Psappha is unique in its artistic offering as the North of England’s only stand-alone, professional contemporary classical music ensemble. Formed in 1991 by its Artistic Director Tim Williams, Psappha specialises in the performance of music by living composers and that of the 20th and 21st centuries. The group has an extensive and varied repertoire of hundreds of works and a reputation for technical assurance and interpretive flair.
From April 2015 Psappha is delighted to have moved into a new home; St Michael’s, Ancoats, a deconsecrated church that provides a fabulous rehearsal and performance space.
Attracting attention from audiences and from the music press internationally, Psappha won the Manchester Evening News Award for Opera in 2000 and has been shortlisted three times for a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society award. Psappha has commissioned and premiered many works by a wide range of composers including the award-winning music-theatre work, Mr Emmet Takes a Walk, by its Patron, Peter Maxwell Davies, also recorded by the original performers.
Psappha has appeared throughout the UK, featuring regularly at most of the country’s major music festival including the BBC Proms, special Henze, Maxwell Davies and Bernstein portrait series at London’s Southbank Centre, and in residencies at the St. Magnus Festival, Orkney.
Psappha has made highly successful tours to North and South America, Australia, and throughout Europe, and has also appeared in the United States and Hong Kong through residencies at Princeton University and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Having made a number of recordings on various labels, Psappha launched its own CD label in 2004. Most recently we have released Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King on vinyl, to celebrate Max’s 80th birthday.
Psappha supports composers at all stages of their careers, offering a range of opportunities to work with Psappha’s expert musicians. In its role as Contemporary Ensemble in Residence at The University of Manchester Psappha works with advanced students of composition to support the creation and performance of new works. Autumn 2010 saw the launch of Composition Lab, Psappha’s online resource to support the composition element of GCSE and A-level music. In October 2015 we launched ‘Psappha Kids: Music Explained’, a resource to support the teaching of the music curriculum in primary schools.
Psappha is continually seeking to develop new audiences and break fresh ground. Through our website we provide more than ninety free-to-view films of live performances which can be viewed via all devices and we are currently developing a new initiative around the live streaming of performances. Psappha welcomes people of all ages to try something new and become involved with the ensemble and its composers through its online resources, performances and projects and at its pre- and post-concert events.