Works Chosen for the 2024 ISCM World New Music Days

A photograph of composer Zoe Martlew performing with her cello. Her head is thrown back and she is smiling.
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The organisers of the 2024 ISCM World New Music Days have released the selection of works which will be performed during this year’s festival.

We are very pleased to announce that Zoë Martlew has been selected from the ISCM British Section shortlist to represent Britain at the festival. This year it takes place in the Faroe Islands from 22 to 30 June 2024. Zoë will perform her piece at the festival along with a programme of other electro-acoustic works for cello.

The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) is an international network of members from around fifty countries, devoted to the promotion and presentation of new and contemporary music. Sound and Music represents the British Section of the ISCM and supports British composers to have work performed at the annual ISCM World Music Days Festival.

You can read about the full list of selected works on the the ISCM website here.

On being selected by the international jury, Zoë told Sound and Music:

“I am thrilled and honoured to absolute bits and pieces to have my piece G-lude selected to represent Britain at this year’s festival in the Faroe Islands. For solo cello and electronics, this is a piece that emerged from deepest lockdown at a time when the music profession was decimated, when I personally didn’t want to play, write or even listen to any music. This is the cathartic howl that exploded from the silence, trying to make sense of it all.”


Zoë describes her selected work, G-lude, below:

Popping out of nowhere at the end of the first pandemic year, a timely Spitalfields Festival Bach Rework’d project forced me to get the cello out of the case for the first time in 14 months, and learn to play again from (literal) scratch. Being the first cello Bach I ever had a go at as a kid, the iconic G major Prelude felt like the logical piece to pair with a compositional reaction while in this beginner frame of mind. 


A somewhat raucous rock-up, G-lude (no prizes for guessing title derivation) clearly releases some pent up lockdown physicality, celebrating the rough edges with wild scrapes, screeches, thwacks and gasps, while ghosting the harmonic architecture of J.S.’s original. 


The delicate string resonance that spins its magic throughout the cello suites is here blown up in sequences of overtone clouds, driven over the edge with amplification and distortion, finally exhausting itself and coming to rest within the deep stillness of the Prelude’s opening chord sequence, outlined in delicate harmonics. 


A metaphor for discovering inner peace in turbulent times.

Learn more about Zoë on her website

Find out more about Sound and Music and the ISCM British Section here, including previous winners and shortlists.


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