Arts Alive, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Craftspace
Arts Alive is the rural touring scheme for Shropshire and Herefordshire. In partnership with local volunteer promoters Arts Alive and Flicks in the Sticks organise over 120 live professional performances of a wide range of art forms and over 700 big screen films a year. Arts Alive works in any local venue: village halls, community centres, churches and outdoors.
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group celebrated its 25th anniversary season in 2012/13. Emerging from within the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BCMG quickly established a reputation for exciting performances, innovative audience-building and learning initiatives, and a central commitment to composers and the presentation of new work. The Group has premiered over 150 works, most commissioned through its pioneering Sound Investment scheme, with a family of Investors supporting each new piece. In addition, BCMG’s extensive Learning and Participation programme support young people as composers, performers and listeners of new music through an exciting ranges of projects in and out of school, and at CBSO Centre, Birmingham.
BCMG projects in 2012 included the European premiere of Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest conducted by Thomas Adès, the premiere of Simon Bainbridge’s The Garden of Earthly Delights at the BBC Proms, and a tour to the Alicante Festival in Spain conducted by Oliver Knussen. 2013 has included George Benjamin’s opera Into the Little Hill conducted by the composer in Birmingham and London, premieres by Elliott Carter and Magnus Lindberg at the Aldeburgh Festival, and of David Sawer’s The Lighthouse Keepers at the Cheltenham Music Festival.
Projects in 2014 include a residency at Washington DC’s Library of Congress with Oliver Knussen, the premiere of David Lang’s Crowd Out for 1,000 voices at Millennium Point, Birmingham, concerts celebrating the 80th birthday year of Harrison Birtwistle in Birmingham, and London and the London premiere of Elliott Carter’s final work at the Wigmore Hall.
BCMG features on numerous CD recordings, including an ongoing series of NMC discs devoted to British composers, with recent releases of music by Oliver Knussen, Tansy Davies, Alexander Goehr and Richard Causton. The Group has two Artists-in-Association, Oliver Knussen and John Woolrich, and Sir Simon Rattle is the Group’s Founding Patron.
Craftspace is an award winning craft development organisation working to increase opportunities for makers, as well as access to and participation in contemporary crafts for all audiences. Our programme is devised to stimulate artistic excellence, curiosity and understanding of contemporary crafts in diverse social and cultural contexts and across ages. We do this through different scales of touring exhibitions or creative intervention, socially engaged participatory projects, action research and consultancy.
In 2012 Craftspace and its corporate partner VSM UK Ltd were the overall winner of the Arts & Business category of Business in the Community’s Awards for Excellence.