Welcome to the website of composer, conductor and educator George Holloway. I am currently Dean of Composition at Tianjin Conservatory of Music, China (historically the first ever foreign head of department in a Chinese conservatory of music). 欢迎大家访问我的个人网站。我目前是中国天津音乐学院作曲系的系主任。 You can see more in my bio. Thanks for visiting! For video, see my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqH9C9GCFNtgpWrSmi3dbGw…Continue Reading “Welcome”
I’m looking forward to the release of Sam Cave’s CD, which will feature both of my guitar sonatas, alongside Murail’s Tellur, Fox’s Chile and Radulescu’s Subconscious Wave, all of which are possibly world premiere recordings. Sam has described this disc as the “cumulative expression of the last ten years of my guitar playing”, and I am very proud that my…Continue Reading “Recording session with Sam Cave: Guitar Sonata”
I’ve been working with the talented Zheng Yang for almost two years now; I have given her so many drafts of this piece! With all the struggles to make my musical ideas playable on the sheng, complete with meticulously bar-by-bar solving of near intractable fingering problems, we’re nearing the full premiere of “Sculpture in Melody”…Continue Reading “Sculpture in Melody for traditional solo sheng 《线性雕塑》，为传统笙而作(2015-6) – forthcoming premiere taster!”
In November/December 2017 I was honoured to visit Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and rehearse my piece for cello and piano, Novella (Chapter One) with Fang Yijia and Li Xinyuan. They premiered the work on the 1st December, in what was one of the most enjoyable and awe-inspiring concerts I’ve ever seen (check out the…Continue Reading “Novella (Chapter One) for cello and piano- forthcoming project taster!”
Thanks to Peter Wiegold for giving me the opportunity to talk at Brunel. It was a great afternoon!
Listen to Colin Still’s excellent recording of Peter and Mihailo’s gorgeous performance (click on the link to hear two other performances of this piece): http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzQwMzEwNzQ0MA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0
In January 2018, Tianjin International TV made a documentary about my life and work as composer, conductor and teacher in Tianjin. 在中国的朋友们，欢迎你们打开以下的链接观看天津国际频道Hello!天津的纪录片： http://tv.cntv.cn/video/VSET100183082927/35c76b659ddb4ad294aa3d03e454801f?from=timeline&isappinstalled=0 The full documentary: I’ve made a shorter edited version: Unfortunately it’s in Chinese! Apologies to my non-Chinese-speaking friends, but I encourage you to take a look anyway, as it’s beautifully shot!
This was the major composition project of Summer ’17, and my major conducting project of Winter ’17. When I get hold of the full video footage, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, I’ve got the audio of the first of the three performances up on bandcamp:
This piece was commissioned by French-Chinese composer Qigang Chen, whose Gong Geng college runs a Summer camp for rural children to study music with superb teachers and perform with wonderful players, The college is situated in the remote Zhejiang countryside–so remote, that one can only access it by boat. I have been lucky…Continue Reading “Pied Beauty (2017) children’s choir and string orchestra”
My beloved Mulan Children’s Choir. When I have the videos I’ll put the links up here.
This is, to my mind, one of the most important educational contributions I’ve made at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music: coaching and rehearsing this piece was a transformative learning experience for the thirteen students that premiered the piece. I personally invested 60 or more hours in rehearsing Mosaic, from one-to-one coaching, to sectionals and full rehearsals. …Continue Reading “Mosaic (2017) for 13 instruments”
This piece for flexible ensemble has had many performances over the years. I’ve posted two videos of performances below, and a bandcamp link where you can hear the audio of what I think was the world premiere, by CoMA South. http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDA0NDU2NA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0 http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDA0MzQ3Mg==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0
For No One, To No One was first performed by David Alberman at the SPNM solo spotlights concert, Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, London, UK, 20th March 2007. The title was prompted by composer and performer Ignacio Agrimbau, who suggested I write a piece without dedication, and which did not purport to convey extra-musical meaning. The…Continue Reading “For No One, To No One (2006-7) solo violin”
In October 2016 I organised a mini-festival, inviting the Kreutzer Quartet to come and perform, teach, lecture and workshop students works. It was a wonderful week, and garnered enthusiastic feedback from the Tianjin students. http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDA0ODE4NA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0 While they were in Tianjin, I was lucky enough to have a new piece, Tullochgorm, premiered in their second concert. This…Continue Reading “Kreutzer Quartet in Tianjin: Tullochgorm (2016) for String Quartet”
I worked with the director Cao Jing on her production of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis in Summer 2015. I was so impressed by her imagination and talent, I was clear that I wanted to work with her on an improvised performance involving music, dance and theatre. This eventually became Ling, which we performed (each time utterly different)…Continue Reading “Ling 《灵》Improvised music, theatre and dance performance (2015/6)”
This piece, commissioned by the Druskomanija Festival in Lithuania, presents a collage of rarefied sound images. The “images” are static textures in constant flux, combinations of looping, contrasting material in different instruments. Each “image” was paired with fixed shots of natural phenomena, such as wind, waves or clouds moving across the sky (reflected in the…Continue Reading “Crystal Images (Cardigan Bay, Summer 2015)- for 9 instruments and video projection”
I worked on Chen Yi’s choral works with students from the composition, piano and Chinese vocal departments. We all really enjoyed learning and performing these pieces.
I worked on the musical accompaniment for this Chinese language production of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis in Summer 2015. I composed some new music for ‘cello/multi-tracked ‘cello, as well as using some of my other pieces. I wrote the ‘cello pieces as canons, first recording a single voice and later overlaying copies of the same recording to…Continue Reading “Theatre Music for Sarah Kane 4.48 Psychosis 萨拉·凯恩：4.48精神崩溃配乐”
I wrote this piece for 13 performers (all Chinese instruments, including 2 percussionists playing Chinese percussion) for the TJCM 2015 May Music Festival. It was premiered by the Fan Yin Chinese instrument ensemble. The suona player plays from three different positions, at first from behind the audience, then in the middle of the audience, and…Continue Reading “Iceflow IV (2014) for Chinese instrument ensemble (13 players)”
AANMI premiered Dances in Time and Vertical Space in the concert hall of the Central Conservatory of Music on 25th May 2015, as part of the Beijing Modern Music Festival. This piece is a kind of baroque dance suite, with the different dances superimposed upon each other in different mensurations and, as the piece progresses,…Continue Reading “Dances in Time and Vertical Space (2014) for solo violin and six instruments”
For Eight Accordions, spatially arranged around the audience. I wrote this piece between Jan 2012 and March 2014, in honour of my friend Nicolai Leski’s two children, Vincenz and Greta. The players are ranged around the audience in 8 evenly distributed positions, the aim being that opposing performers can “transmit” the sound from one side…Continue Reading “Vincenz und Greta (2012-14) for 8 accordions”
My two guitar sonatas were both written for and dedicated to Sam Cave. Thanks to Sam, these two pieces have become my most often performed compositions! Sam is preparing a professional recording of both sonatas, which I eagerly await. In the meantime, I post here the videos of Sam’s earlier performances (from his visit to…Continue Reading “Guitar Sonatas 1&2”
Dedicated to my mother. Performance in Southampton, 2012.
This vocal work sets the poetry of Li Po (Li Bai) in Chinese. The world premiere performance from my “Music for Voices” composer portrait concert in Southampton in 2012, was sung by English performers, and I did my best to coach them in the mandarin pronunciation (although of course Li Po’s own pronunciation is nothing…Continue Reading “Brief Journey (2007) for soprano, alto, erhu (or violin) and piano”
This wonderful song cycle for soprano and chamber ensemble by the American composer Lawrence Moss sets Chinese poetry in English translation. http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDU1MzQ1Mg==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0
Setting of P.B. Shelley’s poem of the same name. During the first of my two years in Beijing (2012-3), I did not have many opportunities to make music. I was in the wilderness somewhat with my Chinese language learning. This was a welcome opportunity to perform my own music, although it was admittedly terrifying playing…Continue Reading “Mutability (2013) for solo soprano and piano”
Earthly Branches won a prize in the 2013 Beijing Modern Music Festival’s “Orchestral Composition Grand Prix” (I came third), and the piece was premiered in Beijing Concert Hall by Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Zhang Guoyong. I added the following text to the inside page of the score for Earthly Branches. This reflects how I felt…Continue Reading “Earthly Branches (2012-3) for large orchestra”
I wrote this piece in memory of Lydia Press. I wrote the texts of the three recitatives in the wake of Lydia’s passing away, and later chose the Cavafy and Shelley poems to accompany my own. Southampton University Strings premiered the work, and I later performed the version with double bass and piano at National…Continue Reading “A Spark Lights the Void Within (2009) for soprano and string orchestra (or piano and double bass)”
My programme note on this piece from 2012: Ondas (“Waves”) sets a love poem by Federico Garcia Lorca. I was interested in the image of the “concentric waves” which the speaker says are like the waves in his heart when his beloved speaks. I wrote a sort of circular melody (the same melody, in fact…Continue Reading “Ondas (2006-7) for solo soprano”
Bird Songs (2007-9) “Fifty-Nine Swans” (Yeats) “Black Rook in Rainy Weather” (Plath) “The Hierarchies of Sound” (Evans) I’ve uploaded 3 performances of my song cycle for mezzo and piano, “Bird Songs”. Each time working on this song cycle from scratch with a different singer was extraordinarily fun, and a tremendous challenge and learning experience. I…Continue Reading “Bird Songs (2007-9) song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano”
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDE1ODcwMA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0 Program Note i. Chanson ii. Epitaphium The “Two Pieces for Violin and Piano” are actually two sections that together form one complete piece. In the first, the piano plays a systematically accelerating and decelerating sequence of rhythms, presenting a sequence of pitches based around the interval of a minor sixth; the violin…Continue Reading “Two Pieces for Violin and Piano (2008/10)”
In my guise as tenor and opera performer, from 2010/2011:
I wrote this piece for the Lithuanian Oboe Quartet, with an offstage bassoon appearing late in the piece! It was premiered on the 20th May 2012 in Holy Trinity Church, Auletikos, Lithuania, as part of the Druskomanija international contemporary music fesitval. There is a version for four oboes and bassoon; this alternative version (and the…Continue Reading “Druskininkanonas (2011) for double reed quintet”
Meltwater (2009-2011) was written jointly for Finchley Chamber Choir and Finchley Chamber Orchestra, as part of the 2009-2010 Adopt a Composer scheme, with the world premiere in 2011. I began the piece during my exchange trip to National Taiwan University, Taipei, and finished it on my return to the UK, variously finishing sections…Continue Reading “Meltwater (2009-2011) for choir and orchestra”
I wrote this piece originally for the Southampton University Strings in 2007-8. I remember clearly finishing the manuscript at my parents’ house in Mwnt, Ceredigion, at around 10pm on New Year’s Eve of 2007. The name comes from an Ambrosian plainsong, “media vita in morte sumus”, “in the midst of life we are in…Continue Reading “Media Vita (2007-8) for string orchestra”
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDQ0MDcwNA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0 University of Southampton “New Works Festival” 2010, University of Southampton Contemporary Music Group, cond. George Holloway. This piece formed the basis for my expansion and re-imagining of Iceflow IV.
Originalmelodie reflects upon lyricism in music, and upon the boundary between independent melodic line/contrapuntal ‘voice’ and figuration/accompaniment. It is also a tapestry of reminiscences, visiting Gustav Mahler, Charles Ives, Kaikhosru Sorabji, Ferruccio Busoni, traditional Taiwanese song, Jean Barraqué, Brian Ferneyhough and Felix Mendelssohn; only the last of these is quoted directly, whose Songs without Words were first published in London as Original Melodies for…Continue Reading “Originalemelodie (2010) for solo piano”
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie, eleison. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Christe, eleison. Christe, eleison. Christe, eleison. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. LORY be to God on high. And in earth peace towards men of good will….Continue Reading “Mass of St Michael (2010) SATB, organ and cello”
Premiere performance of the version for piano quartet: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDAzOTczMg==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0 A later, distinctive interpretation from the U.S.A.: International Composers’ Collective, U.S.A. branch, Cleveland, Ohio 2011 《开明的演说》（2007/2009）- 国际作曲家协会美国分部
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDA2MjA3Ng==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0 Premiered by Richard Jones at the Composer Portrait Concert, Turner Sims concert hall, Southampton 2012.
Oxonia, performed by Music Visualisation Laboratory, Profsajungu Rumai, Vilnius, Lithuania, 18th September 2009, as part of the Vilnius European City of Culture 2009. http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzE2NDE2Nzc0MA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0
Jayne and Starry Night Barcarole, Ad Animam, Standing Stones, Il Ritorno, Aulodia Pic., Three Portraits, Boron Orb,