AaC piece 'Turbines'

Anna Appleby has been working alongside Merchant Sinfonia on the Adopt a Composer scheme. After a year of collaboration and composition, it's time for the premiere of Turbines

Merchant Sinfonia perform a fantastic first half of their 10th Anniversary Concert. The interval ends and I sit nervously and excitedly in Glasgow City Halls next to my mentor David Horne and my Edinburgh-based family who have travelled over for the concert. After a dynamic percussion piece, I am invited onstage by Alex Gascoine of the BBCSSO. We discuss the creation of Turbines with conductor Louise Martin and chair Allison Grant. I look out at a sea of cheerful and interested faces. I take my seat.

The orchestra begins, and the sound they make is just what I first imagined at their winter concert the December before.

I wanted to fill the hall with a new sound from this amazing community orchestra, and they do just that. The piece continues and it is the best they have ever played it, the hall is electrified and the audience are silent except for a few gasps and giggles when the whirly tubes emerge from the percussion section. Melodies crest in and out of view like the turbines did on my first train journey back from Glasgow to Manchester. The piece finishes with the atmospheric improvisation that we workshopped together, the strings diminuendo into silence and the silence stays until the applause starts.

I am clapping hard, I am so proud of what we have achieved and created together, and this is definitely our piece, our performance, our premiere.

Thank you Merchant Sinfonia for a wonderful and new experience this past year. Thank you for adopting me! I hope you continue to embark on exciting collaborations with performers and composers. I know I’ll never forget ours.