Music for a Busy City, MIF2017

March 9, 2017

Manchester International Festival 2017 was launched today, including the Music for a Busy City.  This project takes six composers out of the concert hall and into the city of Manchester, making music for public spaces through which people pass every day.  I will…

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New Music Biennial 2017

January 20, 2016

Illusions, my collaboration with David Hoyle and the London Sinfonietta, has been selected for the New Music Biennial in 2017.   That means that we will revive the work and hopefully recalibrate it for the political events of that year, and…

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‘Illusions’ with David Hoyle

September 20, 2015

  Illusions – Philip  Venables & David Hoyle Performed by London Sinfonietta, cond. Andrew Gourlay, sound by Sound Intermedia. Video by Philip Venables. Live performance was two days after the UK General Election 2015, as a post-election “party political broadcast”,…

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Illusions – collaboration with David Hoyle

May 11, 2015

I’m delighted to have been able to contribute to the London Sinfonietta‘s Notes to the New Government on Saturday at the Southbank Centre.  David Hoyle and I worked on an ‘in-yer-face’ piece called Illusions which was based on the message: democracy is an…

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Shocking Opera: a new manifesto

April 2, 2011

New opera is too safe. Even Thomas Adès’ end-of-the-pier blowjob bored me. Ninety years earlier, I am sure that Strauss’ Salome shocked people more than Powder Her Face ever did – though admittedly the Adès’ probably has a greater sense of fun. But have you seen contemporary opera in Britain and been shocked, unnerved, outraged, or even just a little pissed off? Probably not; I haven’t. All the other contemporary arts have had anarchic movements and anti-establishment manifestos, from Futurism to Dadaism to the ‘Post Porn Modernist Manifesto’. But not opera. New opera still seems shackled to the corpse of the old; “dead, repetitive, predictable, pretty”, according to Robert Thicknesse in The Guardian. Most modern art rails against conservatism; is new opera its last bastion?