The members of Fontanella are actively engaged in commissioning and developing new and exciting music for recorder quintet. The ensemble is committed to encouraging contemporary composers to explore the sound possibilities of recorders, and the results to date have given a truly kaleidoscopic range of approach. Since 2003 the group has regularly performed music written especially for them, most notably at the Brighton Early Music Festival, Woodhouse Recorder Week, Ardingly Arts Festival, Binham Priory and Skálholt Summer Concerts in Iceland. Recent commissions include Tim Coker’s Wild Wood for Paetzold basses and Taiga by Tomi Raisanen.

Composers who have written for Fontanella

Tomi Räisänen, b 1976

The Finnish composer Tomi Räisänen studied composition at the Sibelius Academy. Before entering the Academy he read music at the University of Helsinki studying musicology and composition. Räisänen completed his studies by participating in several international composition masterclasses, seminars and workshops. Since early 2000’s Räisänen’s list of works has rapidly grown and contains compositions from solo pieces to chamber and choral music, and includes orchestral pieces and concertos. Räisänen’s music has been widely performed and broadcast in more than 40 countries across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia. In year 2007 Räisänen won the Irino Prize in Japan with his work “Stheno”. In year 2002 he was awarded with the 2nd prize in the international composition competition “2 Agosto” in Italy. He has also gained success in other composition competitions in Finland and Australia.

Tim Coker, b 1970

Tim Coker was born in Walsall, West Midlands. He is published by Edition HH. His recent music theatre work Walking not Driving won critical acclaim during this summer’s UK tour performed by The Opera Group. Other recent works include a series of pieces for period instrument ensemble Passacaglia with virtuoso recorder player Dan Laurin. His choral work My Soul There is a Countrie commissioned by Finchley Chamber Choir featured on LWT’s Artworks programme. He has recently completed a large-scale music theatre piece based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest combining live and recorded sound.

Tim Coker photo

Tim read Music at the Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied composition with John Joubert. After graduating with First Class Honours, he began post-graduate studies at Manchester University with John Casken, where he was awarded a Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Scholarship. He later studied with John Woolrich and Simon Holt at Royal Holloway, University of London and has recently completed his doctorate entitled Dramma Per Musica – Towards a New Music-Theatre.

Tim’s piece The Leaves be Green written for Fontanella has been published by Peacock Press. The work is based on the old English song of the same name and has been performed successfully by Fontanella all over the UK, and in Iceland.

Pete McGarr, b 1953

Peter McGarr photo

Peter McGarr has had performances and commissions from many leading orchestras and ensembles: London Sinfonietta, BBC Philharmonic, Ensemble Bash, Brodsky Quartet, Black Dyke Band and the Huddersfield, Bath and Spitalfields Festivals.

In 2000 he received a BBC Proms commission to feature Joanna McGregor, Ensemble Bash and the New Century Strings for a piece to be performed at the Royal Albert Hall. Peter McGarr was born in Manchester and studied music and dance at Mather College. He is self-taught in composition. For several years he taught steel pan, achieving the ‘Outstanding Performance Award’ for his work in this field. He was nominated as Music Teacher of the Year and also presented with the George Butterworth Award for contemporary music from the Society for the Promotion of New Music.

Peter’s association with Fontanella grew from pieces he had written for the ensemble Passacaglia, featuring Fontanella members Louise Bradbury and Annabel Knight. His work for Fontanella, Urban Love Songs, has been one of the ensembles most talked about new pieces and was first performed at the Woodhouse Recorder Week in 2004. Hear it on the Audio Clips page.

For further information about Peter or his music see his website.

Julian Argüelles, b1966

Julian is one of the most creative and original performer-composers on the British jazz scene. Formerly a member of the much acclaimed band Loose Tubes he is currently a member of Django Bates’ Delightful Precipice. The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, The Mike Gibbs Orchestra, The Very Big Carla Bley Band and bands led by Mario Iaginha, Colin Towns and his brother Steve.

Julian’s main interest continues to be writing and performing with his own band, the Julian Arguelles Quartet, with who he has recorded two discs. In addition to this recent collaboration with Fontanella Julian has also received commissions from the Apollo Saxophone Quartet and BBC Radio. In 1999 he was the recipient of the Jazz Composer’s Alliance Composition Award from the USA.

Julian’s piece for Recorder Quintet, Cantilena, was premiered at Woodhouse Recorder Week in 2005.

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson (b.1949) studied at York University and Mills College, Oakland California. He has held posts as Composer in Residence at Newcastle University, Fellow in Music at Bradford University, and Lecturer in Music at Salford University.

Among his concert piece commissions are works for the Northern Sinfonia and Chorus, Scottish Ballet, The London Schools Symphony Orchestra and Peter Lawson. He was a prizewinner in the first Hillard Ensemble Composition Award. His work Incantation was recorded by the Hilliard Ensemble for ECM New Series. In 1998 he was invited by the Hilliard Ensemble to be the Composer in Residence at their Summerschool, in Cambridge. He was also a prizewinner for his piano duo Eris premiered by the Tong-Wasegawa duo. His Chamber Concerto was one of 6 shortlisted works for the Luxembourg Sinfonietta International Composition Prize for May 2003 and won the special prize.

Paul’s piece for Fontanella, Leaving Tarturus (2004) was commissioned by the Brighton Early Music Festival through New Music Brighton. The work was written to be performed by Fontanella, joined by a recorder ensemble of local young players.