Over the past 8 years, Gabriel has developed a particular fascination with the concerto form and how the medium allows him to explore different connections and dialogues between the soloist and the orchestra. Not only does the soloist hold a strong communicative power with the audience, its interaction with the orchestra makes a fascinating parallel between the individual and society, or the individual in a landscape; with each instrument bringing a unique and authentic adventure to it.
The beginnings of this project first came about when Gabriel met the Ural Philharmonic in October 2017, when they performed his Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra with Mr. Switch. Both Gabriel and Mr. Switch thought it was one of the best performances they’d ever experienced of the work, particularly because of the orchestra’s innate musicality and fine attention to detail. The opportunity to record several works with the orchestra seemed the perfect opportunity to document his interest in the concerto form, recording four of his concertos that showcase different aspects of his compositional process – from the lyricism of his saxophone and cello concertos to the more unconventional processes and instrumentation of his bass drum and turntable concertos.
The recording took place in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, in August 2018 and was produced by Grammy winning classical producer Jakob Händel. Throughout the week, there was a very focused, ‘live’ atmosphere throughout. Between sessions, players and soloists enjoyed socialising with each other – eating together, even drinking vodka and exploring the more ‘authentic’ Russia that can be found in the Ural region – and it is this communicative yet focused atmosphere, coupled with the dedication and talent of the players that has created a dynamic, uniquely energised set of recordings. The Saxophone Concerto & Bass Drum Concerto will be released on Signum Records on 27th September.
Gabriel Prokofiev has built up a large body of orchestral and chamber works and has composed seven concertos (three featuring turntables), as well as many electronic works, often combining synthesisers and samples with classical instrumentation. His works have been performed internationally by orchestras including Seattle Symphony, Detroit Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Moscow State Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, MDR Leipzig, Copenhagen Phil, Luxembourg Philharmonique, Buenos Aires Filharmonica, Porto Symphony and Real Orquesta de Sevilla. Also, he frequently collaborates with contemporary dancers and has worked with companies including Stuttgarter Ballet, Rambert Dance, Bern Ballet, Shobana Jeyasingh, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Alexander Whitley Dance and Gandini Juggling. In 2019, his first full-length opera Elizabetta was premiered by Regensburg Opera in Bavaria.
His music has been performed at classic locations such as the Royal Albert Hall, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and Luxembourg Philharmonic Hall, as well as in non-traditional venues, such as East London nightclubs, warehouses and electronic music festivals, where Gabriel often DJs and performs live remixes of the works just performed.
One of Britain’s most diverse percussionists, Joby Burgess is best known for his virtuosic, often lissom performances, daring collaborations, extensive education work, and regularly appears throughout Europe, the USA and beyond. Joby commits much of his time to his own projects, most notably with the audio visual collective Powerplant – a collaboration with sound designer, Matthew Fairclough and visual artist, Kathy Hinde – where the worlds of minimalism and electronica collide. Powerplant has released albums on Signum and nonclassical featuring music by Steve Reich, Gabriel Prokofiev, Graham Fitkin and Max de Wardener. Joby performs, records and collaborates with artists including Peter Gabriel, Will Gregory (Goldfrapp), Dario Marianelli, Max Richter, Sasha and Eric Whitacre. Joby can often be heard on major film and TV scores, notably leading the percussion on Black Panther, The Darkest Hour, The Last Kingdom and was featured on the score to Alex Garland’s Ex Machina. His extensive collection of instruments is featured exclusively on Spitfire Audio’s Percussion Redux, recorded at the world famous Air Lyndhurst Hall, London.
Christian Forshaw's distinctive sound, coupled with his thoughtful compositions and arrangements have connected powerfully with listeners across the world. In 2017 and 2018 he played televised solos with the Britten Sinfonia at the BBC Proms in Passages by Philip Glass & Ravi Shankar, and the Tango Prom with Pablo Zielger. He has performed with orchestras including the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Philharmonia, RPO. LPO, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and with smaller ensembles including the Michael Nyman Band, Moondog, the Graham Fitkin Group, Delta Saxophone Quartet & Icebreaker. He is a professor of saxophone at the Guildhall School in London.
Maksim Štšura is an Estonian pianist and music scholar based in London. He performs extensively as soloist and chamber musician in the prestigious concert halls across the United Kingdom, including St Martin-in-the-Fields, Purcell Room and the Wigmore Hall. He received his Master of Music degree from the Royal College of Music in 2013, studying under Gordon Fergus-Thompson and has also completed the prestigious Artist Diploma course with him in 2014. Maksim was a Mills Williams Junior Fellow for 2013-14. In 2014 Maksim started his Doctoral course at the RCM, supported by a Leverhulme Postgraduate Studentship and Mr Nigel Woolner MBE. His research is focused on the piano transcriptions of the contemporary orchestral scores.