featuring an extended extract from The Singing Glacier.   

Farnborough Symphony Orchestra

Farnham Maltings, Farnham

14 March 2020, 7pm

Glinka, Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture; Prokofiev, Violin Concerto No. 1 with soloist, So-Ock Kim; Stravinsky, Firebird (1945).  An all-Russian programme featuring one of music’s sublime endings – Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto no. 1, with acclaimed violinist So-Ock Kim.

Cancelled due to Covid-19

‘Lamb’ at Future Sun: Nashashibi/Skaer

S.M.A.K. Gallery, Ghent, Belgium

30 November 2019 – 16 February 2020

‘Lamb’ is a new film by Nashashibi/Skaer with a soundtrack created by Bill, mezzo soprano Olivia Ray and Rosalind Nashashibi. The footage from a lambing shed was shot by Lucy Skaer on Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides.