May 16, 2015 9:00 amtoMay 26, 2015 7:00 am
October 10, 2015 9:00 amtoOctober 16, 2015 11:00 pm



I am thrilled to announce that I have been awarded an Arts Council Artists’ International Development Fund Grant connected to my work as Artistic Director of The Riot Ensemble.  This grant will enable me to undertake two international residencies with three of the most exciting contemporary ensembles of our time.  I’ll spend 10 days in New York City with ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) in May, and another week in Cologne with Handwerk and MusikFabrik in October.

ensemble logos

Each of these residencies has a slightly different focus.  ICE has always been a model for how we think about our organisation at The Riot Ensemble.  I’m particularly excited to work with their artistic team, and in particular their Executive Director Claire Chase, observing meetings and rehearsals, pitching in at concerts, and even being involved in evaluating and strategising the evolution of some of their projects, such as DigitICE, their online Digital Media Library.


The ICE Ensemble

In October, I’ll be staying with musicians from Hand Werk and MusikFabrik, another two ensembles who are total inspirations to the work we do at The Riot Ensemble.  I’ll have the chance to observe rehearsals (including a week of MusikFabrik’s insanely awesome Pitch-43 programme), chat to their artistic teams, and gain an international perspective on what’s going on at the cutting-edge of new music.

Helen Bledsoe / Klaus Lang, Komponist

Helen Bledsoe with Klaus Lang

I’ll be back here throughout these projects to document the questions and ideas they throw up for me, alongside (I hope!) a bunch of interviews, pictures and little audio snippets from some of the most exciting new music practitioners of our time.


Ensemble Hand Werk

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ARAM (Associate, Royal Academy of Music)

I have been awarded an “Associate of the Royal Academy of Music” by RAM’s Governing Board of Directors.  The Academy bestows this award on former students who have made a “significant contribution to the music profession”.  Below is the full list of appointed associates in 2015.  It’s great to see how many of these appointments have gone to composers, and it’s an honour to appear alongside friends and close colleagues Darren Bloom, Elspeth Brooke and Luke Styles.

RAM Associate 2015

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June 19, 2015 7:00 amtoAugust 17, 2015 12:00 pm

I’m really honoured to have recently received a fellowship for the 2015 Composition Programme at the Tanglewood Music Center.  The Geometry of Clouds will receive a performance at Tanglewood, as will two new works that I will write while in residence there.

Tanglewood Announcement

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2014 Aspen Music Festival

June 16, 2014 10:00 amtoAugust 17, 2014 5:00 pm

aspen1I’m very pleased to have been offered (and to have accepted!) a full scholarship to attend and study at the 2014 Aspen Summer Music Festival.  I’ll be writing a new orchestral piece (after my work with the BBCSO this past year) and a new chamber work for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.  Faculty at the festival include Steven Stucky, George Tsontakis and Christopher Theofanidis.  It’s looking to be a very excited (and very beautiful) summer!

Aspen Music Festival tent

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Opus 2014: Shortlist

December 6, 2013
10:30 amto4:30 pm
January 11, 2014toJanuary 12, 2014

It’s a pleasure to announce that I’ve been shortlisted for the Britten Sinfonia’s OPUS2014 competition.  I am currently composing a wind quintet (my second of 2013!), which will be workshopped with the Britten Sinfonia – under the watchful eye of Huw Watkins – in January.  From that point, one of the composers will be selected to complete their piece for a series of concerts with the Sinfonia in Autumn 2014.

Obviously I’m just beginning the work, but I’ve already landed on the title of my new piece: The Dialect of Lunatic Hurricanes.  This is taken from the first poem in the most recent issue of Modern Poetry Translation Magazine, which focuses on Polish poetry.   In her opening editorial, Sasha Dugdale makes a powerful case – in the line of Seamus Heaney’s The Impact of Translation – that we have a constant need for voices that are ‘credible, desolating and resuscitative.’  That the roads taken by the leading lights of the generations ahead of us are not the only options.

I have been approaching this work as very close family friends deal with an extremely difficult situation involving one of their young children.  As I’ve rolled the music over and around in my head, these words – “credible, desolating and resuscitative” – have been resonating with me as the responsibility of artists when we are responding to suffering in the world.  Without ever being indulgent, we must be serious about representing and responding to the world as it actually is.

It’s hard to know how much of our own situation we read into art, but for me, all of these ideas were seemingly wrapped up into the very first poem in the magazine.  That poem, Dialect of Hurricanes – translated by André Naffis-Sahely from Frankétienne‘s original French opens:

Every day, I use the dialect of lunatic hurricanes.
I speak the folly of colliding winds.
Ever evening, I use the patois of furious rains.
I speak the fury f flooding waters.
Every night, I speak to the Caribbean islands in the tongue of
hysterical storms. I speak the hysteria of the roaring sea.
Dialect of hurricanes. Patois of rains. Language of storms. Flow
of the spiralling life….



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London Sinfonietta: Interview

I’ve done an interview for the London Sinfonietta in connection with my recent commission for their New Music Show (part of their ‘Writing the Future‘ scheme).  The questions range from the challenges of writing for a solo instrument, to the process of collaborating with students from Central St. Martin’s School of Design.

Support Writing the Future

You can support the London Sinfonietta’s work with emerging composers on the Writing the Future scheme by texting LSF001 followed by your donation amount to 70970.  Donations can be £3, £5 or £10.



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Minnesota Public Radio: Profile & Interview

My many thanks to Alison Young for this extremely kind profile and interview on Minnesota Public Radio.

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Gruppen and The Londonist

October 6, 2013
6:00 pmto9:00 pm

It was my pleasure to host a number of bloggers – on behalf of The Londonist – at the London Sinfonietta and Royal Academy of Music’s performance of Gruppen on Sunday 6th October.  They’ve now had a chance to reflect on the experience and have written a number of interesting responses to the evening which you can see over at The Londonist (Three Orchestras Playing at Once: Gruppen – the Verdict).

The Londonist will also be sending bloggers to my upcoming premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in November, and I do hope some of these people will return to hear the London Sinfonietta perform In Vain in December!

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Copland House Residency Award

September 3, 2014 9:00 amtoOctober 8, 2014 9:00 am

I’m hugely excited to announce that I’ve been awarded one of the 2013-14 Copland House Residency Awards.  I’m honoured to be included alongside a number of other fantastic composers I know, including Nicholas Omiccioli and Christopher Theofanidis.

Copland House has issued a press release detailing all of the composers chosen.  The announcement of the awards also appeared on New Music Box, Broadway World, and ASCAP’s website.

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BBCSO premieres The Deeper Breath to Follow

November 14, 2013
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

During the past year, I’ve been in residency with the BBC Symphony Orchestra through Sound and Music’s Embedded Scheme.  The resulting piece – The Deeper Breath to Follow – a 12 minute work for full orchestra, will be premiered by the BBCSO on 14th November at Maida Vale Studios.  The concert is now fully booked, but will also be subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio Three.

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