No hay camino
John recently entered an orchestral piece, "No hay camino" in The Alvarez
Chamber Orchestra "As You Like It" Composition Competition 2016/17.
Although the piece wasn't selected for the final prize-winners, the
adjudicators made some very complimentary comments,
"No hay camino is a vivid work, well orchestrated and
full of well judged contrast."
To listen to No hay camino click here
To hire the piece for performance please email John directly.
Click here to email John
John’s duet for flute and violin, Aquarelle, is to be included on a CD
to be issued at the end of July.
RMN Music put out a call for contemporary duos and trios last year
and John’s piece was one of those selected for the album. The
performers are Italian musicians P. Doronzo (flute) and C. M. Rizzi
(violin) and the recording was made at the Studio Cultura e Musica
G. Curci in Barletta in south east Italy.
Purchase/download details below.
click to listen: Explorations 21st Century Music for Duo and Trio
click here for: Amazon download link
Also available at: Spotify, Google play and iTunes
KOS at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery>
Following the performance of Five Joan Eardley Pictures and other
pieces at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh,
Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society players repeated some of the
programme at the KOS – Extra concert.
Vincent Gray and Lynne Bulmer performed Aquarelle, Stephen
Morrison and April Randall reprised Lithoglyph and Stuart Smith and
Katie O’Neil premiered Impasto. All these pieces had been chosen
for the Edinburgh concert because of their visual art connections.>
Five Joan Eardley Pictures
John Gourlay plays oboe and cor anglais in Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society and regularly writes for the group. Last year he penned Five Joan Eardley Pictures for a trio of clarinet, horn and cello, premièred at a KOS concert in Kirkcaldy in April 2016 by Stuart Smith, Andreas Morrison and Katie O'Neil. This composition is being repeated in connection with the current exhibition of Joan Eardley's work, A Sense of Place, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Modern Two in Belford Road.
The five sections of the piece are responses to five paintings byJoan Eardley (1921-63), all of which are in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.
1. Street Kids (1949-51)
2. Seeded Grasses and Daisies (1960)
3. The Wave (1961)
4. Children and Chalked Wall No. 3 (1963)
5. Catterline in Winter (1963)
The performance will take place in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, Edinburgh from 6.00-6.30pm on Thursday 27 April 2017. Players from the orchestra will also present three of John's duets with visual art connections, Aquarelle, Lithoglyph and Impasto.
To listen to Five Joan Eardley Pictures click here
Edinburgh University Composers' Orchestra
'Now fades the glimmering landscape' was premièred and recorded by this orchestra on 24 November 2016 in the Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh. This composition is written in an 'open score format' of five parts and optional percussion, the distribution of parts depending on the make-up of the ensemble. The inspiration is the second stanza of Gray's Elegy - "Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds."
To listen to 'Now fades the glimmering landscape' click here.
St Magnus Festival - Hebrides Ensemble & Max
I was commissioned to a new piece for the Hebrides Ensemble to perform at the St Magnus Festival in a programme that reflected a concert in the first festival, celebrated ensemble's 25th anniversary and was a tribute to the festival's founder, Peter Maxwell Davies.
Yann Ghiro (clarinet), Zoe Beyers (violin), William Conway (cello) and Philip Moore (piano) gave the première of Midsummer Sunrise in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall on Thursday 23 June 2016. The Guardian described the piece as being "full of spry and urgent sounds" and the Scotsman said that it was -
"bold and angular, yet melismatic and mysterious - a hugely striking piece from a Scottish composer who should be heard more often."
The concert was recorded by the BBC for broadcast on Radio 3 and the first part (which includes Midsummer Sunrise) is scheduled for Tuesday 5 July at 1.00pm.
Click to see Festival Programme page
Guitar Selection Box
Guitarist Stephen Morrison is giving a recital at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. In the year of Shakespeare's 400th legacy celebration, the programme will include the première of my solo guitar piece Seven Ages, inspired by Jacques' speech in As You Like It and dedicated to Stephen.
The Seven Ages of Man was already an established formula when Shakespeare gave it form in As You Like It, likening our worldly existence to that of actors in a play. We are first introduced to the infant in arms who grows into the scholar creeping unwillingly to school. We then meet the lugubrious lover who in turn becomes the swaggering soldier. The fifth stage of corpulent middle age is followed by the shrinking into old age and finally the return to the second childishness that precedes the end.
The rest of the programme is an indulgently refreshing, mix of luxuriant guitar music. Spanning two centuries; from the birth of the six string guitar to the present day, masterworks from 19th century Europe to South America will be performed on a beautifully restored period instrument and a uniquely designed modern instrument. This recital is equally matched by the acoustical environment of the venue church; elegant and refined.
The Paddok And The Mous
Scottish Chamber Orchestra Musicians
Jane Atkins Viola, Alison Green Bassoon
The Paddok And The Mous
Following a call for scores in a joint venture by St. Andrews Music Centre and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, fifteen pieces were submitted. Four new pieces for viola and bassoon selected for a workshop in St. Andrews on Tuesday 16 February, one of which was John's 'The Paddok and the Mous'.
The players, Jane Atkins (viola), Alison Green (bassoon) of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and composer Tom Harrold selected John's piece for inclusion in a concert at The Byre Theatre the following day. 'The Paddok And The Mous' and pieces by Mozart, Tom Harrold and Eddie McGuire formed the programme of the early evening recital at the Byre Theatre.
Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society Composition Project 2016-17
Now in its third session, this project is a unique idea in action in the community, combining learning and creativity with practical and professional input. Beath High School and St Columba's High School are involved this session, each selecting three young composers who will compose a piece of music for three instruments selected from volunteers from the orchestra.
I will visit both schools on a regular basis from August - February and the culmination of the project is a performance and recording of all the compositions before an audience of teachers, family and friends in March 2017.
London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra
This amateur group workshopped ten selected pieces on 5 March in Herne Hill, London. My composition, 'The Weaving Midnight Moon', was one of those selected and I travelled to London for the event. (All three of my children live in London and my wife was able to enjoy Mothers Day with the family the following day.)
Each piece was played through and the players then asked questions and gave their views on the composition and its presentation. After the workshop, there was a seminar about score presentation for amateur players whilst the members of the orchestra voted on which to include in their autumn concert. I was very pleased that my composition was one of those selected; Alan Taylor conducted the première at the church of St George The Martyr in Borough High Street, London on 1 October 2016. In December Matt Dilley recorded the orchestra playing the piece.
Click here to listen to The Weaving Midnight Moon
Click to visit the London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra