William Mival

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William Mival is a composer, broadcaster, writer and teacher and since 2004 has been Head of Composition at the Royal College of Music in London where he leads a diverse, energetic and world-leading faculty which attracts, trains and supports an exceptional array of today’s most gifted emerging composers.

Born in Rhyl, in North Wales, William Mival was student of Anthony Milner, Robert Saxton and, in Cologne, of York Höller. He has written works for, amongst others, Ensemble Gemini, the Belcea String Quartet, The BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Welsh Chamber Orchestra, the virginalist Sophie Yates, the pianist Andrew Ball, the baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and the Choirs of Salisbury Cathedral. He has taught world-wide and has given lectures and classes in, amongst others, Berlin, Jerusalem, Shanghai and Singapore.

His On the Ringstreet was written for the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Land Rover sponsored Sound Discovery Programme in 1996 and first performed by the orchestra conducted by Pascal Rophé. His Quartet RBG, was premiered City Recital Hall, Sydney, by the Belcea String Quartet as part of the Michael Berkeley curated chamber music series at the Sydney Festival in January 2002 and repeated the following week at the Wigmore Hall in London during a BBC Lunchtime concert.

His orchestral work Tristan-still which was commissioned by Radio Three and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, was first performed at the Barbican Concert Hall in February 2003 conducted by Donald Runnicles and broadcast live. Tristan-still was also that same year shortlisted in the orchestral category of the inaugural British Composers Awards. ‘And Singing Say and Saying Sing’ – The Private Devotions for the Hours of Prayer of John Cosin received its first performances in Salisbury and London in 2012 by the Choirs of Salisbury Cathedral led by their Director of Music, David Halls.   

William Mival’s writings include a survey of the performance history of Stockhausen’s Gruppen for the Cambridge History of Musical Performance (published in 2012). As a broadcaster he has been a regularly heard on BBC Radio, in particular on Radio Three’s Record Review and is a frequent contributor to the ‘Building a Library’ segment of the programme where his meticulous exploration of some of the most frequently performed and recorded works in the catalogue, from Beethoven to Mahler and from Rachmaninov to Strauss, have won high praise from listeners and continue to be available on podcast.

Mival has also made appearances on television introducing performances from the BBC Proms and also discussing the concept of musical ‘resonance’ on BBC Television’s The Culture Show with sculptor Conrad Shawcross. 

More recently his Correntandemente (Runningly – ish) for large ensemble which was written for the RCM New Perspectives Ensemble and a concert celebrating the work of RCM composers led by London Sinfonietta clarinettist Timothy Lines, was also selected for performance at the Beijing Modern Music Festival as part of the ISCM World Music Days, having been nominated by the Wales section of the ISCM. It was performed in Beijing in May 2018 as part of the Beijing New Music Festival: The Tianjin Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Li Yang in the Opera House of the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music.

Also in 2018 the organist David Graham gave the first performance of Mival’s Rond for organ at Brentwood Cathedral and recorded the work on the RCM’s new Flentrop Organ in December 2019.

2019 also saw the first performances of Pluen (feather) for orchestra which was commissioned by the Laurence Modiano Charitable Trust to mark the seventieth birthday of the His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales: The world premiere from Martyn Brabbins and the Royal College of Music Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chinese premiere in November 2019 from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zhang Liang as part of the Shanghai International Composition Workshop in association with the Shanghai Conservatory.

 

Tim Ashley (The Guardian, February 2003) on William Mival’s Tristan – Still

“Woven in postmodern fashion from scraps and shards of Wagner’s score, it testifies that Tristan still haunts the western imagination like no other … Mival breaks these elements down in order to refashion them into a ruminative meditation on musical stasis.

The Wagnerian fragments ceaselessly spill into allusions to the later works they affected … Pulsing brass chords glance at the so-called Hauptrhythmus with which Berg closes each act of Lulu.

The whole has a grave beauty.”

 

Roger Simpson: Radio Camelot: Arthurian Legends on the BBC, 1922-2005 (Brewer 2008)

“Another intriguing BBC commission was William Mival’s powerfully evocative Tristan – Still … Mival took a tiny moment from the start of the love duet playing with the legend that Wagner had composed a strong quartet for his new love Cosima, Mival conjures up a ghost of what this string quartet might have been.”

 

Jim Hiscott – President ISCM Canadian Section- Brief Report ISCM 2018, Beijing, China

“The Tianjin Symphony Orchestra’s chamber orchestra program included Correntandemente (Running-ly-ish), a very effective piece by William Mival (UK) with mixed tonal/triadic and dissonant elements in complex and contrasting textures – a most individual piece.”

Ordered by year. Most recent works appears first

Instrumental Music


Rond For Organ (2018)
Correntandemente (Running-ly-ish) Ensemble (16 players) (2015)
On the Ringstreet Large Orchestra (1996)

Symphony Orchestra


Pluen (feather) Orchestra (2018)

Ensemble (10 - 19 instruments)


Correntandemente (Running-ly-ish) Ensemble (16 players) (2015)

Orchestral Music


Pluen (feather) Orchestra (2018)
On the Ringstreet Large Orchestra (1996)
Correntandemente (Running-ly-ish) Ensemble (16 players) (2015)
On the Ringstreet Large Orchestra (1996)
Pluen (feather) Orchestra (2018)
Rond For Organ (2018)