2015 RPS Composition Prize Winner
Commission: chamber work for the Presteigne Festival 2016
(RPS / Presteigne Festival Alan Horne Memorial)
Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade is a British musician active in London, Berlin and the east coast of the United States. She is currently studying for a Ph.D. in Music Composition at Princeton University, generously supported by the William Alexander Fleet Fellowship.
Ninfea completed an undergraduate degree in Music at Magdalen College, Oxford. There she wrote music for theatre and experimented with electroacoustic composition, premiering her composition Picasso’s Harlequin for cello and tape at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building in 2010. On leaving Oxford, she undertook postgraduate study in cello performance at the Royal Academy of Music, London. During the course of her MMus degree, she performed with the Manson Ensemble and collaborated with a number of student composers. In 2012 she designed the concert programme Playing with Rituals for the Academy’s research department. Her project sought to explore the implications of concert hall rituals, bringing together a mixture of solo cello and electroacoustic works by Jonathan Harvey, Benjamin Britten and Kaija Saariaho. To this programme Ninfea added her own electroacoustic composition Adjusted in the Tomb, an evocation of the poem I died for Beauty by Emily Dickinson.
Ninfea began doctoral studies at Princeton University in 2013. Since moving to the United States she has written music for an array of ensembles and solo artists, as well as performing her own works and new compositions by other composers. In 2014 the JACK Quartet premiered her composition ‘Ich ewiges Kind’, a work inspired by the life of the fin-de-siècle Austrian artist, Egon Schiele. Hatters, performed by Sō Percussion in 2015, brought the clamour of non-pitched instruments to the stage in order to evoke the bustle of nineteenth-century hat factories and the poignant reality of their dangerous working conditions.
Ninfea’s doctoral research is focused on decadence and the Establishment in the 1890s. She is currently working on a chamber opera based on the life of the Art Nouveau illustrator, Aubrey Beardsley. She is thrilled to have been awarded one of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Composer commissions and looks forward to writing a new work for the Presteigne Festival in 2016.
Mark Pemberton, Director, ABO: Membership of the RPS is invaluable in ensuring I tune into wider thinking on the state of classical music in the UK today.
DID YOU KNOW?
1830: Midsummer Night’s Dream is ‘very beautiful, and encored, but it is awfully, fearfully difficult, so much so that last Saturday morning Mendelssohn was SEVEN hours rehearsing.’