Category Archives: Call for scores

Announcing the Piano Project 2018 shortlisted works

We can now announce the shortlist of pieces for CNM’s Piano Project 2018, presented in collaboration with EPTA. These pieces, written by contemporary composers for learner pianists of ABRSM grade 1-5 standard, form the list from which students and teachers will select works for the final concert in Chelmsford in summer 2018. The shortlisted works are:

SleepwalkingAnna Appleby

RobotAran Browning

Five Pulse PiecesPaul Burnell
Just Before DawnPaul Burnell
Trying to RememberPaul Burnell
Soften Swords Paul Burnell

Rabbits Teresa Chapman
New BootsTeresa Chapman
The Lonely ChickenTeresa Chapman
Can my Heart Escape this Sadness?Teresa Chapman

For EllieDylan Christopher
SimplicityDylan Christopher
ElegyDylan Christopher
WaltzDylan Christopher

Minor sadnessMartin Devek

Prelude in C MinorLaurence Glazier

In AutumnMelanie Green
MusingsMelanie Green

SeeSaw 45Mel McIntyre
Taking TurnsMel McIntyre
The Jolly SailorMel McIntyre
LargoMel McIntyre

Reminisce Jenni Pinnock
AllegrettoJenni Pinnock

RodeoRoger Sciachettano

Little BoatPeter Thorne

Tonal tunes and modal melodies 2: Variations on a wistful tuneTim Torry
Tonal tunes and modal melodies 5: A Scots SaddhuTim Torry
Tonal tunes and modal melodies 6: Variations on a Sea Song, The Drunken SailorTim Torry

Ancestors’ FootstepsIan Wilson
 

Composer biographies

Anna Appleby is an award-winning, Manchester-based composer and the 2016/17 Rambert Music Fellow. She has written for artists including the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Cavaleri Quartet, the Hermes Experiment, the BBC Singers, Manchester Camerata, Jonathan Powell, Het Balletorkest and A4 Brass. Collaboration is at the heart of her creative practice.

A composer from the Lake District, Aran Browning (b. 1994) recently graduated with First Class Honours from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under Rory Boyle and Gordon McPherson. Since coming to Glasgow his collaborators have included Live Music Now, Red Note Ensemble, Inclusive Creativity, BBC SSO, Drake Music Scotland, Ensemble Modern, Leeds Lieder and Strathendrick Singers through Adopt a Composer.

Paul Burnell (b. 1960) is a composer and musician based in London. His compositions can be heard on his albums, including ‘Leaving the Party on Pluto’, ‘Cabbage Heads’, and ‘Acute Suites’. An album with pianist James Bacon was released in 2016 and ‘Accompanied Readings Vol.2’ is due for release in 2018.

Theresa Chapman is a Colchester-based Piano Teacher, and also works as a Music Tutor for Essex Music Services. She holds both a B.Mus degree from the University of Cape Town and an Honours degree in Music from Stellenbosch University.

Dylan Christopher (b. 1987) completed his music studies with honours at Colchester Institute, where he studied piano with Australian pianist Lesley Young, and composition with Dr Mark Bellis. A promoter and advocate of contemporary classical music, Dylan joined the membership of Colchester New Music in 2014.

Martin Devek (b. 1979) is a multidisciplinary artist, creator of original music, film and fine arts. Born in Buenos Aires (Argentina), he is currently working in Northern Ireland and England. His compositions for dance & theatre pieces include ‘Knowing the dance’ performed at Brian Friel Theatre (Belfast), Dance Ireland (Dublin) and Down Arts Centre (Downpatrick); ‘IReflexes’ performed at R-Space Gallery, (Lisburn), The International Meta-Body Symposium (Brunel University, London) and Black Box (Belfast); ‘A Spoonful of Jelly’, performed at the Belfast children Festival 2014, the Banbridge Box and the Down Arts Centre; ‘Bubbleloon’, performed at the Belfast Children Festival (2013) and the Crescent Arts Centre (Belfast). Martin holds a BA in Music, from CONSUDEC (Argentina), a Masters Certificate in Composing music for Film and TV from Berklee College of Music (USA), and an MA in Computer Music from Maynooth University (Ireland).

Laurence Glazier studied mathematics at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. After lessons in composition from Chris Sansom, he studied Harmony and Counterpoint at the City Lit in London, where one lecturer was Colchester composer Alan Parsons with whom he later undertook many years of study.

Melanie Green (b. 1977) works as both a music tutor and a maths tutor in Cambridgeshire. She studied in London: Music at Royal Holloway; Ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies; and Community Music at Goldsmiths College. She plays cello and Balinese gamelan.

Mel McIntyre (b. 1957) is a writer, musician and composer living near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Originally from Canada, Mel has been living in the UK since 1983. He began his career as a music teacher and has written lots of music aimed at helping people learn to play.

Jenni Pinnock is a composer, teacher and arranger based in Cambridgeshire, UK. She studied at Kingston University (BMus) and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (MMus), and has had her music performed by a variety of ensembles across the UK and worldwide. For more information about Jenni and her music, please see her website jennipinnock.com.

Roger Sciachettano (b. 1947, Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt) is a retired primary teacher and an amateur composer who started taking lessons with Peter Thorne in January 2016. He very much enjoys composing and arranging.

Peter Thorne (b. 1955) has been composing music since the age of about 12. He read music at Oxford and the UEA, where he took a master’s degree. Over the years he has written in many different styles and genres but most recently he has been writing for wind instruments and piano. Peter’s music often features influences from various kinds of jazz and pop and is often colourful and rhythmic. He has written two piano sonatas and other pieces for the concert pianist Peter Seivewright who is in the process of recording them for a CD. Peter’s music for wind ensemble is published by http://www.soundthetrumpets.com and music for wind and piano by http://www.warwickmusic.com.

Born near Chelmsford, Tim Torry was educated at Colchester Royal Grammar School (where he later became Head of Music), York University and the RAM. During the 1970 and 80s he was well-known locally as a baritone/bass soloist, and also as a composer-member of CNM. Severe ME symptoms cut short his career in 1992, but treatment for mercury amalgam poisoning led to his full recovery and, eventually, a return to solo singing in 2007. Encouragingly, a work of his was accepted onto the SPNM Shortlist in 2003 and his song cycle The Face of Grief received four festival performances in July 2015 from Roderick Williams (baritone) and Susie Allan (piano); the ‘Three Choirs’ one was broadcast on Radio 3, a broadcast that was repeated in 2016.

Ian B. Wilson (b. 1967) is a music graduate of Durham University, where he received composition lessons from Robert Casken. ‘Come and Rejoice in Jesus’, an album containing songs written for his church, is available online. The Dunblane Chamber Orchestra performed his ‘Three Songs from A Shropshire Lad’ in May 2012 and his compositions have been performed by, among others, the St. Bonaventure’s School Choir and the Colchester New Music Group. Ian is a secondary headteacher in London.

Advertisements

Results announced for CNM two harpsichords call

CNM 2-Hps poster 280418We are delighted to announce the results of CNM’s call for scores for two harpsichords, which attracted 27 entries in a fabulous range of styles from composers around the world. Having worked through all of these, Francis Knights and Dan Tidhar have chosen to perform the works listed below at an April afternoon concert in the beautiful setting of the Pimlott Foundation‘s Old Barn in Great Horkesley.

These pieces have been selected as they are well-suited to the specific sound and playing technique of the harpsichord (rather than the modern piano), are technically feasible on the available instruments, and are of suitable duration and level of complexity to be well realisable within the available rehearsal time:

A prelude and two fugues – Mark Bellis

A thousand pines, one moon (movement 1) – Ivan Božicevic

Conversations – Theresa Chapman

daybook – D. Edward Davis

Elements – Janet Oates

Spring Rounds: Agon – Randall Snyder

Looking back – José Jesus de Azevedo Souza

Dap dap da da dap – Peter Thorne

Passacaglia – Low water – Stephen Watkins

Tarantella – Ian Wilson

Counterfeit – Rasmus Zwicki

CONCERT DETAILS

3pm, Saturday 28 April 2018 at the Old House Barn, Old House Road, Great Horkesley, Colchester CO6 4EQ, UK; tickets £8/£6 concessions, available from Eventbrite.

COMPOSER BIOGRAPHIES

Mark Bellis studied at Cardiff, Durham and Cambridge Universities with Dr David Wynne, David Lumsdaine & John Casken. In 1985 he was awarded a PhD in Composition from Durham University. He has had performances at the Purcell Room, London, and on Radio 3. He composed a large-scale orchestral work for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and more recently, much choral music. Since 2005, Mark has been Course Leader for the BA Music programme at Colchester Institute, Essex.

Ivan Božicevic (* 1961) is a composer, organist, pianist, arranger and jazz musician in Split, Croatia. His output encompasses orchestral, chamber, choral and soloistic works, as well as electronic compositions. He is interested in a variety of genres (early and baroque, electronic, jazz, world music) and the possibility of “cross-fertilizations“ between those genres, always aiming for the stylistic amalgamation on a deeper level. http://www.ivanbozicevic.com

Theresa Chapman is a Colchester-based Piano Teacher, and also works as a Music Tutor for Essex Music Services. She holds both a B.Mus degree from the University of Cape Town and an Honours degree in Music from Stellenbosch University.

D. Edward Davis writes music that engages with the sounds of the environment, exploring processes, patterns, and systems inspired by nature. He is currently based in Connecticut, USA, where he is a Practitioner-in-Residence at the University of New Haven. sound.warmsilence.org

Janet Oates has a PhD in composition from Royal Holloway, University of London, and is active in various composers’ and contemporary music groups around London. She also sings (early and contemporary music), teaches and conducts.

Randall Snyder was born in Chicago in 1944 and attended University of Wisconsin earning a DMA degree in 1973. He has taught at colleges in Illinois, Wisconsin and for several years at the University of Nebraska. He currently is a free lance musician living in Lincoln, NE. and adjunct professor at Peru State College.

José Jesus de Azevedo Souza studied in England at the Purcell School with a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He then studied at the Trinity College of Music and the University of Sheffield. His music has since been extensively performed in Europe, Asia and the United States as well as recorded on Sarton Records and Dux.

Peter Thorne has been composing music since the age of about 12. He read music at Oxford and the UEA, where he took a master’s degree. Over the years he has written in many different styles and genres but most recently he has been writing for wind instruments and piano. Peter’s music often features influences from various kinds of jazz and pop and is often colourful and rhythmic.
http://www.peterthornemusic.co.uk/composing

Stephen Watkins studied trombone, piano and recorder as well as composing at the Guildhall School of Music. Currently he is involved in writing large scale pieces for recorder orchestra. His own composition style very much reflects the wide range of music styles. He is published by houses in Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, USA and at last UK!

Ian Wilson is a music graduate of Durham University, where he received composition lessons from Robert Casken, and is currently a secondary head teacher. An album, called ‘Come and Rejoice in Jesus’, containing songs written for his church, is available on iTunes. The Dunblane Chamber Orchestra performed his ‘Three Songs from A Shropshire Lad’ in May 2012. ‘The Sleep’, a setting of an Elizabeth Barrett-Browning poem, was performed by members of CNM in June.

Rasmus Zwicki is Danish born composer currently residing in London, where he studies with Laurence Crane at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His music is stylistically multilingual, often mixing the specific elements of various musical genres and traditions that best communicate the core ideas of a particular work. http://rasmuszwicki.com

CNM calls for scores: Piano Project 2018

CNM and Dylan Christopher are pleased to announce the launch of Piano Project 2018 in collaboration with EPTA-UK; a call for scores for works aimed at aspirant pianists of ABRSM grade 1-5 standard.

The selected pieces will be performed by students of EPTA-UK teachers in a collaborative concert in June 2018. Full information on the call for scores can be found at:

https://colchesternewmusic.com/calls-for-scores/call-for-scores-piano-project-2018/

Beaks and Quills re-invented: a new repertoire for recorder quartet with harpsichord

This article by Alexander Blustin first appeared in the Newsletter of the National Early Music Association (NEMA), Volume i/1 (January 2017) – reproduced by kind permission of the Editor.

Do you ever have the feeling that you always play the same eight pieces? Have you explored the entire extant historical repertoire of your instrument … twice? Curious about whether there is anything new out there, but uncertain whether you’d like it, or even be able to play it?

Early music performers are often aware that music is still being written for their instruments. They might not, however, know that they can influence the process to obtain the repertoire they really want. In 2016 the Colchester New Music (CNM) composers’ co-operative completed a project to generate works for an ‘early instrument ensemble’ with no existing historical repertoire: recorder quartet with harpsichord. What follows is how did we do it, and what we discovered along the way.

CNM’s membership includes NEMA’s Francis Knights, and Stephen Watkins, who directs the Dulcis Venti recorder quartet. Since recorders and harpsichords tend to be found in the same places – concerts, workshops, festivals and so on – we thought that SATB recorder quartet with harpsichord seemed an obvious combination. Intriguingly, though, it appeared to be completely unexplored by composers of the past, thereby offering today’s composers the chance to be the first to write for it.

So this presented an ideal opportunity for a Call for Scores. This is an exercise where a performer or promoter issues a public request for composers to submit works, with the ultimate aim of selecting some for performance. We compiled a Call document inviting composers to write for Dulcis Venti with Francis Knights as harpsichordist. It contained the technical parameters of the instruments, maximum duration for pieces and a submission deadline; we asked for ‘attractive, imaginative, practical and programmable works … feasible for performance by professional players with limited rehearsal time’.

The Call for Scores was posted on CNM’s website, and linked from listings on sites frequented by composers seeking competitions and opportunities: womeninmusic.org.uk, composerssite.com and soundandmusic.org. Adverts also went to some university music departments.

We received 23 entries originating from composers in the UK, Italy, Serbia, USA, Australia, Austria and Germany; ten of these were selected for performance, plus one from a parallel student project with the Colchester Institute. There was also a commissioned work from Ivan Moody and a suite of pieces by Stephen Watkins himself.

Dulcis Venti and Francis Knights at the premieres in Colchester, June 2016 (photo: Alexander Blustin)

Who entered the call? Submitters ranged from students and amateurs to established professional composers. Styles ranged widely. Pastiche baroque, serial, experimental, neo-romantic, soundscape, minimalist and even cartoon soundtracks were all represented. The recorder writing was generally competent, and given the current prevalence of computer typesetting, score presentation was usually good. The keyboard writing was more variable, however, and some of the music was clearly conceived for Sibelius software rather than human performers.

Since the purpose of this project was to generate a practical repertoire which performers would want to use, the players themselves had total control over selection. This can be controversial with composers. Will the musicians just choose the easy pieces? Will they be biased against anything original and challenging? How far will they dare to move outside their comfort zone, stylistically and technically?

The rehearsal process turned out to be a lot more effort than anyone expected, partly due to this latter issue. Dulcis Venti had to work hard to come to terms with aesthetics far removed from normal recorder territory. As well as technical difficulties, there were questions of taste, quality, and how much effort should be made with something totally alien before ruling it out. Are certain works not music at all but ‘sound art’, and therefore beyond the remit of musicians altogether?

The other major source of difficulty was having a complete concert programme of new works for a new ensemble in a new genre, written by composers often new to the instruments. Classical musicians can easily forget that their repertoire has gone through generations of editors. Newly composed works are, by contrast, sometimes in a raw state. Early musicians are well positioned to cope with this, being used to critical engagement with their sources, though there are the extra factors of copyright and opinionated living composers to consider. The ideal approach is for performer and composer to collaborate on editing, as this is the only way to ensure that the composer will do it right next time.

The final concert was held on 4 June 2016 at the Headgate Theatre, Colchester, an intimate space ideal for chamber music. The audience of around 40 included several of the composers, who had come from as far afield as Austria and Germany. A review of the concert appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of Recorder Magazine, with detailed commentary on the individual works. Recordings of many of them are now available on CNM’s website https://colchesternewmusic.com, and enquiries about the sheet music are most welcome; the harpsichord parts are playable on any five-octave instrument.

Across the programme as a whole, the main difficulties for performers were caused by the surprisingly widespread use of 5/8 time signatures, impractically fast tempi, virtuosic, complex writing, and discomfort with serialism. In hindsight, a workshop with the composers would have been ideal for problem-solving and managing expectations. We also learned that there is a safe limit to the amount of new music for chamber ensemble which can sensibly be tackled in a single concert.

Did we discover why nobody has ever composed for recorder quartet with harpsichord? No. Professional recorder quartets and harpsichordists have separate repertoires and therefore no reason to share a stage. But that is simply saying that because there is no repertoire they don’t play together, and because they don’t play together there is no repertoire. The mystery continues.

Overall, though, it was a fascinating project which certainly achieved its aims. There are thousands of contemporary classical composers active around the world today, working in a vast range of styles. They are there to write music for you, the performer, and they would love to hear from you.

Composer, artist and author Alexander Blustin is Administrator of Colchester New Music; calls@colchesternewmusic.com

NB The title of this article pays homage to the titles of two of the selected works: Of Beaks and Quills by Janet Wheeler and Five-Part re-Invention by Ron Hannah.