Horn trio premiere September 14th 2023

 'After Farrera' for horn, violin and cello was premiered by Ben Goldscheider, Savitri Grier and Laura van der Heijden at the Lammermuir Festival on September 14th, in a concert given by the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective. It is dedicated to Ben Goldscheider, who commissioned it; a second performance takes place in Leicester on September 23rd.

Quartet no5 on CD

 The Lafayette String Quartet have issued a new cd 'Four Voices', showcasing their recent commissions. The recording of my fifth string quartet is very fine.

Clavichord pieces on CD

 A new Cd of clavichord music includes three of my Broadwood Bagatelles. The CD 'Chit Chat', Prima Facie PFCD214, features music for two clavichords played by Terence Charlston and Julian Perkins. 

Catalan residency and 'The Moth Ghost' in concert

 In May I was in residence at the Centre d'Art i Natura at Farrera in the Catalan Pyrenees. My project was the composition of a new horn trio, for Ben Goldscheider. It will be premiered at the Lammermuir Festival in Scotland in September.

During May, the Lafayette string quartet continued to present my String Quartet no5, as they toured in British Columbia.

Meanwhile my scena The Moth Ghost has two performances in London, prior to its recording next month. Clara Barbieri Serrano is the soprano, with Aleksander Szram, piano. On Tuesday morning June 28th there is a  presentation at the RCM, and on Friday evening June 30th, a mini-salon concert at my cousin Lucy Le Fanu's house in Shepherds Bush.

String Quartet no 5 - premiere

I was in residence in Canada at Victoria University, Vancouver Island, from March 20th-28th. During that time I worked with the University's quartet in residence, the Lafayette String Quartet, and with composition students.

The Lafayette commissioned my new quartet, no5,  and gave its premiere on March 23rd.  Following a successful concert, they recorded it for cd release later this year. During the summer they have several further performances of it, in British Columbia and in Ottawa.

Meanwhile in the UK, Gemini have scheduled recording sessions for a new Cd album of my chamber music. In preparation for it, they have released this video, in which I talk about my work:


March 2023 performances

The Bourne, a setting of Christina Rossetti, will be performed by Heloise Werner and The Hermes Experiment at the Wigmore Hall on Wednesday March 8th, 7.30pm. It will also be live streamed. The Bourne will be performed in Anne Denholm's ensemble arrangement, and the concert celebrates International Women's Day.

String Quartet no5 will receive its premiere on Thursday March 23rd at the University  of  Victoria, Canada. It was commissioned by the Lafayette String Quartet, who present the premiere. I shall introduce it in a pre-concert talk.

February 2023 performances

 String Quartet no2 

Tuesday February 21st. Bloomsbury Quartet, at Skipton Town Hall, 7.30. The programme includes Maconchy nos 1 and 11 and Janacek no2.

as heather curves (SATB)  Text: Eithne Strong. Premiere.

Saturday February 25th.   New Dublin Voices, Trinity College Chapel, Dublin, 7.00pm. The programme includes six premieres, of works based on poems by Irish women poets in the Windharp anthology.

Songs for Jane - new cd

 A fine recording of Songs for Jane has appeared on the Polish label Dux. The artists are Aleksandra Kubas-Kruk (soprano) and Szymon Kruk (viola). DUX 1875.

Travels and residences

In November, LeFanu was in residence at the Hochschule fur Musik in Nuremberg, and then in Lubeck.

In January she was a guest of the  Royal Irish Academy of Music for the Irish premiere of 'The Sofa' by Elizabeth Maconchy. LeFanu will be back in Dublin in February for the launch of 'Women and Music in Ireland', (Boydell Press) which includes LeFanu's chapter 'Women and Composition: Fifty Years of Progress?'

In March, LeFanu will be in residence at the University of Victoria, in Canada. She will work with the Lafayette Quartet, who will give the premiere of her String Quartet no5; she will also lead master classes for UVic composition students.

Review of LeFanu portrait concert

 Gemini presented a concert on December 3rd in honour of LeFanu's 75th birthday; Martin Dreyer reviewed it:

Unitarian Chapel, York, December 3

Nicola LeFanu’s 75th birthday earlier this year was celebrated in fine style by one of our most distinguished and long-lived groups, Gemini, itself only a year short of its half-century. Two of her own works framed eight others, including one by her husband David Lumsdaine.

            Gemini is a flexible ensemble led from the clarinet by Ian Mitchell. Here he was joined by a piano trio for the premiere of LeFanu’s appropriately titled Gemini Quartet, newly commissioned and written only this summer. As an opener it was designed to reflect how we welcome others, in a dozen or so brief “bagatelles” (her word), some of only a few seconds.

            It charms with surprises, moving seamlessly between comfort and anguish, impressionism and rhythm, sometimes noisy, more often gentle, using the instruments in a variety of different groupings. Gemini delivered it with loving care. I could only have wished its 13 minutes had lasted longer. 

            At the end of the evening, more than two hours later, we heard her Piano Trio of 2003. Its single movement is rhapsodic, all its material developed from high harmonics and tremolos, which are soon amplified by a piano solo. It charts a fascinating course between nerviness and relaxation, the two moods changing between strings and piano, as dialogue influences their responses to one another. As always with LeFanu, her orchestration is imaginative. It eventually reaches a harmonious conclusion, with trills in the piano as the strings disappear into the ether. Gemini interacted intuitively throughout.

…most of all we were reminded just how valuable an asset Nicola LeFanu is to York, Yorkshire and well beyond. Many happy returns!          

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