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VAGANZA: The University of Manchester’s New Music Ensemble

VAGANZA: The University of Manchester’s New Music Ensemble


Vaganza is the University of Manchester’s new music ensemble: a platform for performers and composers to showcase new works by undergraduate and postgraduate composers within the university alongside a wide and eclectic range of ‘classics’ by the leading composers of our times. Every year we present an ambitious mix of concerts, consisting of performances, workshops and discussions dedicated to central themes relating to the music of our times. Highlights over recent years have included performances of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kreuzspiel, Harrison Birtwistle’s Silbury Air, Per Nørgård’s Night-Symphonies, Day Breaks, Helmut Lachenmann’s Notturno, plus the first performance for thirty years of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Ecce Manus Tradentis.
Vaganza frequently collaborates with the Royal Northern College of Music, often performing jointly with the RNCM’s New Ensemble. Vaganza has been invited by the RNCM to perform in festivals celebrating the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alexander Goehr and Judith Weir, in addition to two festivals celebrating new music in the North West: Sonic Skylines (2008) and New Music North West (2009). Vaganza has performed twice at the York Spring Festival, organised by the University of York, and in November 2010 embarked on a partnership with Psappha, jointly performing with them Birtwistle’s Secret Theatre.
Vaganza's name is a homage and pays tribute to composer and Emeritus Professor of Music John Casken, and you can click here to hear Vaganza performing Casken’s Vaganza in January 2008.

“My time at Manchester University has been completely brilliant! Contemporary music is just one example of how the department has evolved my musical life. I remember being petrified in my first term playing Kevin [Malone]'s American Terpsichore and John McCabe's Rainforest but soon realising that anything was possible! It was a privilege to perform for Peter Maxwell-Davies, John McCabe and Judith Weir to name a few and working towards performances together with the composer is something that I have grown to thoroughly enjoy.”
– Michael Jones, a violinist who graduated in 2011, and went onto postgraduate study at the RNCM.

For more information please contact Dr. Richard Whalley