BSO New Music Group
Kokoro is the contemporary music ensemble of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The title ‘Kokoro’ comes from the Japanese word meaning ‘heart’, and the group comprises both players from the BSO and freelance musicians committed to performing 20th century and contemporary ensemble music. Founded in 1994 by Kevin Field, a former member of the BSO, Kokoro has also been closely associated with Mark Forkgen who was appointed the ensemble’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser in September 2002.
The ensemble has performed throughout the south and south west at venues such as the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon, Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter, The Anvil, Basingstoke, Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton, Bridport Arts Centre, and Dartington College of Arts, as well as at the Cheltenham and Corsham Festivals. It has also performed at the Royal Festival Hall.
The Ensemble has commissioned several works from composers including Eleanor Alberga, Keith Tippett, Piers Hellawell, Geoffrey Poole and Stephen McNeff. Other premieres include works by Sir John Tavener, Hugh Wood, Richard Blackford, Stephen Pratt, Hywel Davies, Joe Duddell and Colin Riley. It has also made a CD of Riley’s music. In recent years Kokoro has organised annually a series of highly successful mini-festival days devoted to Maxwell Davies, Stravinsky, South-West Composers, Britten, and Music of the Kokoro’s ‘Take it to the Max’ mini-festival of 2004 was attended by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and was short-listed for a Royal Philharmonic award. During Stephen McNeff’s tenure as RPS/PRSF Composer-in-the-House with the BSO, Kokoro gave the premieres of four of his works, including the stand-up comedy opera Strip Jack Naked.
Kokoro gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Arts Council England as well the following Trusts and Foundations which have supported its work in the past:
- The Holst Foundation
- The Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust
- The Britten-Pears Foundation
- The Britten Estate
- The PRS Foundation
- The Hinrichsen Foundation
- The Idlewild Trust
- The Valentine Charitable Trust