Member biogs

See below for biographical information on some current members.

Alexander Blustin

Alexander Blustin composes mostly vocal and keyboard music. Having initially trained as a physicist, Blustin turned his focus to musical activities after several years working in astrophysical research, science operations and instrumentation projects. From 2012-2019 he was Administrator of Colchester New Music, organising calls for scores and concerts. He is currently involved with a range of musical projects including Colchester’s Moot Hall Organ and the Cambridge-based Erasmus Chamber Choir and Ensemble.

Key works include:

A little Syracuse prelude (2018), toy piano, selected for the Toy Piano 100 Project 2019.

Mass II (2018), SSATB. Premiere: London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, dir. Lottie Bagnall, St Magnus-the-Martyr, London, 2019

The grand circling of the cat-turkey (2019), suite for clavichord. Premiered by Francis Knights, 2018-2019.

Idle thoughts of owls (2017), two harpsichords or clavichords. Premiere: Pimlott Foundation, Colchester by the Knights-Tidhar Duo, 2018.

The children on the lawn (2014), two harpsichords, premiere: Robinson College, Cambridge by the Knights-Tidhar Duo, 2015

Mass I (2014), SATB (Kyrie-Gloria-Sanctus-Agnus Dei). Premiere: London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, dir. Christopher Batchelor, St Pancras Church, London, 2014

Dylan Christopher

As an undergraduate, Dylan completed his music studies with honours at Colchester Institute: Centre for Performing Arts, where he studied piano with Australian pianist Lesley Young, and composition with Dr Mark Bellis, completing his teacher training under mentorship of Phil Toms and Matthew Simpkins. There, in 2009, Dylan won Colchester Institute’s Canon Jack Award for Solo Piano adjudicated by Andrew Ball. He was awarded 2nd place in The Roy Teed Cup for Composition in 2010 adjudicated by Vincent Lindsay-Clarke. After graduating, Dylan continued his personal study by receiving coaching from Colchester-based Pianist, Ian Ray, director of Colchester Choral Society.

An avid musician, Dylan has performed in masterclasses with pianists Victor Sangiorgio and Lin Lin Tao, and, showcased his compositional work to Philip Cashian, Ian Clarke, Hans Kuijt and Jeffery Wilson. More recently, Dylan has established himself as a music educator in Colchester providing tuition, workshops and concert-performance opportunities to aspirant musicians young and old. A promoter and advocate of contemporary classical music, Dylan joined the membership of Colchester New Music in 2014.

For more information see:

Recordings of Dylan’s compositions can be found here:

Tom Lawrie

Tom is a budding composer from London. He has just finished his undergraduate studies in music at Colchester Institute, majoring under the guidance of Dr. Mark Bellis in composition. He will continue his studies in composition at Durham University from September. He won the 2014 Roy Teed Composer’s Cup at Colchester Institute with an orchestral overture inspired by the story of St. Kilda. His organ work, ‘Uncertainty’, was played in the Colchester New Music Organ Trail in September 2014. His influences are too many to list but Tom has a particular affinity for British and American composers. He enjoys trying to find new ways of structuring ideas, often, but not necessarily, with a tonal palette.

Much of Tom’s music has not been publicised, but some key works include:

Twisted Clarinot: 2014, for Clarinet and Piano – workshopped by A. Bailey and C. Finlay: listen here

Dancing Oboe: 2015, for Oboe and Piano: listen here

Elspeth Manders

Elspeth Manders is an 18 year old composer. She is a first year Music undergraduate at Worcester College, Oxford University.

Elspeth has had compositions premiered across the UK. In 2013 she won the South Berkshire Wind Band Young Composer Competition, and had her commemorative work ‘We Remember’ premiered in Reading. The same year, she also had her work for brass quintet, ‘Siamese Cats,’ premiered by the Bespoke Brass Band. This piece, alongside various piano compositions, is soon to be published by the Music Company Ltd.

As well as writing for wind and brass instruments, Elspeth also composes for choirs. She directed her own Cantatrici Choir 2013-2015, for whom she composed and arranged the repertoire. Over the past year, she has had her setting of William Blake’s ‘The Tyger,’ performed in Aldeburgh, and settings of Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘How to Die’ and ‘Everyone Sang’ performed in Chelmsford. Most recently, her setting of D.H Lawrence’s ‘Piano’ was premiered in Birmingham Town Hall, as part of the National Music for Youth finals; post which, she was awarded the ‘Award for Innovation’ for her role as a student composer, conductor and director.

Elspeth was also Principal Percussionist at the Chelmsford County High School for Girls till 2015, for which she received a Jack Petchey award for her role as performer and teacher to younger students. She was also Head Chorister at Chelmsford Cathedral, and this role enabled her to sing for Her Majesty the Queen on two occasions, and work alongside ensembles such as the King’s Singers. She is also a pianist, working towards her Dip ABRSM.

For more information, please visit her website at:

Jenni Pinnock

With a varied collection of influences, British composer Jenni Pinnock’s music has been described as “refreshing”, “imaginative” and “tantalizingly beautiful in smoothness and soul”. Her work is heavily influenced by nature and the world around us, is predominantly tonal, and has received performances around the UK and in Europe.

Jenni’s compositional voice is a sum of its parts – she is a firm believer that all the music she has studied and experienced has shaped her style. Her years of performing on the piano, saxophone and oboe are large influences, including time spent in choirs, big bands and orchestras. The Javanese gamelan and church bell ringing are other more unusual influences on her work.

Jenni graduated with first class honours from her BMus (hons) from Kingston University, and with merit from her intensive MMus in composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she studied with Stephen Montague and Gregory Rose. She was one of five composers chosen for the Adopt a Composer scheme 2013-14 and was awarded the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composers Award in 2014. She lives in South Cambridgeshire with her husband and two children.

Key works include:

Quangle Quadrille: 2014, for community choir, commissioned by Quangle Wangle Choir on the Making Music Adopt a Composer scheme; first perf Quangle Wangle Choir 20 Sept 2014, Weymouth Bay Methodist Church; listen to recording

Revolution: 2014, for orchestra, commissioned by Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra; first perf Aldworth Phil, 17 Jan 2015, Reading Town Hall listen to recording

Rains: 2014, piano, first perf Dylan Christopher, 23 Oct 2014, Swinburne Hall, Colchester Institute; listen to recording

Bells in the Rain: 2012, soprano+piano/’cello; listen to recording

Brass and Bronze: 2013, brass quintet; first perf Bespoke Brass, 13 Jul 2013, Headgate Theatre, Colchester; listen to recording

For further information see

Peter Thorne

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 masters 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. His music often features influences from various kinds of jazz and pop and is often colourful and rhythmic.

Peter’s music for wind ensemble is published by

And music for wind and piano by

He has recently written a sonata for piano which will be premiered in Frinton on Sea in November 2015 by the pianist Peter Seivewright, and there will be a concert including some of his music in Colchester in September. Other future plans include a performance of his piano concerto with Peter Seivewright as soloist. Details of these concerts will appear in due course on Peter Thorne’s website

Some recent pieces for flute and piano can be heard here, played by the young American flautist Emma Resmini.

Tim Torry

Born near Chelmsford in 1947, Tim Torry was educated at Colchester Royal Grammar School (where he later became Head of Music), the University of York and the Royal Academy of Music, where his teachers included the baritones Derek Hammond Stroud and, crucially, Robert Bickerstaff. Among his earlier teachers had been Norman Tattersall and Anthony Rolfe Johnson, although the seeds were sown with voice lessons at York with the great Professor Wilfrid Mellers’ wife, the mezzo-soprano Pauline Lewis.

Severe M.E. symptoms cut short his teaching and solo singing careers in the early ’90s but, later in that decade, extended treatment for the mercury amalgam poisoning (from which it was discovered that he was suffering) eventually led to his full recovery. During that time he benefitted greatly – both as a composer and in general – from practising Buddhist meditation.

He was able slowly to re-start composing in the late 1990s and his Ah, Spring: A Seasonal Sequence for Female Voices (of which a version for soprano and ensemble was performed in 2002 at a C.N.M. concert) was accepted onto the S.P.N.M. Shortlist in 2003. Subsequently, songs from The Face of Grief (as well as some piano music) were ‘Highly Commended’ by the S.P.N.M..

His output includes music for chamber groups, choirs (mixed, female and children’s), orchestra, solo instruments and solo voice and has been performed by ensembles such as the Composers’ Ensemble and Gemini, and soloists such as Sarah Leonard (soprano), Robin Michael (cello), Philip Smith (piano) and Roderick Williams (baritone).

In 2007, he was himself finally able to resume work as a baritone soloist, both in recitals and with choral societies, largely in the East Anglian area.

Julia Usher

Julia studied composition under Richard Orton and Robert Sherlaw Johnson, in Cambridge and York; and later, qualified as a practising music therapist at the Nordoff – Robbins Centre in London.

She enjoys collaborating with with scientists and visual artists; several of her pieces have included electronic elements, and often incorporating natural and other environmental sounds in her music. She has written a number of Music Theatre pieces, notably The Orford Merman (1989) and Hope’s Perpetual Breath (1993, Purcell Room). In 2003, Metier Records released Sacred Physic: a CD of five of her major compositions.

She has been Composer in Residence on three occasions: first in 2002 to the Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra; then in 2004 to the George Watts Museum in Compton, Surrey for the centenary celebrations, working with Timothy West and Prunella Scales. Most exciting of all was a year working with a number of departments at the University of Central Lancashire, including the Music and the Astronomy departments, on a series of events to mark the 2012 Transit of Venus. Her wind duet was played live throughout the Transit event itself, in the Church in Much Hoole where Jeremiah Horrocks first observed the Transit in 1639. The performance was uploaded to a NASA satellite in real time worldwide transmission throughout the night.

Since 1980 she has published her music, in partnership with Welsh composer Enid Luff; under the name Primavera Music UK. In addition, six of her solo chamber pieces have been on Examination Syllabuses, including A Reed in the Wind (oboe); three of these were commissioned for Faber’s Unbeaten Tracks series.

During the last 15 years, she has been involved in many community and arts projects in Colchester. She encourages adventurous approaches to making music, from composers, performers, and working through improvisation. She is also Musical Director of CoMA EAST Firewire, and has managed a number of community projects in East Anglia. As a long time supporter of CNM, Julia assists in developing performance projects, and new strategies for the group, in collaboration with the executive committee.

Key recent works include:

The Painted Lake: Reflections: 2011, solo Flute/alto flute, performed by Nancy Ruffer for Crossing Borders Project, Primavera Music UK: Cardiff and Colchester. Projected for London Wind Festival, October 2015.

Out There: 2011, Clarinet/bass clarinet, Projection and Multi track. Multimedia setting of a poem by Jamie McKendrick; performed by Sarah Watts, clarinet, and sound diffused by Stuart Russell. Jamie subsequently published his next book of poetry calling it Out There. CNM concert, Headgate Theatre.

The Transit of Venus: 2012, for Sop. Sax and Bb Clarinet. Year long composer residency with UCLAN, Lancashire to celebrate the 2012 Transit. The piece was performed in real time via a NASA satellite, uploaded from Much Hoole Church, Lancs.

Rumours of Cuts: 2013, Brass Quintet and multitrack electronics. Performed by Bespoke Brass, director Steve Drury; sound diffusion, Stuart Russell. With Multitrack. CNM concert in Headgate Theatre, Colchester.

BURNT LAYER: ALLCOMERS CHORUS, FOR BOUDICA PROJECT: 2014, instant “pop – up” SATB chorus: piano, gong and double bass, with projections. Words by JU. Performed by Equinox, as climax of Boudica’s Life sequence. Arts Action East. Headgate Theatre. Liaised with Colchester Archaeological Trust.

FABRICATIONS: 2014, Saxophone Quartet, commissioned by Saxshades, Yorkshire Saxophone Quartet.

The ART AND INDUSTRY OF PIPEWORK: 2015, for Organ and Electronics, commissioned by the Moot Hall Organ Heritage Lottery Project; performed twice at the opening Gala concerts for the reinstallment of the Moot Hall Organ, May 2015, in Colchester Town Hall.

For full list of works, go to Primavera website:

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