At the end of 2014 I decided to write a series of 17 or more symphonies, of which around 12 are already completed, being worked on and recorded.
Since around 1979 the Michael Nyman Band has always been my 'travelling symphony orchestra': the instrumentation is somewhat classical (strings, woodwind, brass - with a piano/bass guitar 'rhythm section'), volume is given through amplification. Equally important was the fact that the Band gave me the opportunity to continue being a performer/music director and to develop a wider audience that might never knowingly be familiar with the sound of an orchestra.
When I have written large-scale compositions for soloists, I did of course use the orchestra, rather than the Band - there are concertos for Gidon Kremer, Elisabeth Chojnacka, Kathryn Stott, the Labeque Sisters, John Harle, Julian Lloyd Webber, Christian Lindberg, and Colin Currie, amongst others, and Musique à Grande Vitesse (MGV) is essentially a large-scale Concerto Grosso for the amplified Michael Nyman Band and unamplified orchestra.
However now, the symphony series dispenses with amplification and a soloist and allows me to create a greater textural diversity, more sophisticated structures for an audience that is familiar with the concert stage, filled with a large number of acoustic instruments. 'Symphony No.11: Hillsborough Memorial' (a kind of transcription of 'Memorial' that I wrote for Sarah Leonard and the Michael Nyman Band in the wake of the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985), has already been released on MN Records and now Symphonies Nos. 5 and 2 are presented as the next in the series of the Symphonies. Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 8 have also been recorded and are to be released in 2017.