Planet Tree Music Festival – overview

Challenging new radiant music for the lighthearted cultured.

I founded the Planet Tree Music Festival in 1996 and have put on 8 festivals so far, the 9th coming up in October this year. It is based in London, UK.
I felt and feel that experimental and contemporary music can be harmonious, tonally and emotionally, and be refined, challenging and full of life.
I have put forward Terry Riley, Alan Hovhaness, Jean Catoire, Kaikhosru Sorabji, Erik Satie, and others who deserve more recognition, including myself, James D’Angelo and Keith Barnard.
In later years composer/pianist Alessandra Celletti has performed and returns this year,
and I am this year featuring the late composer Simeon Ten Holt and his champion, composer/pianist Jeroen Van Veen.

I hate to use the S-word, but the word spiritual, as well as new tonal, has been used to distinguish the festival from more generic new music.
 All the composers I cherish, including myself (!) have a mystical dimension.
The festival supports music of long duration, also combinations of 2 or more arts media including poetry, painters, multi-media installation and computer graphic video.
The influence from beyond classical-based music is also considerable, of ancient, planet-wide traditions, and more popular forms.
I tend not to feature over complex, serial or 12-tone music.
The festival’s recognition has been slow, we have yet to have concerts or concert recordings broadcast in the UK, and audiences have yet to become substantial.
I am continuing this line of concert making until I feel that there is recognition of this group of composers.

Arvo Part, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, and especially the wonderful Kronos Quartet have made popular the en-friending of experiment in music,
but I feel there is a current of creativity behind the more recognised individuals that must be shared and given plenty of oxygen.
The late Jean Catoire for instance who went light years beyond other composers in his energetic qualities of inspiration.
The late Alan Hovhaness also, particularly in Europe, has yet to be truly understood as the vast spirit that integrated ancient Asia into symphonic and chamber music, with incredible verve.

As a musical entity I am sometimes criticised or even branded as mad by those who are identified with their own path in performing or composing.
I have been fortunate enough to see beyond myself sufficiently to be able to express my gratitude to inspirational individual muses in a practical as well as verbal or personal manner.
It’s also an example of the principle that generosity returns to the fortunate generous, to which I can testify with vigour.

The Festival is a tonal contemporary music festival, presenting a non-commercial / high artistic integrity face of new musical sound.
This festival has a small number of quite idiosyncratic aims, working within the general field of contemporary concert music.

It offers music that is contemporary but harmonious, experimental yet accessible.
The more tonal end of the spectrum, less than the more aggressive, more predominantly intellectual aspects.
Music that deals dominantly with the brighter side of musical expression.

Music of long duration is especially favoured. In 1998, the UK premiere of “For Philip Guston” (4 hours long) by Morton Feldman was presented.
Under-recognised composers – particularly those who have sought beauty and the innovative at the expense of “career” as a composer.

Music linking with other artistic media, eg with poets, painters, with computer graphics.
Links with other musical genres, eg Indian or Moroccan ethnic music, or with jazz, rock or other idioms, but not to dilute the main aim as one of new concert music.

“Uncompromising in its artistic integrity, this festival is a rare and cherished event” – Terry Riley

“…..the ever progressive Planet Tree Music Festival.” – The Observer

Festival Director – Lawrence Ball


Planet Tree Music Festival – overview — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Lawrence,

    I’ve just stumbled across your website and wondered whether you might want to promote any of the festival events to our membership?

    let us know your thoughts,

    best wishes


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