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Freya Waley-Cohen

Described as ‘at once intimate and visionary’ by BBC Music Magazine, Freya Waley-Cohen's music has been performed in the Wigmore Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Royal Festival Hall, Sage Gateshead, Kings Place, The Barbican Centre, The British Film Institute, The National Portrait Gallery, and at Aldeburgh, Tanglewood, Santa Fe, Dartington, Cheltenham, St Magnus, Ryedale and Spitalfields festivals by musicians including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Swan, Manson Ensemble conducted by Oliver Knussen, The Hermes Experiment, CHROMA ensemble, The Piatti, Wihan, Flux and Albion Quartets, Joanna McGregor, and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

Freya will be the associate composer at Wigmore Hall for the 2019/20 season. She was Winner of a Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize in 2017. She held an Open Space Residency at Snape Maltings from 2015-2017, during which she has collaborated with architectural designers Finbarr O'Dempsey and Andrew Skulina to create Permutations, an architectural performance artwork which launched at the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival. It has since toured to the Dartington Festival, Royal Academy of Music, and Royal Institute of British Architecture, North. She was 2013 Composer in Residence at Northern Chords festival, Sage Gateshead, 2013 Apprentice Composer with Orchestra of the Swan, a 2016 Composition Fellow at Tanglewood Festival, 2016-18 Associate Composer of NonClassical, and is currently the associate composer of NightMusic at St. David's Hall.

In 2017 Signum Classics released a CD of Freya’s music including Permutations and Unveil - both of which were written while on residency at Aldeburgh and for her sister Tamsin Waley-Cohen. Her works have also been released on NMC Recordings, Nimbus Records, Listenpony, Nonclassical, and McMaster Records.

She is a founding member and artistic director of Listenpony, a concert series, commissioning body and record label that programmes classical music, both new and old, alongside a variety of other genres including folk, jazz and pop, in beautiful and unusual venues.

The upcoming season will see her works performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Cadogan Hall BBC Proms, the Sainte-Mere Festival, and the Presteigne Festival.

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Dedicated to the memory of Viola Lubbock

My response to Enerio’s Christus Factus Est comes through the lense of Emily Berry’s ‘Once’ from her recent collection ‘Stranger, Baby’. Berry’s response to bereavement in ‘Once’ is one of withdrawal and an ‘embrace’ of her own ‘diminishment’ and ‘tenderness’, a tendency which amplifies the loneliness of grief in contrast to the world’s ability to continue. In counterpoint to Christus Factus Est’s opening line ‘Christ became obedient for us unto death’, ‘Once’ gave me a way to write a response to Enerio’s work in a way that felt contemporary and personal.

The poem also allows for simultaneity of faster-moving conversational asides, with slower, quieter, underpinnings. This allowed me to respond to both the mournful slowly unfolding opening of the Enerio, and the brighter, almost playful second half, but to present both simultaneously and in counterpoint to each other.

WORLD PREMIERE: 10th July 2019, Cheltenham Festivals, Cheltenham College Chapel- Music of Rome