“The performance was meticulously nuanced, witty and chic.” ★★★★ The Times
“This clever mix of instruments is more versatile than you might first think.” ★★★★ The Observer
“The combination of harp, clarinet, voice and double bass is not one you hear every day, but in the right hands it works brilliantly. The Hermes Experiment who sport this line-up have in a short few years commissioned prodigiously for it, opening a whole new expressive world” Evening Standard
“The Hermes Experiment last night were barmy but brilliant” Classical Music Magazine
“Groundbreaking” ★★★★1/2 The Reviews Hub
“Demonstrating boundless versatility and dexterity (…) gifted and exciting quartet” The CUSP
“odd but great” The Wire
“evocative sounds produced by this talented ensemble” Evening Standard
“The virtuosic skill of each member of the group was on display from the start (…) witty and engaging performance, leaving the listener constantly wondering what was coming next” London Jazz News
The Hermes Experiment is an ensemble of four young professional musicians passionate about contemporary and experimental music, inspired to create something innovative and unique. Based in London, The Hermes Experiment comprises Héloïse Werner (soprano), Oliver Pashley (clarinet), Marianne Schofield (double bass) and Anne Denholm (harp), who met whilst studying music at Cambridge University. It is co-directed by Héloïse Werner and Hanna Grzeskiewicz, also a graduate from Cambridge University. Capitalising on their deliberately idiosyncratic combination of instruments, the ensemble regularly commissions new works, as well as creating their own innovative arrangements and venturing into live free improvisation. So far, the ensemble has commissioned 40 composers at various stages of their careers, including Giles Swayne, Stevie Wishart and Misha Mullov-Abbado.
Winners of the Tunnell Trust Awards 2016, Park Lane Group Young Artists 2015/16, and winners of Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands 2014, The Hermes Experiment has established itself on the London contemporary classical scene, with regular performances across the city for organisations including Nonclassical, Kammerklang, Listenpony and Bastard Assignments. Recent highlights include a showcase performance at Tallinn Music Week 2017 and the ensemble’s debut at Southbank Centre and Kings Place.
The ensemble strives to create a platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration. In June 2015, they created a ‘musical exhibition’ with photographer Thurstan Redding, and in September 2016, they developed a new interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale during an Aldeburgh Music Residency. Reducing the play to an hour’s duration in collaboration with director Nina Brazier, composer Kim Ashton & five actors, The Hermes Experiment become part of the drama alongside a wonderful group of actors. The show premièred in London in December 2016.
The ensemble is also dedicated to the value of contemporary music in education and community contexts; they were accepted to Wigmore Hall Learning’s Chamber Tots and For Crying Out Loud schemes in 2014-15.
The Hermes Experiment repertoire list is available here.
The Hermes Experiment is generously supported by Arts Council England, Aldeburgh Music, the RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation, Britten-Pears Foundation, Future of Russia Foundation, Oleg Prokofiev Trust, Future of Russia Foundation and Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust.
“It was an enormous pleasure to write for The Hermes Experiment, and to work with them: they are four immensely talented young musicians with bags of enthusiasm and energy, and an impressive commitment to the material they perform. I think they have a very bright future.” Giles Swayne
“Unapologetically adventurous and fearless, these new kids on the block are shaking up the contemporary classical world through their lively performances and diehard commitment to new music.” Nonclassical
Tunnell Trust (February 2018)
Nonclassical (March 2017, June 2016 and 2014/15)
Rambert Dance (January 2017)
Ali Lewis, poet (November 2016)
New Dots (November 2016)
Nina Brazier, director (September -December 2016)
Cambridge Youth Music (October 2016)
Cambridge Film Festival (October 2016)
Alderburgh Music (September 2016)
Daylight Music (2016)
Zero Wave (2016)
Park Lane Group (2015/16)
Thurstan Redding, photographer (LOVESCAPES, a musical exhibition – 2015)
Wednesdays at the Forge (2015)
Kammer Klang (2015)
Rough for Opera (2015)
Somewhere in Particular (2015)
Bastard Assignments (2014/15)
Wigmore Hall Learning (2014/15)
UK Young Artists Festival (2014)
L’aura des Arts Festival (2014)