The Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust

About Cornelius Cardew

Cornelius Cardew (1936-1981) was an important figure in British new music. He worked with Stockhausen, who said, "He was one of the best examples that you can find among musicians because he was well informed about the latest theories of composition as well as being a performer." Cardew became critical of the avant-garde, giving the performer a direct role in shaping the music.

The seven "paragraphs" of The Great Learning took shape as the Scratch Orchestra was founded and developed, a significant turning point. The Scratch Orchestra made music together, taking its performances not only to concert venues but to village halls. It politicised its participants with questions of "for whom?" and "who decides?". Cardew answered by taking up Marxism-Leninism. He wrote, "I have discontinued composing music in an avant-garde idiom", and lists its fragmentation, its indifference to the real situation in the world today and its individualist outlook as reasons. He found a way forward commensurate with his talents. The Piano Albums are based on revolutionary songs; the Thälmann Variations celebrate Ernst Thälmann, murdered by the Nazis. He was on the threshold of a new flowering when killed in the winter of 1981.

About the Trust

The Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust was set up on June 6, 2008. It became a registered charity on June 20, 2016. Its object is to finance concerts of the music of Cornelius Cardew, and encourage the writing and performance of new music which champions the enlightenment and progress of which Cornelius Cardew was a pathfinder. The trust works for the advancement of education in new music for the public benefit.

The trustees will administer the granting of funds in furtherance of the aims of the trust at their discretion; in particular, they will grant funds to applicants fulfilling the terms of the trust who apply to the trustees in writing for such a grant; the trustees may take such steps as they think fit, including the application of the trust funds, to make known the aims of the trust and its terms.

The trust relies on fund-raising among the people to finance its activities.

For further details, or to receive a copy of the full Declaration of Trust, please email