The Brunel Ensemble
The Brunel Ensemble
The Brunel Ensemble was founded in 1993 with the specific intention of promoting new and recent (mainly British) music alongside 20th century classics. Accordingly, its forces have ranged from chamber ensemble to symphony orchestra. The Ensemble has championed the widest range of music, giving more than 40 premieres of which 20 are its own commissions. Prominent among these have been new works from Simon Bainbridge, Diana Burrell, Tansy Davies, Michael Finnissy, Morgan Hayes, John McCabe, Luke Stoneham, Joby Talbot, Will Todd, Raymond Warren, Graham Williams and John Woolrich. The Ensemble’s versatility is demonstrated in engagements that have included recording two CDs and touring with the rock band The Divine Comedy - including two sell-out dates at the Royal Festival Hall. The Brunel Ensemble has made seven South Bank appearances since its debut there in 1997’s Park Lane Group Young Artists’ Series, and these include accompanying the New York Ballet Stars and film composer Goran Bregovic and his Weddings and Funerals Band. Highlights in recent seasons have been the SWEB Festival of Elgar; the British premiere performances of Poul Ruders’ Symphony No. 2; Wildscore - a collaboration with Bristol’s Wildscreen Festival; Landscape and Memory - a 3-week residency in North Cornwall schools; a composing and film-making project for St. George’s Bristol, based on Joby Talbot’s score for Hitchcock’s The Lodger; and a concert at the Budapest Autumn Festival under the auspices of the British Council. Other festival appearances include Bath, Brighton, Hoxton New Music Days, Wardour, Hampstead and Highgate, BMIC’s Cutting Edge series and Spitalfields.
Christopher Austin’s recent engagements include his debuts with the BBC Symphony, BBC Concert, BBC Scottish, Hungarian Radio Symphony, Hallé, Royal Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber and Philharmonia orchestras, as well as with Present Music (New York), Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, and the Danish Radio Sinfonietta. Other work includes the Ulster Orchestra, Composers’ Ensemble, the Royal Ballet and the New York Ballet stars at the South Bank. He has collaborated with John Cale, Michael Nyman and The Divine Comedy. Future work includes return engagements with the BBC Scottish, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the premiere of Robert Saxton’s opera The Legend of the Wandering Jew for BBC Radio 3.
Christopher Austin is a passionately committed conductor of new music and has given more than 70 premieres in the last decade, more than 40 of those with the Brunel Ensemble of which he is Artistic Director. Equally at home in the Classical and Romantic repertoire, Austin devised the Brunel Ensemble’s SWEB Festival of Elgar, a critical and popular success that was also Highly Commended in the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in 1999.
As an orchestrator and conductor of film and television music, recent projects include Dan Jones’ scores for The Life of Mammals (BBC One) and the feature films Shadow of the Vampire, Tomorrow La Scala and Max (Ivor Novello Award 2004); Jeremy Sams’ score for Enduring Love; and Joby Talbot’s music for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Christopher Austin studied composition at the University of Bristol with Raymond Warren and Adrian Beaumont, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he was taught by Robert Saxton and Simon Bainbridge. He teaches orchestration and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.
Teresa Cahill’s celebrated career began at Glyndebourne, where she sang the First Lady in Die Zauberflote and, later, Alice Ford in Falstaff. She has sung over 100 performances at Covent Garden, including Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie) with Carlos Kleiber, Don Giovanni (Zerlina and Elvira) and La Clemenza di Tito (Servilia), which she also sang at La Scala, Milan. Concert appearances include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Sir Georg Solti, with Michael Gielen at the Vienna Festival, and with Riccardo Chailly to open the 1987 Berlin Festival, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Sir Colin Davis and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14 with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and the WDR Cologne Orchestra conducted by Gary Bertini.
Teresa Cahill has also sung the Webern Cantatas with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Second Symphony with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Klaus Tennstedt, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Eliahu Inbal and Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers in Frankfurt, London and Gutersloh, as part of the composer’s 60th birthday celebrations. She also took part in Sir Michael Tippett’s 80th birthday concert performance of A Child of our Time in Houston, Texas, gave the world premiere of the orchestrated version of The Heart’s Assurance at the Barbican Centre, and has sung several performances of Tippett’s Third Symphony conducted by the composer.
As a recitalist, Teresa Cahill has specialised in the songs of Richard Strauss, Schubert and Elgar, and in the field of contemporary music, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, John Casken, David Blake and Robert Saxton have all written works for her. Her recording debut was in Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro with Klemperer. Other recordings include highlights from Der Rosenkavalier, Elgar’s King Olaf and The Spirit of England, Mahler Symphony No. 8, La Clemenza di Tito conducted by Pritchard and Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied with Rozhdestvensky.
Her latest release is a recital of Strauss and Rachmaninov songs on the Divine Art label.