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Orange Mountain Music, PRS and Dunvagen Music Publishers announce Philip Glass: Refractions

Featuring re-imagined works by Dan Samsa, NikNak, Carmel Smickersgill and felix taylor, the composer initiative sets the tone for creative career development.

Philip Glass Refractions album artwork
Orange Mountain Music, PRS for Music and Dunvagen Music Publishers announce the release of Philip Glass: Refractions on 27 January 2023, a stunning four track EP featuring works by UK composers Dan Samsa, NikNak, Carmel Smickersgill and felix taylor. Inspired by the music of iconic American composer, Philip Glass, the commissioned project was announced in March 2022 as a development initiative for PRS members, encouraging the selected artists to engage with Glass’ music through the context of their own practice. Refractions will be launched at an invite-only event on Philip Glass’ 86th birthday at PRS for Music’s headquarters in London Bridge on 31 January 2023.

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We’re harnessing the incandescent creativity of contemporary composers across the UK. Refractions encouraged composers to interpret Philip Glass’ music through their own lens. And beyond celebrating the release of this recording and Philip Glass’ iconic career, we’re also making sure these amazing creators meet the UK music supervision and sync community to build more revenue-generating connections and find new places for this music to live.

Dan Lewis, Relationship Manager- Classical, PRS for Music

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I am pleased that my music is a part of this innovative and development initiative in partnership with PRS for Music, Orange Mountain Music, and Dunvagen. It’s often interesting when music, new and old is reimagined. This next generation of composers bring something to this music which is connected uniquely to them through time and culture. In other words, we are hearing something we have never heard before, and that’s what interests me. These new pieces, variously composed, re-composed, rearranged and performed by NikNak, Dan Samsa, Carmel Smickersgill and felix taylor embody many of  the virtues of what will be the future classical music.

Philip Glass, American composer and PRS member

South London composer, sound artist and performer Dan Samsa is well-known for exploring music through an installation-based approach. Glass Fragments 85 was recorded in a church in Blackheath, London, using a 360-degree microphone and celebrates Glass’ body of work over 85 years using 85 musical motifs and a laborious process-driven chronological approach. 

Leeds-based composer, turntablist and Oram Award-winner NikNak first encountered Philip Glass through academic study but admits she’s a huge personal fan of Glass’ work herself. Taking from Glass’ original work Metamorphosis she created Meta Glass, a satisfying beat-driven piece vibrant with orchestral flourishes.

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I’m very inspired by movements where they’re focused on technology first, and how that technology can inspire new forms and shapes in music, and I think that’s very much about what Glass and Reich, and all the minimalist composers, are all about...Realising how much he’s actually written is insane; symphonies, quartets, theatre music, film scores, operas, the lot, and more.

Dan Samsa, South London composer, sound artist and performer

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It was nice to get back into making music like I used to. There’s already a pulse going through the track, what can I do to add to the pulse, what can I add to that, to help transform it?” 

NikNak, Leeds-based composer, turntablist and Oram Award-winner

Manchester’s Carmel Smickersgill’s re-interpretation of Glass’ Enter Vivian was an exercise in working with the meditative simplicity of the original cello and violin-led piece and weaving it into a new undulating intimate glitchy musical pattern. The former Ivor Novello Rising Star nominee used bright tin whistles, candle crackles, wood blocks and light percussion and an overall organic approach to bring the piece new life with Glass’ violin and cello as the throughfare.

felix taylor is a South London composer who likes to work with found sounds and field recordings and whose interest in Glass lies in the significance of musical repetition. His piece shiosai (pronounced she-oh-sigh), a word that refers to the sound of waves and infers a boisterous quality, takes inspiration from the narrative surrounding Glass’ String Quartet No. 3 - Mishima which was created as the soundtrack to the 1985 biographical film about Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. The textured piece is infused with spiritual jazz and psychedelic soul with Glass samples adding inspiration and near-camp grandiosity to focus the musical narrative.

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I was on a hunt for […] something I had never heard before and things that maybe other people hadn’t heard before, and that maybe needed more attention. The simpleness and pettiness resonated with me. It’s also a bit of a blank canvas that you can work with.

Carmel Smickersgill, Manchester composer
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It’s strange because most of the music I make is quite quiet, but this is quite loud and brash, I think.

felix taylor, South London composer

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the UK and around the world. On behalf of its members, it works diligently to grow and protect the value of their rights and ensure that creators are paid transparently and efficiently whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. In 2021, 27 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £677.2m paid out in royalties to its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations. prsformusic.com

PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

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