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New music for dance

Posted on June 16, 2011

The Royal Philharmonic Society Drummond Fund has given awards to commission three new scores for dance, for performance between 2011 and 2013 by Phoenix Dance Theatre, Company Decalage and at Dance Umbrella.


Set up in memory of John Drummond, former director of the BBC Proms and of the Edinburgh International Festival and Controller of Music at the BBC, and of Ballets Russes star Lydia Sokolova, the fund supports the commissioning of new dance music, with awards going towards the composers’ fees.


The Difference Engine, commissioned by Dance Umbrella 2011, will have a score by composer Dario Palermo and choreography by Ben Duke. Inspired by Chris Marker’s 1962 film La Jetée, the new work explores time travel, the power of the imagination and the relationship between the physical body and virtual reality.


Choreographer Mickael Marso Riviere and Company Decalage will work with composer Julian Philips and the Aurora Orchestra on a new work that juxtaposes breaking and orchestral music. The piece will be premiered in 2012 as part of Aurora’s New Moves Series at LSO St Lukes in London, followed by a UK tour.


Forms entangles, shapes collided will be a collaboration between leading contemporary music ensemble Psappha, composer Kenneth Hesketh and choreographer Sharon Watson, director of Phoenix Dance Theatre. The work is inspired by the theory of atomism – the idea that the world consists of two fundamental principles, atoms and void – and will tour nationally in 2013.


£24,000 has been awarded in this second round of funding by the RPS Drummond Fund. The first awards, made in 2009, went to Julian Anderson for Rambert Dance Company and Terry Mann for Rosemary Lee.


Bob Lockyer, who set up the fund with the Royal Philharmonic Society, said” “We are all very excited by the ideas in these winning collaborations. Also very pleased to think that these works, both the music and dance, will be premiered and seen all over the UK in the coming years. In the difficult times ahead, I’m pleased that the Drummond Fund can help dance companies commission new music for dance and as a result challenge their audiences and the critics alike. John Drummond would have approved of that.”


Full details of the RPS Drummond Fund, including details of how to donate to the fund, are available in the “composers” section at

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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