News

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Excelsus receives a 5***** review in BBC Music Magazine

BBC Music Magazine has given Excelsus a glowing review: 'This seven-movement solo cello suite from 2002 takes its inspiration from the Requiem Mass. Frances-Hoad and Carroll were Menuhin School students together - and their connection shows. This is beautiful, uncompromising and heartfelt music performed by a cellist at the top of his game.' 

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Excelsus trailer

Watch a short film about Excelsus, Cheryl's solo cello suite, here. The EP can be purchased on the Orchid Classics website. 

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Excelsus for solo cello available for download

Cheryl's new EP is now available to download. Released on the Orchid Classics label, Excelsus is a fifteen minute work for solo cello. Commissioned by Thomas Carroll in 2002, this recording has been a long time in the making! A performance of the opening movement was featured as 'video of the day' on the Gramophone Magazine website on the 6th May, the EP's release date. Watch the video here, and purchase the EP here (also available on Apple Music). 

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A new cello concerto for Laura van der Heijden and the BBCSSO

Cheryl is delighted to be writing a new cello concerto for Laura van der Heijden and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The new work will be premiered on the 18th May 2023 in Glasgow, and be conducted by the orchestra's new Chief Conductor, Ryan Wigglesworth. Read more here

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New commission for the Platinum Jubilee Prom

Cheryl is over the moon to have received a commission from the BBC Proms for a new work to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. The new work, entitled Your Servant, Elizabeth, will be premiered on the 22nd July by the BBC Singers and the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Bramwell Tovey. Read more about the commission here

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The Jukebox Album, featuring Cheryl's Bloom for violin and piano, wins the 2022 BBC Music Magazine Premiere Recording Prize!

Cheryl was delighted to be asked to write a piece for Elena Urioste and Tom Poster during the lockdown for their Jukebox project. Tom and Elena went on to record many of the pieces that they broadcast online during this period, and the resulting album has gone on to win the BBC Music Magazine Premiere award! You can buy the album here: congratulations to all involved! 

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Richard Morrison picks everything grows extravagantly as one of 2021's classical music highlights

Richard Morrison has picked the premiere of everything grows extravagantly at the 2021 Oxford Lieder Festival as one of his five classical music and opera highlights of 2021: "beautiful, profound and subtle song cycle from Cheryl Frances-Hoad and the poet Kate Wakeling celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Oxford Botanic Garden, superbly premiered by Marcus Farnsworth and Libby Burgess." He gave the cycle a 5***** review earlier in the year, which you can read here

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Cheryl presents an episode of BBC Radio 3's Inside Music

Cheryl presents an episode of Inside Music on the 28th February. Listen to the show live at 1pm, or on BBC Sounds for up to 30 days after the broadcast. 

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Thinking I hear thee call shortlisted for an Ivors Composer Award

Thinking I hear thee call, Cheryl's work for soprano, speaker and electronics, has been nominated for an Ivor's Composer Award. The work, commissioned by Electric Voice Theatre and premiered on Zoom during the lockdown, is inspired by the life of Florence Attridge, an Essex woman who, whilst working at the Marconi factory in Chelmsford during WWII, helped to make secret radio sets for spys. You can watch a film of the work here

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Scenes from the Wild receives excellent reviews 

Cheryl's 80 minute song cycle for tenor and chamber orchestra based on Dara McAnulty's Diary of a Young Naturalist has received excellent reviews in the press. The work was commissioned by City of London Sinfonia for its 50th Anniversary and was premiered in Southwark Cathedral on 25th November with tenor William Morgan and conductor Geoffrey Patterson. McAnulty's book was adapted into a 27 song cycle by the librettist Amanda Holden, who very sadly passed away before the premiere.

The Guardian described Scenes from the Wild as "a captivating work, marrying insightful words to gently powerful music." Claire Seymour in Opera Today writes "The truly remarkable aspect of Frances-Hoad’s score is its integration of inner and outer.  It’s not so much that the music paints the words’ images in a literal sense, though it does do that with delicate suggestion and gentle humour, rather that she somehow finds just the right musical colour, weight, timbre, movement and shape to evoke not just ‘things’ but ‘phenomena’ and ‘abstractions’ too.  And, in so doing, as she recreates Dara’s close communion with trees, insects and birds, Frances-Hoad not only communicates his total immersion in nature – the sounds seem fused with Morgan’s own ‘self’ – but her music also makes us feel the joy and pain of his experience."

Planet Hugill described the cycle as a "tremendous achievement" and states that "The sheer luxuriance of Frances-Hoad's imagination is almost overwhelming". You can read the full reviews by clicking the links in this news article. 

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Lovely review of Invocation on the Arcana website

Cheryl's work was performed as part of A Century of Music by British Women at St John's Smith Square, a concert for International Women's Day organised by Madeleine Mitchell. Ben Hogwood writes: "Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s Invocation for cello and piano followed, a late teenage piece offering an immediate chance to appreciate the probing line given to Joseph Spooner’s fulsome cello. As the composer’s response to Edvard Munch’s painting Melanchola reached its apex there were clangorous chords from Rahman, capping a compact but powerful utterance." Read the whole review here

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Fabulous review of My Fleeting Angel in the Hudson Review

The wonderful Merz Piano Trio recently performed Cheryl's 2005 piano trio, and the Hudson Review liked it a lot! 

"...Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s My Fleeting Angel, a short trio in three movements based on the short story by Sylvia Plath, The Wishing Box. I appreciated, however, the choice of the trio not to reveal the Frances-Hoad’s literary program until after the performance; there was for me so much rich musical material to take in and appreciate without also being prompted to attend to extramusical considerations. Just nine minutes in length, My Fleeting Angel is a gem testifying to the expert craftsmanship, deep literacy, and keenness of invention of its composer. Every motive, texture, and timbre must have been painstakingly considered and crafted, so tightly coherent was the piece in form. Another listener put it well: one Michael Friedmann (who I infer is Prof. Michael Friedmann of Yale University), wrote in the live chat, “Hoad’s piece is so effective. Same material for all sections, but truly reinterpreted rather than didactically rehashed.” Yet the piece always felt organic and lyrical, never turgidly contrived. And like reading the poems of a well-read poet who lightly and delightfully alludes to her literary influences, I could tell Frances-Hoad had been “reading” Shostakovich, Ravel, Brahms—never merely copying, but borrowing techniques used in novel applications."

You can read the full review here.

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Visiting Research Fellow in the Creative Arts at Merton College Oxford

Cheryl is delighted to be the Visiting Research Fellow in the Creative Arts at Merton College Oxford in 2021. During her fellowship she will write a large scale song cycle for tenor and chamber orchestra, a song cycle for the Oxford Lieder Festival, and a new piece for the college choir. She will also involve fellows, staff and students in creative projects during the year.

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New film of Thinking I Hear Thee Call for soprano, speaker and electronics 

Thinking I Hear Thee Call was commissioned by Electric Voice Theatre for their Echoes from Essex series. The work is inspired by the life of Florence Attridge, an Essex woman who, whilst working at the Marconi factory in Chelmsford during WWII, helped to make secret radio sets for spys. In this piece for soprano, speaker and electronics, we hear Florence recount her experiences, whilst, in another, secret location, in another time, a spy goes through the radio's (complicated!) set up instructions one last time before going on their first reconnaissance 

mission. The electronic element takes sounds that are associated with Florence's life and the history of Marconi, including morse code and the Absent, the first song to be broadcast from the factory. The text for Florence's part was written by Frances M Lynch and Patricia Fara, and the speakers text comes from the official manual for the The British Type 3 Mark II Spy Radio.

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Cheryl's music featured in the London Sinfonietta's World Premiere Wednesday series.

Jonathan Morton performed the first movement of Cheryl's Suite No. 1 for solo violin during a recent online concert by the London Sinfonietta (Cheryl's work is performed at 39 minutes in).

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New aria for the National Opera Studio

Cheryls new aria for the National Opera Studio (written in collaboration with librettist Jeanne Pansard-Besson) is now available online. Asphodel is based on Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad and is performed by Samantha Oxborough and Juliane Gallant. Film by Alisdair Kitchen.

The Whole Earth Dances

The Whole Earth Dances receives some excellent reviews!

Cheryl's latest CD has received some great reviews from BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone Magazine, Musical Opinion, Planet Hugill, Sonograma Magazine (Spain), The Wholenote Magazine and Gscene Magazine. Click on the titles to read the full reviews!

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Bogoród̃itse D̃évo, Ráduys̃i︠a︡ is nominated for an Ivors Composer Award

Cheryl is delighted that Bogoród̃itse D̃évo, Ráduys̃i︠a︡ is nominated for an Ivors Composer Award in the Choral category. The work was commissioned by Sonoro for their Choral Inspirations project.

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Cheryl writes new choral work with Simon Armitage

A brand new commission project from the Huddersfield Choral Society in collaboration with poet Simon Armitage and composers Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Daniel Kidane. The online premiere took place on 28th November: you can watch it here

The Whole Earth Dances

The Whole Earth Dances released

Cheryl's final CD with Champs Hill Records has been released! This diverse collection of chamber works showcases Frances-Hoad’s originality and artistry, featuring everything from The Prophecy, her first professional commission, to The Whole Earth Dances, The Schubert Ensemble’s final commission before they disbanded in 2018. Buy the disc here!

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Watch a performance of 'Bloom', commissioned by Elena Urioste and Tom Poster for their #UriPosteJukebox

Cheryl was thrilled to be asked to write a new piece for Elena and Tom to perform as part of #UriPostJukebox - a fabulous series of performances they have been streaming since the lockdown begun. Visit Youtube to watch the performance, and to read about the inspiration behind the piece. 

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Even You Song  tour culminates with the London Premiere by the London Oriana Choir, 29th November 2019


Even You Song is an immersive work by Bettina Furnée and Lucy Sheerman, with new writing and digital projections, set to music by Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

Candid responses from a series of interviews with twelve couples about a potential trip to the moon form the basis of a libretto to the format of Choral Evensong.

The work has been performed in Kings Lynn, Kingston (Cambs.) and Cambridge this year to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. Catch the last performance at St. James's Piccadilly by the London Oriana Choir on the 29th November at 7pm. 

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Between the Skies, the River and the Hills released on the Rubicon label. 

Cheryl is delighted that her concerto for piano and orchestra, Between the Skies, the River and the Hills, has been released on the Rubicon label. The concerto was written especially for Ivana Gavric and was premiered at St. John's Waterloo in June 2018 with the Southbank Sinfonia conducted by Karin Hendrickson.


The CD also features Haydn's Piano Concerto in D major, and Cheryl's arrangement of Kad ja podjoh na Bentbasu, a folk song from Sarajevo. 

The disc can be purchased on the Rubicon website

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Associate Composer at Oxford Lieder

Cheryl is very excited to be Associate Composer at the Oxford Lieder Festival this year. Much of her existing song repertoire will be performed during the festival, and she will write two new works: a song for contralto and piano, and a song cycle for soprano and string quartet. Watch this space and check the Oxford Lieder Festival website for more info!

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Composer in Residence at the Presteigne Festival

Cheryl is really looking forward to the 2019 Presteigne Festival where she is Composer in Residence this year alongside American composer Hannah Lash. Her new clarinet quintet (a Presteigne Festival Commission), Tales of the Invisible, will be premiered during the festival by Rozenne Le Trionnaire and the Albion Quartet, alongside many of her existing works including Katharsis, Homages Book 1, Cloud Movements and The Ogre Lover. She is delighted that her clarinet quintet is going to be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for later broadcast. Visit the Presteigne Festival website for more information and to book tickets!