© Emily Crew Woodard
ʻWonderlandʼ is a brand new project created by pianist Ashley Wass and violinist Matthew Trusler in order to raise money for the Lenny Trusler Childrenʼs Foundation – a foundation started by Matthew and of which Ashley is a Trustee. The foundation is dedicated to providing relief from suffering and illness in very sick babies and children.
2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of the great works of children’s literature, by Lewis Carroll. Thirteen different composers have been commissioned to each write a short piece inspired by the book’s preface and twelve chapters. They will be performed in order, such that the story’s narrative is told through music, and will be interspersed by an actor reading a specially written script by Louis de Bernières (author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin). Some of the world’s most renowned composers have committed to the project, all of them writing voluntarily.
ʻWonderlandʼ will be released on Orchid Classics in November 2015 to coincide with the month in which the hugely successful 2nd Edition of Alice in Wonderland was published. All profits from the CD will go to the LTCF. The project will also be toured as a live event throughout 2015 and beyond, with performances already scheduled in several countries across Europe and Asia.
The LTCF has also commissioned a new set of illustrations for the story and they will be projected onto a screen during the performance (where possible), along with some of the original drawings by John Tenniel. A key element of ʻWonderlandʼ will be its appeal across all age groups, a reflection of the enduring popularity of the original book. The composers chosen to write for the project represent a number of different styles and genres, while the script will draw everything together to form a clear and compelling narrative.
Ashley Wass says: “This is a project of which we are extremely proud. Chronicling the vivid imagery of Alice in Wonderland through the medium of music will encourage us all to let our imaginations run wild. Moreover, it should hold huge appeal both to children and adults, and to fans of the book and to followers of contemporary music. It’s hugely exciting and we are thrilled to have so many wonderful composers involved; that it’s all in aid of a truly wonderful cause makes it very special indeed.”
Matthew Trusler adds: “Bringing great works of children’s literature together with classical music has become an integral part of our fundraising activity for the Lenny Trusler Children’s Foundation. I’m especially excited that with this project we’ll be creating an entirely new suite of music; a work of art which will not only provide pleasure for young people, but will also directly raise money for very young children and babies who have been given a bad start in their lives.”
This project has been created to raise funds as well as to build further awareness for the Lenny Trusler Children’s Foundation. It is intended to be the first of several projects designed to create a legacy of new music inspired by children’s literature.
The composers who have written for Wonderland are:
Preface – All in the Golden Afternoon
Sally Beamish – one of the UK’s most successful composers, with numerous commissions from leading orchestras and soloists, and an RPS Award in 2011.
Chapter 1: Down the Rabbit Hole
Roxanna Panufnik – one of the UK’s most popular composers. Three Paths to Peace, commissioned by the World Orchestra for Peace and conducted by Gergiev, received its BBC Proms premiere this summer.
Chapter 2: The Pool of Tears
Mark-Anthony Turnage – one of the most admired and widely-performed composers of his generation. He has held residencies at the CBSO, BBC SO, ENO, London Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Chapter 3: A Caucus Race and a Long Tale
Stuart MacRae – former Composer-in-Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Scottish Opera’s production of his Ghost Patrol recently won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Opera.
Chapter 4: The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
Poul Ruders – Prolific Danish composer, has received commissions from New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Danish Opera. Described by the New York Times as a ‘prodigiously skilled and daringly imaginative craftsman”.
Chapter 5: Advice from a Caterpillar
Howard Blake – English composer whose career has spanned over 50 years and produced more than 650 works. Blake’s most successful work is his soundtrack for Channel 4’s 1982 film The Snowman including the song “Walking in the Air”.
Chapter 6: Pig and Pepper
Carl Davis – conductor and composer whose writing credits include scores for Pride and Prejudice, The World at War, Upstairs Downstairs and The French Lieutenantʼs Woman.
Chapter 7: A Mad Tea Party
Stephen Hough – award-winning pianist, composer, painter and writer, who regularly appears with major orchestras around the globe. His own works often appear in his recital programmes.
Chapter 8: The Queen’s Croquet Ground
Richard Dubugnon – Swiss-born composer with commissions from the likes of The Concertgebouw Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, Verbier, Gewandhaus Leipzig and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
Chapter 9: The Mock Turtle’s Story
Ilya Gringolts – “One of the most inspirational violinists today” (FT). Winner of the Paganini Competition and former BBC New Generation Artist, his own music has featured on the record label
Chapter 10: The Lobster Quadrille
Colin Matthews – former Associate Composer with the LSO and Halle and founder of NMC Recordings. His music has been commissioned and performed by most of the worldʼs great
Chapter 11: Who Stole the Tarts?
Gwilym Simcock – multi-award-winning pianist and composer whose music often blurs the boundaries of classical and jazz. He was the first jazz musician to be chosen as a BBC.
Chapter 12: Alice’s Evidence
Augusta Read Thomas – former Composer-in Residence at the Chicago SO. Her music has been performed and recorded by the likes of Knussen, Boulez, Baremboim, Rostropovich, Ozawa and
The narrated text based on Alice in Wonderland will be written by the renowned British novelist and poet Louis de Bernières. He is most famous for his fourth novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, has been translated into 11 languages, and was adapted into a feature film in 2001. De Bernières is an avid musician. He plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar. His literary work often references music and the composers he admires.
Emily Carew Woodard is a young and talented British artist with her client list ranging from The Times to Alexander McQueen. She has so far exhibited including alongside Rachel Whiteread CBE and Sir Peter Blake. With a quirky Victorian vibe, Emily uses sepia tones and vintage paper textures, inspired by the great Victorian illustrators Sir John Tenniel and Arthur Rackham.
For more information about the project, visit ‘Wonderland’