Geoff Palmer


  • Geoff is currently working on a substantial commissioned work for two members of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra – the principal bassist and the viola player Rose Shaw, who first came across Palmer’s work as a member of the Accordes Quartet who played his third quartet in 2002. This is a really good challenge! But just think of the wonderful soundcolours and textures are possible with these two instruments!
  • In an exciting development, Geoff has been commissioned to write a sixth string quartet, to be premièred by the Edinburgh Quartet in the Autumn of 2017. Watch this space for further details of the première, subsequent performances and the recording!
  • Antal and Aran Mojzer premièred Geoff’s “Woodshaving 1” for two bassoons at Korundi Hall in Rovaniemi in April. More woodshavings to follow…. But we must find a better name for the resulting work!
  • The new Concerto for Cello and Wind Soloists went down a treat in Rovaniemi, Inari and Karigasniemi in February this year. Thank you so much to Lauri Angervo and all the wind players. And thanks to Nicholas Daniel for his oversight and support with the project. We’re all talking about repeat performances and recordings….
  • September 2015 - much hasty orchestration taking place at the beginning of this month! University of Aberdeen composers (mostly staff and postgraduates) are each taking one of Moussorgsky's "Pictures" to orchestrate for the University Symphony Orchestra. Geoff picked "The Great Gate off Kiev"… all those notes!
  • As part of a quest to produce publicly available recordings of the five Palmer string quartets (and assorted quartets-plus-one), Adam Cresser, music technician at the University of Aberdeen has been helping Geoff to produce an audio presentation on CD which consists of a conversation about Geoff's string quartets which took place in London with Michael Berkeley in August 2015. The conversation discusses this part of Palmer's oevre and introduces extracts from performances of works written from the mid-1970s until the present. If you would like a copy of this CD, which alas will not be downloadable for copyright reasons, please get in touch through the Contacts page. Please let us know the nature of your interest too - quartet member, artistic director of a concert series/festival, or just a music lover! We are mightily encouraged by the reaction of one of our best string quartets and one of our best record labels, who would appear to be coming together to produce an initial CD of Palmer quartets! More soon.
  • August 2015 - the Lapland Chamber Orchestra's bassoonist, Antal Mojzer, asked Geoff the other day if he had any "shavings on the workshop floor" - by-products of the composing of the concertino work below (q.v.) which might be fashioned into bassoon duets for Antal to pay with his bassoonist son Aron. Geoff looked on the floor and found some bits and pieces which are apparently fitting the bill very nicely. "Waste not want not"??
  • Geoff has received a commission to write a 25-minute long concertino work for solo cello and wind instruments. The work will be premièred in Rovaniemi in northern Finland in Spring 2016. The soloist will be the Finnish cellist Lauri Angervo, and he will be partnered by members of The Chamber Orchestra of Lapland, who were visitors to the 2014 BBC Proms.
  • We were greatly saddened by the tragic death at the end of 2014 of the poet Anne Cluysenaar. Anne and Geoff worked together on several songs cycles, beginning in 1991 with If Mind Remember. Anne also provided the libretto for the one act opera Esther. At the time of her death we were half way through working on some settings of Anne's recent Diary Poems. The six songs that were finished at the time of her murder will be performed in the near future by Frauke Jurgensen (soprano) and Geoff Palmer (cello) - details soon. Our hearts go out to Walt.
  • World premières of new string quartets by Christopher Fox and Geoff Palmer were performed by the Edinburgh Quartet at King's College Chapel, University of Aberdeen on 26th October 2013. Palmer's quartet, his fifth in the medium, develops work achieved in previous quartets whereby atmosphere and colour are created through the combination of traditional and microtonal techniques. Review
  • Work in progress includes the complete revision and rewriting of Palmer's Violin Concerto. This work previously received partial performances in the late 1990s by Ruth Palmer, the composer's daughter, at the University of Bristol and the Royal Academy of Music, and the new revision is for the same soloist.

Three recent Toronto performances:

  • Fujiko Imajishi performed Reconciliation on 12 March 2010.
  • Robert Aitken, with the New Music Concerts Ensemble, performed Cancri 55 on 6th March 2011.
  • Array Ensemble performed Palmer's Chiaroscuro I as part of Arraymusic's "Small Wonders" concerts on November 9th and 10th 2013. The piece, for violin, piano and two percussionists, has as its starting and finishing points the D minor Ciacona of J S Bach. Listen to this work
  • Palmer's wind quintet, Auriga, written for the wind soloists of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, received acclaimed performances in November 2011 in Kings' College Chapel, Aberdeen (read review), with four subsequent performances in Finland and Slovenia in 2011/12.