patron : Sir Harrison Birtwistle
artistic directors : Jon Hargreaves & Christian Mason
composer-in-residence : Sinan Savaskan
The Octandre Ensemble was formed in 2011 by composer Christian Mason and conductor Jon Hargreaves. Our core repertoire is music written after 1945, with an emphasis on timbre and ritual. Sound is an eternally fascinating phenomenon, and music can harness its power in ever more original ways: new music, ancient ideas.
In recent years, our activity has centred on long-term relationships with living composers. Our long-term collaboration with Frank Denyer saw him win the RPS Award for Large-Scale Ensemble Composition in 2020 following our World-Premiere performance of his epic The Fish that became the Sun, at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival the year before. Our studio recording of the work is available on Another Timbre records. In 2018, we presented the music of Denyer, Nicola LeFanu and Rolf Hind in a series of Composer Portraits at The Coronet, Notting Hill, funded by the PRS Foundation, RVW Trust and the Hinrichsen Foundation.
The ensemble played at the 2016 Principal Sound festival, in a concert featuring UK premieres of Christian Mason's Layers of Love and Claude Vivier's Samarkand, as well as rare performances of Denyer's After the Rain, and Green Plastic Vase by the ensemble's composer-in-residence, Sinan Savaskan. In December 2015, Savaskan's Many Stares through semi-nocturnal Zeiss-blink (Module 30), an Octandre commission, won a BASCA British Composer Award.
2021 sees further collaboration with Denyer, as well as new and ongoing projects with composers Jack Sheen, Christian Mason and Sinan Savaskan.
Previous festival appearances include Little Missenden Festival where we performed Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat in 2014 and Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire with Lore Lixenberg in 2016; and a residency at York Spring Festival of New Music (2012). In 2012 we also hosted an Anglo-French Composers Forum at LSO St Luke's, London, in association with LSO Soundhub; we presented “Other Voices” at Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kiev, Ukraine; and we performed “Medieval Modernist”, a programme focused on the work of our patron Sir Harrison Birtwistle.