MUSIC / Upbeat

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The Independent Culture
REVENGE must be in the air at the South Bank. After next month's unlikely 'Alternative Vienna' festival of new music with tunes, the contemporary hardliners get their own back with a week of modernist heavyweights in July, directed by George Benjamin. But there is a subversive hand at work in calling the week 'Meltdown'. This, you won't need reminding, is the name for a type of nuclear disaster. The radioactive fuel overheats, breaks out into the environment, and in mythical extreme cases melts right through to the other side of the Earth. Sounds painfully close to wish-fulfilment: did nobody there see The China Syndrome?

LEADING from the front, the percussionist Evelyn Glennie has put her name to a move for keeping the repertoire refreshed. A new generation of classical players may have been inspired to take up solo percussion, but what can they play? Into the gap between basic studies and the virtuoso avant-garde steps the Evelyn Glennie Award for Percussion Composition. This weekend the search for 'well written, fun to play and artistically important' scores arrives at a two-day climax in the Royal Military School of Music, Twickenham, with nearly 40 entries being played amid a splash of concerts. There will be coaching from London professionals, and sessions for Latin specialists and rhythm sections. Glennie has a master class on Sunday afternoon. She and her collaborator, the school's professor Paul Cameron, want the award to go international in future years.

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