Soundings is a unique platform for contemporary music, founded by the Austrian Cultural Forum in 2004, to promote creative exchange between young composers and musicians from Austria and the UK. It provides composers and musicians with a unique opportunity to get to know each other and each other’s work.

This concert will mark Kurt Schwertsik’s 70th birthday with a performance of his Twilight Music - a Celtic Serenade and perform works by Joe Cutler and David Horne, British composers who have been involved with Soundings over the last two years.

The evening will end with a performance of Kurt Schwertsik’s Seven Viennese songs after poems by H.C. Artmann, which he set to music in 1969 and dedicated to his wife. We are very honoured and thrilled that the songs will be performed for us by the composer and the dedicatee Kurt and Christa Schwertsik.
Born in Vienna in 1935, Kurt Schwertsik studied composition with Joseph Marx, Karl Schiske and horn with Gottfried Freiberg at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He continued his studies in Darmstadt and in Cologne with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel and John Cage. His career as a hornplayer started with an engagement at the Tonkuenstler Orchestra of Lower Austria from 1962–1968, later on at the Wiener Symphoniker from 1968–1989. Together with the composer Friedrich Cerha he founded the Viennese Ensemble for New Music, “die reihe” in 1958. Ten years later, in 1968, Otto M. Zykan, Heinz Karl Gruber and Schwertsik founded the Ensemble “MOB art & tone ART“ (Schwertsik wrote the Symphony in the MOB-stile op. 19). In 1966 he was invited by the University of California in Riverside as guest-professor in composition and analysis and continued this work at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna from 1979-1988. From 1989 till his retirement in 2003 he taught composition at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He lives and works in Vienna.

It is impossible to pigeon-hole his work, but there is no doubt that Kurt Schwertsik is one of Austria’s most outstanding composers, and he is also highly regarded for his role in demonstrating new aspects of modern music in a traditional music setting.

'Schwertsik’s music is homespun, witty, nostalgic, vegetarian, politically liberal, intelligent, anti-authoritarian, widely-read, and deeply in love with tradition." Financial Times


BMIC's The Cutting Edge Series

2005 will be the 7th season of BMIC’s the cutting edge series. 15 concerts, held weekly throughout the autumn at the Warehouse in Waterloo, provide a rich line up of commissions, contemporary classics and music from the best of Britain’s younger generation. Performers include outstanding soloists and ensembles from recent series as well as new performers. the cutting edge is a must for anyone looking to discover a new world of sound!