Contemporary music

During my time in The Swingles I performed a lot of music by modern composers – new commissions as well as works by Luciano Berio, including two productions (at La Scala and Le Chatelet) of his opera “Outis”. Contemporary music has continued to form a large part of my work as a performer, my repertoire now including works by Steve Reich (eg Tehillim, Three Tales, Music for 18 Musicians, The Cave, Desert Music), John Adams (Grand Pianola Music), Stockhausen (Stimmung) and Luciano Berio (SinfoniaA-Ronne, Outis). To mark the 80th birthday of my father, Sebastian Forbes, I performed his Four Psalmsa very demanding piece for solo soprano and organ in the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music.

The contemporary piece I’ve performed more than any other is Berio’s iconic orchestral masterpiece, Sinfonia (1968). I first encountered it as a set work for my music A’level and have since performed it over 60 times with orchestras around the world. (see list below). Berio scored it for orchestra and 8 amplified solo voices and its premiere was given by The Swingles and the New York Philharmonic. I’ve performed all four of the female vocal lines and had the privilege, in 2000, of performing it with Maestro Berio himself conducting.

Two CD recordings of Berio’s Sinfonia:

1) with The Swingles and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic conducted by Peter Eotvos (with videos created by Jaap Drupsteen – see below)
2) with Synergy Vocals and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Josep Pons, which won a BBC Music Magazine Award in 2017.

sinfonia1 from Jaap Drupsteen on Vimeo.

sinfonia 2 from Jaap Drupsteen on Vimeo.

sinfonia 3 from Jaap Drupsteen on Vimeo.

sinfonia 4 from Jaap Drupsteen on Vimeo.

Log of orchestras and conductors with whom I’ve performed Berio’s Sinfonia:

ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop
Yale University Symphony conducted by William Boughton
The BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Semyon Bychkov LISTEN TO RADIO INTERVIEW
Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Harding WATCH ON YOUTUBE
The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra Filarmonica della Fenice, conducted by Nicola Marasco
The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Otto Tausk
The European Union Youth Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko
Wroclaw Philharmonic Symphony, conducted by Ed Spajnaard
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov
Orchestre Nationale de Lille, conducted by Matthias Bamert
BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Josep Pons
Koninklyk Conservatorium and Codarts Orchestra, conducted by Etienne Sieben
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, conducted by Semyon Bychkov
Orchestra Nacional de Espana, conducted by Josep Pons
Orchestre National de France, conducted by Lugo Metzmacher
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste
Orquesta Sinfonica de Estada, conducted by Lothar Koenigs
Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, conducted by Carlo Tenan
Orchestra Accademia di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung
NDR Sinfonie Orchestra, conducted by Marcus Stenz
Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, conducted by Luciano Berio
Filharmonikusok Orchestra, conducted by Peter Eotvos
Tonhalle Orchestra, conducted by David Zinman
Estonia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Paul Magi
American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein
Netherlands Radio Orchestra, conducted by Peter Eotvos
Prague Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Tamayo