This quintet for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, ‘Cello and Piano follows Katsushika Hokusai’s ascending dragon in his ink painting on silk of the same name. One of the artists final works, the dragon is the distant protagonist in an allegory of Hokusai’s own desires to attain shin-myo, a state of divine wonder. Upon reaching his final (90th year) Hokusai is recorded as having said ‘If heaven will just grant me 5 more years of life, then I shall become a true artist’. Thus the piece attempts to capture this modest yet heart-breaking yearning for artistic and spiritual growth through a journey from the base of Hokusai’s grey-stone Mt. Fuji, up into the bitter snows and beyond, ascending a column of smoke into the rarefied sky.
Callum is a composer, conductor and pianist. He is Music Director of Opera Kensington. Recent compositions include Let’s Finish It, a commission from the Institute of Cancer Research for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Things that Sing a research-album for the eponymous mediaeval art/sound project led by Professor Emma Dillon in collaboration with the British Museum, the Courtauld Institute and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Upcoming projects include a symphony, Falling Cherry and Autumn Maples – a cantata for 16th century instruments on 40 Waka Poems as depicted in Tosa Mitsuoki’s masterpiece screen of the same name and the launch of a new period instrument ensemble based in Edinburgh, and an opera group based in Glasgow.