Awards for Artists
Image of Laurence Crane
Photo credit: Emile Holba

Laurence Crane

Laurence Crane (born 1961) often incorporates electronic instruments into classical works and uses commonplace musical objects in new structural and formal relationships. Chords and intervals in their most basic state, arpeggios, drones, cadences, fragments of scales and short stepwise melodies are presented in regular and irregular repetitions or juxtapositions that are partly intuitive and partly structured according to a formal scheme. He invents a new context for these objects, to discover a fresh beauty in the familiar and the ordinary.

Crane writes music largely for the concert hall, though his output includes pieces initially composed for film, radio, theatre, dance and installation. Between 1985 and 2003 Crane concentrated almost exclusively on writing miniatures; short pieces that are invariably focussed on a single idea. Over the past decade he has developed an interest in making longer works and several compositions since 2003 are extended pieces. These pieces explore the possibility of building a large-scale structure using the same type of static and reductive musical material that was examined in the miniatures.

He has worked with many ensembles in the UK and abroad, including Apartment House (UK), Plus-Minus Ensemble (UK), Ives Ensemble (Netherlands), asamisimasa (Norway), Cikada Ensemble (Norway) and Quatuor Bozzini (Canada).

I would like to thank the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for this award, which will undoubtedly make a huge difference to my life and work over the next three years. It will enable me to realise some larger projects, which might otherwise have been impossible to achieve. It is a great honour to have been selected for a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers and I feel more than a little overwhelmed to have been chosen to receive one!

Examples of work

Sound of Horse, 2009

for clarinet, guitar, percussion and cello.
20 minutes 30 seconds duration (extract 2m).
Commissioned and performed by ensemble asamisimasa.
Recording from ‘Laurence Crane: Sound of Horse’ (Hubro HUBROCD2582), released in 2016.

Seven Short Pieces, 2004

for small ensemble. This is the fifth movement of a seven movement work. 10 minutes 30 seconds duration (extract 1m 20s).
Commissioned by the Semley Music Festival-Performed by Apartment House.
Recording from ‘Laurence Crane: Chamber Works 1992-2009’ (Another Timbre at74x2), released in 2014.

Cobbled Section After Cobbled Section, 2016

for orchestra.
17 minutes duration (extract 1m 54s).
Commissioned by BBC Radio 3, performed by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov.

Holt Quartet, 2013

for string quartet.
5 minutes 30 seconds duration (extract 2m).
Written for Quatuor Bozzini, performed by Ives Ensemble.
Performed by Ives Ensemble.