Fabia Mantwill resumes collaboration with the SNJO

Written by | Concerts, News

Berlin-based Fabia Mantwill resumes her collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra via the internationally acclaimed ensemble’s latest project, Nu-Age Sounds, from 1st to 3rd March.

A showcase for Scotland’s exciting young jazz scene, Nu-Age Sounds features new music by musicians including pianist Fergus McCreadie, saxophonists Helena Kay and Matt Carmichael, trombonists Noushy (Anoushka Nanguy) and Liam Shortall (aka corto,alto) and BBC Young Jazz Musician 2022, bassist Ewan Hastie.

Mantwill, who previously worked with the SNJO on its Apparition Bridge song cycle with singer Kurt Elling, is arranging the music of Noushy and the songs of another of Scotland’s trailblazers, the singer kitti, who like all the participants in Nu-Age Sounds is a multi-award winner.

A singer herself, Mantwill is particularly keen on the possibilities of direct communication that songs offer.

“With my own music, I aim to bring people together, offering a sense of hope and direction,” she says. “The core of my work as a composer and conductor is the fluid exchange both among the musicians within the ensemble and with the audience, blending diverse art forms and styles and creating moments where people come together and connect with each other.”

Fabia-Mantwill | Photo © Dovile Sermokas

As the musical director for a two-month Musicians without Borders project in Ghana in 2015, Mantwill says she witnessed the transformative power of music in fostering unity and understanding. “Music, for me, is a communal give-and-take,” she says. ”It’s an art form that connects people in ways nothing else can.”

Although her parents were not musicians, they were music enthusiasts and so Mantwill grew up with music. She went to a musical kindergarten and by the age of six she was taking classical piano lessons. Dissuaded from studying the violin by her folks, she took saxophone lessons instead from the age of ten.

Fabia-Mantwill | Photo © Dovile Sermokas

The ensemble that she formed in 2017 reflects both her upbringing in the European classical tradition and the musical curiosity that drew her to jazz, folk music, the singer-songwriter genre and indie music. Following its well-received debut, EM.PERIENCE, her ensemble releases its second album, featuring guests including clarinettist Anat Cohen and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, this spring. Before that, though, she has her SNJO commissions to deliver.

“I’m thrilled to be involved in the NU AGE SOUNDS program and to collaborate with the SNJO again,” she says. “The first time I worked with the orchestra I arranged Becca Stevens’ Ophelia with the amazing Kurt Elling. This time I’m arranging a longer piece that incorporates three of kitti’s songs.” Having listened to the Scottish singer’s work before she began to think about how she wanted to present her songs, Mantwill rates kitti very highly.

“Her soulful and touching voice reminds me a bit of Aretha Franklin, which is something I definitely want to capture in the arrangement,” she says. “But most important for me is to emphasise and colour kitti’s personal stories. And being able to use the rich and diverse sound palette of the SNJO for that is, of course, fantastic.”

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s Nu-Age Sounds tours to Dundee Rep Theatre on Friday 1st March before going on to the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow on Saturday 2nd March and the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh on Sunday 3rd March.

For further information, go to https://snjo.co.uk



Last modified: February 16, 2024