Danse Macabre - Trinity Laban soloists perform UK premiere of Gregory Rose composition

Danse Macabre

Gregory Rose, a conducting professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, will conduct the UK premiere of his composition, Danse Macabre, on Saturday 18 May at St John at Waterloo. The main character, Death, will be sung by bass baritone student Simon Dyer, and the performance will feature several other Trinity Laban soloists.

Gregory is an accomplished composer and conductor, and has taught and conducted at Trinity Laban for the past 15 years. He studied composition with two former pupils of Schoenberg - Hans Jelinek (Vienna Music Academy) and Egon Wellesz (Oxford) - as well as with his father, Bernard Rose, one of the giants of English choral music in the post-war era.

Aside from his position at Trinity Laban, most of Gregory's conducting has been in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, featuring particularly romantic and contemporary repertoires. Since starting working in Estonia in 1992, Gregory has conducted all of the Baltic national symphony orchestras, as well as the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, which is known its performances and recordings of the music of Arvo Pärt.

Danse Macabre, a piece for music-theatre, is Gregory's most ambitious project yet. It premiered in Tallinn, Estonia in October 2011 with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and instrumental ensemble, to great critical acclaim.

The piece is based on Estonia's most famous work of art, a large-scale painting from 1500 called Danse Macabre.In the picture, Death speaks to the highest down to the lowest members of society, starting with the Pope and the Emperor (and ending with a baby). Words in medieval German inscribed at the bottom of each of the remaining panels became the basic text Gregory set in his composition, to which he has added the text of the Requiem Mass. The entire piece totals 28 movements and lasts 70 minutes.

Danse Macabre has been described as a "great work of art with a rich experience" (Toronto Estonian Life) and "an absorbing musical masterpiece... The brilliance of Rose's music lies in the way it fuses the approachable with the ultra-modern and challenging." (Church Times).

Listen to the piece on YouTube.

Danse Macabre by Gregory Rose (UK premiere)
St John at Waterloo, 8pm, 18 May 2013
London Festival of Contemporary Church Music 2013

  • Death: Simon Dyer
  • Preacher: Thomas McKenna
  • Pope: Simon Marsh
  • Emperor: Casey-Joe Rumens
  • Empress: Grace Carter
  • Cardinal: Stephen Ulberini
  • King: Ashley Mercer
  • Exultate Singers (director: David Ogden)
  • Jupiter Orchestra

Tickets available at See Tickets.

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