NYCGB commissions composers Shiva Feshareki and Joanna Marsh

Celebrating #InternationalWomensDay, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain has announced new commissions by two inspiring female composers, Shiva Feshareki and Joanna Marsh

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain is collaborating with the game-changing British-Iranian experimental composer, turntablist and artist Shiva Feshareki (above), whose site-specific, state-of-the-art performance have taken the art music and electronic worlds by storm. Her diverse output explores electronics, acoustics, context and perspective through wide ranging practices that incorporate classical craft and experimental methodology.

Feshareki’s new work will be a concert piece for a cappella choir and turntable, drawing inspiration from the theme of ‘cultural identity’. The aspiration for the piece is to have its world premiere in summer 2021 at The Three Choirs Festival. Ben Parry will conduct the National Youth Choir with Shiva herself as featured turntable artist.

Shiva Feshareki said, ‘I am very excited to be working with NYCGB and the next generation of talented young musicians. It’s a great opportunity to work intensively with brilliant young singers and create an interactive web between their voices and my electronic music, looking at fresh ways of developing a new sound with unique processes. This is always a highly effective way to explore new ideas with next-generation artists, especially a group as talented as NYCGB.’

Ben Parry, NYCGB Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, said, ‘This is a departure from what might be considered the ‘norm’ of choral composition and singing, but at NYCGB we are passionate about stretching and even shaping the boundaries of what choral music is. This is another example of how we can challenge and enthuse our young singers and audiences to new sounds and styles.’

Joanna Marsh is writing a new piece for The National Youth Girls’ Choir to be performed in 2021. Described in The Guardian (2019) as ‘one of today’s leading composers for the voice’, Marsh is a British composer who, since 2007 has divided her time between Dubai and the UK.

Joanna Tomlinson, Principal Conductor, National Youth Girls’ Choir, said, ‘My first proper experience of Joanna Marsh’s music was singing her Evening Prayer as a member of the professional chamber choir Sonoro. I love her harmonic world and I think the Girls’ Choir will be so excited by her delicious musical language, which will challenge and delight them. I love how her music is so well crafted and is immediately rewarding but is not simplistic and will no doubt bring us challenges. I think our young singers thrive on being treated like serious musicians and exploring a new musical voice. Joanna is also a great character so I hope that the girls will get to meet her as she’ll be a super role model for them.’