Seventh Festival of American Music


Seventh Festival of American Music

Lontano’s Biennial Festival – created in 2006 – explores and celebrates the work of major American composers and reflects the variety of style that is so characteristic of contemporary American music today.

The festival programme was put together by Lontano’s Music Director Odaline de la Martinez, one of Britain’s most dynamic and gifted musicians and the first woman to conduct a complete BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall.

This year’s festival celebrates American Diversity featuring not only American Women Composers, but also American Composers of Colour.

To find out more, please click here to view the full release.

Further up-to-date information will be posted on our Facebook page.

Tickets can be booked online at EventBrite.


A Concert Celebrating Nicola LeFanu’s 70th Birthday

Nicola LeFanu is one of the most outstanding composers of her generation. She has composed around one hundred works for a variety of mediums and has been widely played, broadcast and recorded. LeFanu has written eight operas and other dramatic works which have been staged in UK, Ireland and USA. In the concert we include three works for singers: The Same Day Dawns – a lyric work for Soprano and ensemble, A Penny for a Song and The Swan.

The Swan will be an English/London Premiere. Born in England in 1947 to Irish parents; her mother was the composer Elizabeth Maconchy. LeFanu studied at Oxford, RCM and Harvard and is active in many aspects of the musical profession. In April she celebrated her seventieth birthday, and was BBC Radio 3 ‘Composer of the Week’. 2017 has also seen premieres of five new works, including The Crimson Bird for soprano and orchestra. Commissioned by the RPS and premiered on February 17th 2017 by BBCSO with Rachel Nicholls, soprano.


The Songs of Grace Williams

Lontano Records releases an album of welsh composer Grace Williams’ vocal works, featuring baritone Jeremy Huw Williams.

Considered to be Wales’ most notable female composer, Grace Williams (1906-1977) was a student of Vaughan Williams. Her most well known works include Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes (1940) and Penillion (1955), which was written for the National Youth Orchestra. In 1949 she also became the first British woman to write the score for a feature film, with the British drama Blue Scar.

Though her instrumental work remains in the performance canon, her vast number of vocal works have been largely neglected. This CD features songs that span the entire duration of her compositional career – from Slow fresh fount (c.1925), a setting of words from Ben Jonson’s Cynthia’s Revels, to My Last Duchess (1974), a setting of Robert Browning’s poem, written just three years before her death.

This CD also features William’s own arrangements of welsh traditional songs (such as Jim Cro, Hushaby my pretty one, and Brecon), while traditional folk melodies are also incorporated into her own music.

In 1992 Odaline de la Martinez founded Lontano Records (LORELT), which promotes the work of female composers, such as Grace Williams, contemporary composers and Latin American music. Lorelt has previously recorded Williams’ short work Hiraeth on Sea of Glass, an album of harp music released in 1997.

Click here to read the full press release.


Boatswain’s Mate CD of the Month in new Opera Magazine

We are very pleased to announce that The Boatswain’s Mate – the Smyth CD which has just been released is now CD of the month for the new Opera Magazine.
To read the review – please click here.


Retrospect Opera announces Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate

Retrospect Opera is pleased to announce the release of its debut recording, the first complete recording of Dame Ethel Smyth’s most popular opera, The Boatswain’s Mate, conducted by Smyth specialist Odaline de la Martinez.

The Boatswain’s Mate proved the most popular of all the early twentieth-century British operas, making use of folk music to depict something of realistic rural life. Smyth’s suffragette anthem, The March of the Women, is significantly incorporated into the overture, and nursery rhymes and folk tunes are utilised in the main body of the work.

Smyth prepared two versions of her score, one for full and one for reduced orchestra, itself with two versions, small and smaller. We are using the smaller reduced version as The Boatswain’s Mate is a small-scale work, ideally suited for smaller companies and venues. Smyth clearly wanted it to be a popular work and regarded the reduced orchestral versions as essential for its wider cultural diffusion.

One of the liveliest and most enterprising musical personalities on the International music scene, Cuban American Odaline de la Martinez pursues a demanding and successful career. Brought up and educated in the USA, she settled in London and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1984, Martinez became the first woman to conduct a BBC Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Since then she has been invited to the Proms regularly, including a special performance in 1994 of Dame Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers.

A review of the CD can be found here.


London Festival of American Music

Cuban conductor and composer Odaline de la Martinez announces the programme for the 6th London Festival of American Music, with a focus on female composers and performers.

The Festival will showcase works by both male and female composers, with an unusually high percentage of works by the latter (50%). Martinez has also programmed a significant number of premieres – 19 UK premieres and 7 world premieres – throughout the festival.

Martinez initiated the festival ten years ago and it has since become a biennial fixture to celebrate contemporary American music in the UK. The aim of the festival is to promote the work of outstanding American composers, well established in the States but less known to UK audiences.

To find out more, please click here to view the full press release.

Further up-to-date information will be posted on our Facebook page.


Ernesto Nazareth

CD of piano music by Ernesto Nazareth

We are pleased to announce the release of Portrait of Rio on the Lontano record label, Lorelt. This CD features piano music by Ernesto Nazareth, the first classical Afro-Brazilian composer, performed by Clelia Iruzun and can be purchased here.

Music score

Publications section

We have now set up a publications section in the Lorelt website where you can purchase scores. Currently available is a new edition of Ethel Smyth’s Symphonic Serenade edited by artistic director of Lontano, Odaline de la Martinez, with many more works to be added soon. Scores and parts are available as both downloads and hard copies here.

This initiative is supported by the Ambache Charitable Trust and Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy.Ambache_logo_and_strap


Opera Ebony produce video of Imoinda

We are delighted to announce that, with the help of funding from Opera America, African-American Opera company Opera Ebony will be producing a video of Imoinda, the first part of Odaline de la Martinez’s Slavery Trilogy. The sequel to this trilogy, The Crossing was premiered in November 2014 to a sold out audience in London.

Radio 3

International Women’s Day Concert

We are always delighted to celebrate the work of women composers who we have been championing since our inception in 1976.

On 8th March 2015,  Lontano were delighted to take part in a breakfast concert broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in celebration of International Women’s Day and featuring an all female programme, including music by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clare Schumann, Caroline Shaw, Elena Ruehr and Odaline de la Martinez.