We’re delighted that Rebecca Saunders’ piece for soprano and ensemble, Skin, has won this year’s RPS Award in the Chamber-Scale category.
The RPS panel said of the work: With each piece this composer enters genuinely new territory, here creating an intensely dramatic work for the soprano, Juliet Fraser, and ensemble which demands the listener's engagement. Taking its cue from lines of Samuel Beckett, Rebecca Saunders' Skin makes for an exhausting and at times disturbing ride. It shows Saunders at the height of her powers, displaying an ability to hear and reproduce astonishing sounds with an artistry and technique which leave us gasping in admiration.
The award is Saunders' third from the Royal Philharmonic Society (following Stirrings Still in 2008 and Fletch in 2013), making her the Awards most decorated female composer.
Skin was premiered in October 2016 at Donaueschinger Musiktage by Juliet Fraser and Klangforum Wien conducted by Titus Engel, before receiving its UK premiere at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the same year, conducted by Bas Wiegers. Remix Ensemble gave the Portuguese premiere in January 2017 at Casa da Musica, and two months later, in March, Klangforum Wien continued to tour the work in their home city of Vienna.
The success of Skin raises the anticipation for Saunders' next work, for soprano and ensemble, which premieres at the Berliner Festspiele in September 2017, just a couple of months before the composer’s 50th birthday.
Image © Simon Jay Price