Epiphany Through Music – A Contemporary Festival

A celebratory contemporary music festival, presented at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge on 9-11th October 2015 as part of the chapel’s quincentenary celebrations.

2015 marks the quincentenary of King’s College Chapel and 500 years of music in that wonderful space. Throughout this time, generations of King’s musicians have sustained the quality of music-making at the highest possible level, and have also maintained a strong commitment to the music of their time. It is fitting then that some of the most active proponents of new music to have been associated with the college in recent years came together to create a once-in-a-generation festival celebrating the last fifty years of contemporary music to have come out of King’s.

John Wallace

The festival featured world-class performances from artists including the Philharmonia Orchestra, great works that have defined British contemporary music over the last 50 years, and a range of educational events designed to maximise the impact and reach of the festival.


The festival was the brainchild of King’s alumni John Wallace and Andrew Powell, who developed from callow Kings freshers in 1967 into their subsequent careers as  musicians.. There is a strong bond of community that exists between all King’s alumni and alumnae of succeeding generations who have experienced the transformative effect of a King’s education.

The catalyst for the festival was John and Andrew’s shared recollections of King’s in 1968 – the ‘turning-point moment’ when student revolution was in the air, the winds of cultural change rippled through Europe and the era of Roger Smalley and Tim Souster coming as composers-in-residence to King’s. This turning point proved to be a remarkable new chapter, significant for its freedom and openness.  To John and Andrew, and subsequent King’s students, it was a time which signified that ‘anything was possible’.

Here’s a short video which offers some private insights into this extraordinary event:


It seems that the founder of King’s College, Cambridge, Henry VI – the archetypal Renaissance Prince – must have understood that music heard in sublime surroundings was the ideal trigger for that epiphanic moment of discovery in the pursuit of new knowledge whether in the Sciences, Arts or Humanities. The idea of light, and enlightenment taken from this historic inspiration pervades the entire Epiphany in Music festival, and is acutely evident in the innovative presentation of “Within Those Radiances …” on 10th October 2015.


“Within Those Radiances …” was a particularly extraordinary concert, which took place on 10th October 2015, and represented the beating heart of the festival.  This landmark concert presented a unique fusion of brass and live electronics, through the works of leading composers Roger Smalley, Tim Souster and Andrew Powell, and the collaborative performances of Markus Stockhausen, Andrew and Kirsten Powell, John Wallace, John Miller, The Wallace Collection, Tim Cooper, and The Cambridge University Trumpet Ensemble.

The concert brought together leading exponents of the 1968 ‘turning point’ moment and combined them with performances from today’s key advocates:

Roger Smalley Echo III – Performed by John Miller: trumpet; Kirsten Powell and Andrew Powell; tape delay & sound diffusion

Tim Souster The Transistor Radio of St Narcissus – Performed by John Wallace: flugelhorn ; Kirsten Powell and Andrew Powell: live electronics & sound diffusion

Andrew Powell “With Those Radiances …” – Performed by The Wallace Collection: John Wallace, John Miller (trumpets); John Logan (horn); Rui Pedro Alves (trombone); Anthony George (tuba)

Markus Stockhausen “……….the tenth of October 2015” – Performed by Markus Stockhausen: trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics; The Cambridge University Trumpet Ensemble; The Wallace Collection; Kirsten Powell and Andrew Powell and assisted by Tim Cooper: live electronics & sound diffusion

The performance of Stockhausen’s “……….the tenth of October 2015” is part of his Phoenix solo project, but specially expanded for this unique event, to fill the space and time of King’s College Chapel.

Programme notes: The sound carries the soul towards the sky. Markus Stockhausen performs using his electronic equipment to widen the sound possibilities. Nevertheless the pure trumpet sound always remains in the foreground. The imagination of the listener is stimulated. Inner spaces open up through sound. Colourful sound sculptures arise in the Now.


So significant was  “Within Those Radiances …” , a legacy recording project was created to preserve audio and video footage of the event.  To engage the general public, The Wallace Collection embarked upon its first ‘Crowd-Funding’ project to support the production of the recordings.  This was a hugely successful funding vehicle and through the enthusiasm of 40 backers, the target was met and copies of the resultant CD and video were later distributed to the supporters, with immense gratitude.


Original recordings of The Transistor Radio of St Narcissus (Tim Souster) and Echo III (Roger Smalley) are available on Stockhausen Michael’s Farewell – a CD release now under The Wallace Collection label.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *