LSO Discovery

Free Friday Lunchtime Concert: Soundhub Showcase


Hollie Harding Fondue
Emma-Kate Matthews After Image (world premiere)
John Aulich But the winds, but the spaces (world premiere)
Euchar Gravina medea (world premiere, version for tape and percussion)

Neil Percy percussion
Sam Walton percussion
Laura Bradford percussion
Rachel Leach presenter


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Hollie Harding (b 1986)


✒️ 2013 | ⏰5 minutes

Written for two percussionists of the Basel Symphony Orchestra, Siegfried Kutterer and Domenico Melchiorre, this piece was premiered at the London Ear Festival. Fondue was inspired by my visit to Basel in 2012 to work and collaborate with the pair. It explores the interplay between two characters and their sharing of the middle drums, or communal pot.

Note by Hollie Harding

Emma-Kate Matthews (b 1986)

After Image

✒️ 2023–24 | ⏰3 minutes

After Image is a sonic representation of the lasting impressions that certain things leave on us. While the concept of the afterimage is typically associated with the visual realm, it can also encompass any ephemeral or transient phenomena. From the lingering effect of a bright light, the recollection of a conversation, to the prolongation of a sound in a reverberant space, and so on.

This piece is written for two vibraphone players, with an option to share the same instrument. Each plays a different role in the harmonic and melodic development of the piece, despite occupying the same physical and material space of the instrument. The vibraphone is both struck and bowed to explore its timbral potential, creating a range of sounds from hard to soft, long to short, fleeting to extended, and metallic to warm.

At the upper end of the instrument, a series of fleeting melodic motifs start slowly with a soft attack. They gradually become more brief, chaotic, and harder. Meanwhile, a series of low drones are played at the bass end of the instrument. Initially, it is difficult to distinguish between the two ‘voices’, but the distinction becomes clearer as they become more timbrally distant.

In parallel to this, the drone-like tones seem to mimic the melodic material in terms of timing and tone, lingering like an afterimage. Initially, the notes used in both parts share harmonics, resulting in a resonant and ‘blended’ sound. As the piece progresses, the relationship between the tones becomes more dissonant, creating a rhythmic pulsation or interference of sound. This represents the gradual fading of both the afterimage and the presence of its stimulus.

Note by Emma-Kate Matthews

John Aulich (b 1992)

But the winds, but the spaces

✒️ 2024 | ⏰4 minutes

‘Even the small trees you planted as children have long since become too heavy; you could not carry them now. But the winds ... But the spaces … .’
Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus IV

But the winds, but the spaces is an afterword to my solo percussion piece, six doors of the invisible, in that it uses similar material and attempts to grapple with a similar question. While the latter is concerned with the ‘stranger within' – the more primordial, inaccessible parts of our bodies and its responses to the world – But the winds, but the spaces is a meditation on the unknowability of the effects pummelling the bodies of others. If six doors says ‘I cannot fully know myself’, But the winds says ‘I cannot know another like I know myself’. Every attempt fades into the inscrutable. Both pieces are therefore also a meditation on different kinds of silence. Not only the conceptual silence brought forth by the questions above, but also the silences in between musical expressions and bodily gestures.

Note by John Aulich

Euchar Gravina (b 1994)


✒️ 2024 | ⏰4 minutes

At the heart of this piece is the voice of Medea Mei Figner (1859 to 1952), an Italian soprano whose voice is captured in some of the oldest music recordings we have. In 2020 and 2021, I became increasingly fascinated by an early 1900s recording which I came across online. The first attempts at using it in a composition were purely electroacoustic (and mostly for personal consumption). The next serious attempt was a short exploratory sketch blending Medea’s voice and a non-vocal imitation of it, recorded on saxophone (with thanks to Carl Raven of House of Bedlam who I met at Dartington Festival).

The original version of this piece was my first solo work for the piano and came after several months of composing silence. It drew inspiration from the piano’s often unsung role as an accompanying instrument and was conceived as an intimate conversation between the ethereal voice of Medea (and her accompanist) and the pianist.

In this version, based around the third movement, I attempt to bridge the gap between the decades-old voice, in its delicate timeless existence, and the warm resonances of the vibraphone and the bass bell.

medea was written thanks to Karl Fiorini and the Malta Society of Arts.

Note by Euchar Gravina

About the Artists

Hollie Harding

© Philip Stewart

Hollie Harding (b 1986) is a composer, producer and curator of contemporary music events in the UK and overseas. She is interested in looking at different ways of constructing musical performance scenarios and exploring the impact this has on compositional processes and the listening experience.

She has worked with Alwynne Pritchard, Sjøforsvarets Musikkorps (Norwegian Navy Band), Philharmonia Orchestra (RPS Composition Prize), London Symphony Orchestra (Jerwood Composer+), London Philharmonic Orchestra (Leverhulme Young Composer), CHROMA, Castallian String Quartet, Ensemble Via Nova (Weimar), DeciBells (Basel) and players from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Cohan Collective). Her work has featured on BBC Radio 3, Resonance FM and BBC Four and has been released by NMC Recordings. Teaching plays an important role in Hollie’s artistic life and she has been Associate Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama since 2020.

composer Hollie Harding

© Philip Stewart

© Philip Stewart

Emma-Kate Matthews

Emma-Kate Matthews is an architect, composer, musician, and digital artist. Her work explores the creative intersections between sonic and spatial practices through the production of site-specific and spatialised audiovisual projects. In addition to composing on the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme, her work has been performed internationally at acoustically distinctive sites such as the Sagrada Familia, Southbank Centre, Barbican Centre, and Brighton Festival.

She has released solo electronic-classical works on labels including Algebra Records, NMC records and Musicity Global.  In addition to making music, she also designs and makes her own instruments which she calls ‘resonant bodies’. In 2022 she was nominated for the Lumen prize and the Aesthetica art prize and her work has been ‘highly commended’ in categories for the ‘Sound of the Year Awards’ for the past two years. She is currently working on a large-scale publication for Routledge, which is due for release in 2024, and she hosts an eclectic radio show on RTM.FM called Hunter Gatherer.

composer Emma-Kate Matthews

John Aulich

© Halina Isherwood

John Aulich is a composer and creative technologist from Manchester, England. His music has been performed internationally, by world renowned artists such as ELISION Ensemble and International Contemporary Ensemble. John’s music spans a number of broad themes, including atmosphere and the body, viscerality, ambiguity of meaning, sensuality and touch, and innovations in music notation. His work is characterised by evocative, highly-charged and volatile soundworlds stemming from the physicality of performance.

John earned his PhD at the University at Buffalo in New York in 2022. Since his return to the UK, he has taken part in LSO Soundhub, Impuls Festival in Graz and a variety of small collaborations. His solo percussion piece, six doors of the invisible, was shortlisted by Sound and Music for the British section of ISCM World Music Days 2023. Alongside his freelance work, John teaches part-time at the University of Edinburgh.

composer John Aulich

© Halina Isherwood

© Halina Isherwood

Euchar Gravina

© William Marsey

Euchar Gravina is a composer and artistic director from Malta who is based in London. His works have been performed and recorded by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Psappha and Christ Church Cathedral Choir, commissioned by Teatru Malta, Vache Baroque and the Old Hispanic Office, and programmed at international festivals such as Aldeburgh and the Valletta International Baroque Festival. Euchar was a Britten Pears Young Artists (2019 to 2021), Composer-in-Residence with the Glasshouse International Centre for Music’s Quay Voices and Young Sinfonia (2017 to 2018), and the recipient of the special jury prize at the APS National Composition Competition (2012). He read composition at the Royal Academy of Music.

Euchar is Artistic Director at St John’s Waterloo and Waterloo Festival. Alongside being the Director of The Daphne Festival, he has collaborated with creative human rights organisations such as Index on Censorship, and curated exhibitions and projects that bring the arts and social justice together.

composer Euchar Gravina

© William Marsey

© William Marsey

About the Artists

Neil Percy

LSO Principal Percussion

Neil Percy is the longest serving Principal Percussion of the LSO and has been Head of Timpani and Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music since 2000. He has worked closely with many major artists and conductors and as a soloist with Sir Colin Davis, Pierre Boulez, Steve Reich, François-Xavier Roth, Karl Jenkins, Ravi Shankar, Kent Nagano and Elgar Howarth. He has also worked closely with many composers for over 150 film scores – notably John Williams, James Horner, Patrick Doyle, Trevor Jones and Alexandre Desplat with their music for films such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Braveheart, Notting Hill, Twilight: New Moon and Unbroken – and with major pop and jazz artists. He is the Zildjian cymbals artist in residence, a Yamaha drums and keyboards artist and an artist for Evans Drumheads and Freer Mallets.

Sam Walton

LSO Co-Principal Percussion

Sam joined the LSO as Co-Principal Percussion in 2012. He has performed with many UK orchestras including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the London Sinfonietta and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. As a chamber musician, Sam is a member of the Colin Currie Group, the Colin Currie Quartet and the LSO Percussion Ensemble. He is also Principal Percussion for the John Wilson Orchestra. He has performed on various movie soundtracks including Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and plays in a variety of West End shows. He is percussion tutor for the European Union Youth Orchestra.

Laura Bradford


Laura Bradford is a freelance percussionist and timpanist based in London. Originally from East Yorkshire, Laura’s musical education started at the East Riding School’s Music Service. She later became a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music.

Since graduating in 2018, Laura has been incredibly fortunate to have had a varied and exciting career performing with orchestras across the country. These include the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, English National Ballet and the Knussen Chamber Orchestra.

As well as being an active performer, Laura is also a passionate educator. Laura has tutored at the London Symphony Orchestra’s East London Academy, the Junior Royal Academy of Music, and London Philharmonic Orchestra’s FUNharmonics.

percussionist Laura Bradford

Rachel Leach


© Kevin Leighton

Rachel Leach was born in Sheffield. She studied composition, and her music has been recorded by NMC and published by Faber. She has won several awards including, with English Touring Opera (ETO), the RPS award for best education project 2009 for One Day, Two Dawns.

Rachel has worked within the education departments of most of the UK’s orchestras and opera companies. The majority of her work is for the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Rachel has written well over 20 pieces for LSO Discovery and 15 community operas, including seven for the English Touring Opera.

Increasingly in demand as a concert presenter, as well as presenting the LSO Discovery Free Friday Lunchtime Concert series, she regularly presents children’s concerts and pre-concert events for the LSO, LPO, Philharmonia Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal College of Music and Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Rachel Leach

© Kevin Leighton

© Kevin Leighton

Next Friday Lunchtime Concert

Friday 19 April 2024

Niccolò Paganini Centone di sonate
Lucas Saboya Ojos color de Oliva
Heraclio Fernández arr Daniel Saboya El Diablo Suelto
Lucas Saboya Bellavista
Santiago Bernal Montaña Dilo otra vez
Andy Scott Paquito

Julián Gil Rodríguez violin
Francisco Correa guitar
Rachel Leach presenter

Julián Gil Rodríguez, LSO Principal Second Violin, performs a rich tapestry of music from South America, spanning the 19th century to the present, alongside captivating pieces by Niccolò Paganini and Andy Scott.