Published on 01/02/22


Music Theatre Wales supports a new work by Welsh composer Luke Lewis based on the voices of the Rhondda Valley

Published on 01/02/22

Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta have been working together to support the development of a new work by Welsh composer Luke Lewis and Cardiff filmmaker and video artist Simon Clode.

The work will be premiered at a live performance at the Southbank Centre in London as part of the London Sinfonietta’s Writing the Future composer development scheme. Following this performance MTW will be exploring options to bring the piece to the South Wales Valleys where the original recordings were made in 1953 and 1970.

Inspired by ethnomusicologist and song collector Alan Lomax, Luke Lewis’ The Echoes Return Slow sparks a conversation between distant lost voices and our collective presents. Using speech transcription software to draw out the natural musical cadences of historic recordings of speech, and map them into melody, this innovative process reconnects with the sometimes sad, sometimes jovial songs and tales Lomax recorded in the Treorchy Miners Club as well as those collected for the film ‘Women of the Rhondda’ (1973), speaking of national identity, striking for better pay and conditions, unemployment, gender roles, language and culture; all themes as relevant today as they were fifty or a hundred years ago.

On working with Luke Lewis, Music Theatre Wales Director Michael McCarthy said

“We are proud to be supporting the development of Welsh talent and at the same time furthering our partnership with one of the world’s leading contemporary ensembles, as we look to the future and build on the past”.

Luke Lewis said

“Though we initially met to discuss broad themes with our shared Welsh connections, Michael became a pivotal figure in the development of the piece. He illuminated the potential of the work to extend beyond merely chamber music into something more multimedia and pioneering, and helped draw out how the material can connect to present day issues.”

The premiere will take place Sunday 6 February at Southbank Centre, London. Tickets are available now at

To find out more about Luke Lewis, visit his website

To find out more about Simon Clode, visit his website