Gareth Bonello, The Gentle Good

Gareth Bonello in China

Gareth Bonello in China

The British Council and PRS for Music Foundation have chosen Welsh musician Gareth Bonello to spend six weeks in China, supported by Wales Arts International.

The British Council and PRS for Music Foundation have selected four UK musicians to spend six weeks in China writing new music and building new international relationships.

GARETH BONELLO, IMOGEN HEAP, JAMIE WOON, AND MATTHEW BOURNE have been chosen from around 40 applicants to take part in a residency programme organised by the British Council and PRS for Music Foundation. The residencies are designed to enable innovative British musicians to explore new musical territory, reach new audiences and write new material in the context of a changing international market.

Between October 2011 and March 2012, the musicians will travel to four cities across China: Hangzhou (East China), Xi'a (North China), Chengdu (South West China) and Xiamen (South China). They will immerse themselves in and respond to their environment, meet local people and share their experiences via local and international media. The new music will then be performed publicly in China and the UK in 2012.

Supported by Wales Arts International, Welsh folk multi-instrumentalist Gareth Bonello will travel to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province. Bonello, who was nominated for this residency by BBC DJ Huw Stephens, will work with local folk instrumentalists on material for a new album. To read Gareth Bonello's blog and for regular updates, please click here.

Gareth Bonello says:

‘I feel very privileged to be presented with this wonderful opportunity to explore the folk music and traditions of South-West China. I am particularly looking forward to collaborating with local writers and musicians to create new music inspired by both Welsh and Chinese culture.’

Grammy Award-winning singer, composer and songwriter Imogen Heap will travel to Hangzhou where she will work with local artists and communities to create two new tracks for her current album. She will be hosted by West Lake Music Festival, which is working to build up the local appetite for arts and culture in a city renowned for its beautiful natural scenery and historical relics.

BRIT school graduate and R&B/dubstep-influenced singer/producer Jamie Woon will travel to Xi'an, home to the First Emperor's tomb and his terracotta warriors. Jamie will be exploring the local rock scene in Xi’an and sharing his musical ideas via a regular radio programme, performances and recording sessions.

Pianist and composer Matthew Bourne will travel to Xiamen and the nearby Gu Lang Yu Island known as ‘piano island’ since the 19th century. Bourne will be hosted by the Art College of Xiamen University where he will give lectures and create new musical pieces which will build on his impressive body of experimental work for piano.

Cathy Graham, British Council Director of Music, says:

"The thought of these talented musicians - who between them represent a wonderful breadth of music - taking inspiration from the cultures and environments of cities across China is so exciting. I’m very happy that the collective experience and expertise of our two organisations has made these residencies possible, and look forward with huge anticipation to the music which will be created."

Vanessa Reed, Executive Director of PRSF, says:

"We’re delighted that our partnership with the British Council has led to this pioneering residency programme for UK music creators. To explore new musical ideas and collaborations in a country where the infrastructure for music is still developing is a great opportunity for the creators who’ve been selected. I look forward to following their stories and listening to the music that comes out of this adventure."

As well as supporting Gareth Bonello to travel to China, Wales Arts International was pleased to choose Gareth to feature as one of the artists in our World Music from Wales directory which can be viewed here. The Directory serves as a guide for international producers, promoters and industry professionals to develop their knowledge about the world music genre in Wales. Gareth also played during Wales Arts International's successful reception at Showcase Scotland 2010, as part of the Celtic Connections festival; please click here for further information.


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