Philharmonia Composers' Academy Vol 5

Philharmonia Composers' Academy Vol 5

NMC Recordings
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Release Date: 28 October 2022

Volume 5 of NMC Recordings' partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra features two new works by composers Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Alex Paxton, participants in the Philharmonia’s 2021 Composers’ Academy and the 2021 Royal Philharmonic Society Composers programme.

The featured composers developed their works over their 10 month participation in the Composers’ Academy, benefitting from seminars and tutorials as well as contemporary instrument exploration sessions and a works-in progress workshop with Philharmonia players and conductor Darren Bloom. Composers' Academy Volume 5 features two very different works by composer/performers.

Multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Witter-Johnson contributes solo cello and vocals to the rich, warm soundworld of her track Equinox. R&B-inflected vocals both contrast with and complement the Philharmonia's lush string playing, in music that effortlessly blends classical tradition with the reggae and soul of Witter-Johnson's roots. In place of a programme note, Witter-Johnson refers to the lyrics of Equinox to encompass the spirit of the piece; musings on the moon, the sun, and spinning circles of light.

Composer and improvising-trombonist Alex Paxton's music has been described as 'a riotous overabundance of love and rage... an extraordinary experience' (The Wire). His new work Levels of Affection whirrs and pops with erratic energy, as brass synth sounds puncture a bed of distorted, folk-inspired strings, and Paxton's rough, jazzy trombone belows into the depths of the explosive sonic experience that is fast becoming his trademark.

This recording is kindly supported by grants from the RVW Trust, Austin & Hope Pilkington Charitable Trust, The Coln Trust, and the Patrick Rowland Foundation.

Philharmonia Orchestra
Darren Bloom conductor


1) Ayanna Witter-Johnson Equinox
2) Alex Paxton Levels of Affection

Explore our other Philharmonia Composers' Academy releases here.



"Equinox by Witter-Johnson fluidly blends haunting vocals with atmospheric string writing. Levels of Affection by Paxton bursts with life and buzzes with energy." BBC Music Magazine

 "Extraordinary" Tempo Magazine (on Alex Paxton: Levels of Affection)


All works recorded at Wathen Hall, St Paul's School, London on 26 February 2022
DAVID LEFEBER Recording Producer/Engineer

(P) 2022 NMC Recordings Ltd
© 2022 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue Number: NMC DL3047
Release Date: 28 October 2022