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Jonny Greenwood - Smear

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Published on Apr 3, 2011

London Sinfonietta

Martyn Brabbins: conductor

Valerie Harmann-Claverie: ondes martenot

Bruno Perrault: ondes martenot

Jonny Greenwood is best known as the lead guitarist of the band Radiohead whom he joined while still at school. He started to study psychology and music at Oxford Brookes University, but only finished his first term before leaving to sign a six-album deal with EMI, and start his recording career with Radiohead. Radiohead have realised phenomenal success over the past decade, with multi-platinum album sales and an ever growing worldwide following.
Greenwood is no stranger to classical music. Indeed, his early musical interests included Messiaen and Ligeti and he started out as a viola player. He plays several other instruments too, including piano, organ, banjo, glockenspiel and harmonica, and he has a particular love for the ondes Martenot. To date Greenwood has penned three "classical" works. Two of these compositions have been licensed to Faber Music: Smear (two ondes Martenots and ensemble) and Popcorn Superhet Receiver (string orchestra). The third, Piano for Children is currently under revision.

Smear, commissioned by the FuseLeeds festival, was premiered there in March 2004 by the London Sinfonietta. In March 2005 Greenwood was Featured Composer at the South Bank Centre's cutting-edge Ether Festival, where the revised version of Smear was performed by the London Sinfonietta in the Royal Festival Hall, one of its' two sell-out concerts there. Piano for Children, a new commission for John Constable and the London Sinfonietta, was in the concert programme, which also included music by Dutilleux, Penderecki, Ligeti, Messiaen and Mohammed Abdel Wahab. Smear was later released on CD on the London Sinfonietta Label as part of their Jerwood Series.

In 2004, Greenwood was made Composer in Residence with the BBC Concert Orchestra. The first fruit of this association was Popcorn Superhet Receiver, a BBC commission, premiered by the BBC Concert Orchestra and Robert Ziegler in April 2005. The piece was inspired by radio static and the extended, dissonant chords of Polish composer Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima

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