The noun 'Smorgaschord' denotes a cultural feast with numerous concerts in one day. The format of a Smorgaschord goes like this: guests may gorge on music, poetry and art till fully satiated...
Filmed by Jessie Rodger | Sound: Brett Cox | Additional photography: Emma Werner
Smorgaschord was born in 2021 in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. Our motivation was a strong one: young musicians were adversely affected during the pandemic, and needed an outlet for their burgeoning creativity that had built up after months of silence and inactivity. And above all, we wanted to find a way to present music that was relaxed, fun and diverse—all harnessed around a profound love of the new and adventurous!
Since then, Smorgaschord has grown and grown. We've had performances of the oldest surviving genres of Hindustani vocal music, worked with György Kurtág on a piece for quartet and electronics, presented premieres from composers raning from Deidre McKay to Thomas Adès, explored the work and life of Jewish artist Eva Frankfurther, experienced the wonders of Mark Padmore singing Birtwistle, performed Mozart in a coffee shop... Smorgaschord has been busy!
Alongside the festival, we established Smorgaschord Collective as a way of bringing together a community of like-minded musicians who could take our ideas around to other parts of the country. So far, we've played music by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Donghoon Shin and Mozart, and are looking forward to touring a programme of Claude Vivier, Elisabeth Lutyens, Xenakis and Janáček as part of the Stoller Hall Emerging Artists scheme.
Festival artists have included:
Artist Josie Perry
Baritone Hugo Herman Wilson
Cello Eliza Millett | Tim Posner
Clarinet Jonathan Leibovitz
Composers Donghoon Shin | Laurence Osborn
Electronics György Kurtág Jr.
Horn Ben Goldscheider
Jori Jasdeep Singh
Piano George Xiaoyuan Fu | Danny Driver | Sebastian Black | Andrew West
Spoken word Andrew Lanfranco Dickinson
Tenor Mark Padmore
Violin Emily Earl | Tim Crawford | Stephen Waarts | Rosa Hartley | Dave Shaw | Yume Fujise | Juliette Roos | Katherine Yoon
Viola Alinka Rowe | Edgar Francis | Jenny Lewisohn
Vocals Kirit Singh
Meet The SmorgasBoard...
Cellist Eliza Millett is a graduate of the University of Oxford, attaining First-class Honours in Music, and of the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she studied cello with Christoph Richter. Eliza has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in a number of UK venues such as Wigmore Hall, IMS Prussia Cove, St John's Smith Square and St James Piccadilly, and has taken masterclasses with international musicians such as Adrian Brendel, Colin Carr, Johannes Moser and Gary Hoffman.
She is a founder member of the award-winning Echea Quartet, currently Chamber Music Fellows at the Royal College of Music and recent recipients of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Albert and Eugenie Frost Chamber Music Prize. The quartet has appeared at international festivals in Ireland, Aix-en-Provence, Argentina and at the Banff Centre in Canada, as well as performing and winning the ‘Tremplin’ award at the Philharmonie de Paris’ String Quartet Biennial (2020).
The Echéa Quartet’s dedication to new music is central to their work: they have commissioned works by UK-based composers, including Louise Drewett, Freya Waley-Cohen and Robert Laidlow, and have worked closely with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Andrew Norman and Henning Kraggerud.
Eliza plays on a W.E. Hill & Sons cello (2019), generously on loan from the Harrison-Frank Trust. She co-directs Smorgaschord.
Tilly Woodhouse is a freelance Creative Producer and Facilitator based in London and working across the UK. A graduate with distinction from the Applied Theatre programme at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, her focus lies on wellness and the role of care in the Arts.
In 2021 Tilly worked with Alexandra Palace, co-producing Rhythm Stick: We Love to Party, an online event, held for and by disabled identifying adults. She also acted as assistant director for Molly’s Masquerade, an immersive, interdisciplinary, multi-space queer community arts project in St Margaret’s House in Bethnal Green. Tilly has also worked as an assistant facilitator with Arcola Youth Theatre, for their Today I am Wiser festival.
With a background in education, Tilly acted as a Learning Support Assistant for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder and served as Drama Graduate for St Paul’s Boys School in 2017.
Alongside her love for improvisational comedy, Tilly has performed spoken word at the Roundhouse as a semi-finalist in their poetry slam, attended workshops for Words First with BBC1Xtra and the Contact Theatre Manchester. Having studied with Second City, Monkey Toast and The Free Association Tilly has also been a guest on BBC1 Radio, improvising with Greg James, Niall Horan and Zara Larsson for Banana Stand Productions.
Sebastian Black is an NZ / British musician, born in 1996 in Colchester, UK. He studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the University of Oxford, before studying with Sir George Benjamin at King’s College London. He is the current mentor composer at Péter Eötvös Foundation in Budapest, studying with Péter Eötvös and other composers including Unsuk Chin, Hans Abrahamsen, Stefano Gervasoni and Magnus Lindberg.
Recent works have included What Does The Harp Suggest? (premiered at the Budapest Music Center, 2023), Cantastoria for solo cello (for Smorgaschord 2022), Scherzo in La Maggiore (for orchestra, premiered in by Orchestra Wellington in New Zealand), We Dance, We Dance (for Meitar Ensemble in Tel Aviv, Israel), and The Mosaique of the Aire (for Het Concertgebouw’s Mahler Festival 2020).
Forthcoming projects include a new piece for Ensemble ARS NOVA in Annecy, France, a new piece for chamber orchestra, and a new large orchestral work for Péter Eötvös Foundation.
His writing about music has appeared in publications in the UK and India. A new article on Hans Abrahamsen was published in TEMPO in 2023. His work is represented on SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music. He co-directs Smorgaschord.