London New Wind Festival
The first Festival comprised three concerts of contemporary music and took place at the British Music Information Centre from September to November 1998.
Prior to that Catherine Pluygers and Jonathan Lindridge ran the New Wind Symphony Orchestra - a freelance wind symphonic orchestra which gave its debut in Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1985 (financed by Sport And Art Foundation, Holst Foundation and PRS Foundation for New Music) and then went on to give some very large wind symphonic concerts both in London and SE England over the next 10 years. They also ran a corresponding residential summer school in Kent for amateur and semi-professional players for five years which complemented the aims of the orchestra- to introduce unknown and new works for the wind symphony orchestra to the general public and to research and promote neglected and new works for that medium.
They both felt that the orchestra was too unwieldy an animal to run in the long-term and so came up with the idea of the wind festival, which was more flexible and would also tie up with their aims and objectives.
The festival is slowly growing in its scope to reflect the wide interests of its director Catherine Pluygers. For the last two years it has added improvisation concerts to the main core of classical contemporary concerts for wind chamber ensembles. Other areas covered by the festival are ‘new music for wind symphony orchestras’, brass ensembles and ‘new music by women composers.’ At all times the main objective has been to encourage and promote new works written for these wind groups and to that end the festival has worked closely with the main music information centres as well as Society for the Promotion of New Music and each year has had a ‘Call for New Pieces’ which provides about thirty new scores chosen from the one hundred or so that are submitted.
Performers for the festival are provided by a core of professional musicians each with a great deal of experience in the field and a genuine enthusiasm and commitment to new music.
Occasionally the festival selects a particular composer or group of composers for special concerts. For example we have given a concert of music by Lennox Berkeley, a centenary concert for Elizabeth Lutyens and birthday concerts for several composers such as Paul Patterson, Nicola Lefanu etc. last year. But in the main we promote music that has been written in the last few years. Most of the music has been written after the year 2000 and to date we have given innumerable first performances by living composers.
To date core funding for the festival includes Holst Foundation, Hinrichsen Foundation, Leche Trust, PRS Foundation for New Music
and The Pam Main Arts Trust.