Each year our Adopt a Composer scheme sets amateur choirs, orchestras and ensembles up with composers for a year to produce a new piece together. Meet this year's pairings.
Anna Appleby with Merchant Sinfonia
Anna is a multi-award winning composer based in Manchester and is 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 and A4 Brass.
Anna has recently been a composer in residence with Streetwise Opera, Quay Voices, Brighter Sound and the Cohan Collective. Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, Anna has a great love of folk and jazz, and now specialises in writing contemporary classical music. Collaboration is at the heart of her creative practice.
The Merchant Sinfonia was originally founded in 2008, as part of a BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra outreach programme. After five successful years, the group gained sufficient momentum to flee the nest and, with support from Glasgow Life, we are now an independent orchestra with a strong educational ethos.
Regardless of previous musical experience, the Sinfonia offers over-18s the opportunity to play a range of orchestral repertoire in a focused but unpressured and supportive environment. Our players range in experience and ability from advanced to the complete novice. We particularly welcome rusty returners, inexperienced or brand new learners.
Max Charles Davies with Côr Crymych a'r Cylch
Max enjoys a varied career that encompasses composition, orchestration and arrangement, conducting, performing, teaching, research and event management. He studied composition as a Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music, and went on to complete his masters and doctoral studies at Cardiff University. He is passionate about inspiring people with new music, whether through lecturing on music history, theory, composition or performance at UWE Bristol (where he is currently on the academic staff); developing an exciting, collaborative composition project brief with an amateur ensemble; or working with professional musicians.
The Crymych and District Choir has over 50 members, meeting regularly in Crymych, a small town in north Pembrokeshire, rehearsing in Welsh.The choir has a wide repertoire and sings in a variety of styles. Performances include fundraising concerts for charities, appearing as support singers in various cultural shows, and competing in Eisteddfodau. The choir tours regularly, and a recent highlight was performing at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna.
Competitively, the choir has been very successful, reaching the semi-final of Côr Cymru 2015 (Choir of Wales) and winning at the National Eisteddfod this year.
Esmeralda Conde Ruiz with The Fretful Federation Mandolin Orchestra
Esmeralda is a multi-award winning composer and conductor.
In 2015 she won the award for ‘Best Original Music’ at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and ‘Award of Excellence for Best Score’ at Indie Fest Film Awards for her unique soundtrack of British short film ‘Cusp’. Additionally she runs interdisciplinary choral projects, conducting a 500 strong choir of community voices at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and collaborating with leading composers, contemporary artists and musicians all over the world including David Lang, Matthew Herbert, Susan Philipsz, Peter Liversidge, Mira Calix and many others.
This Brighton based group of fretted instrument players was formed in 1995. Originally playing pieces typical of mandolin orchestras from the early twentieth century, the Fretful Federation has expanded and developed its repertoire to include a wide range of material including exciting contemporary music by living composers as well as classical work, popular pieces and concertos.
There are currently about 25 members from all over Sussex who meet weekly to rehearse. Everyone is welcome without audition. We can even supply instruments and teach from scratch if necessary!
About six performances are given each year at home and abroad, led by musical director, Lindsay Stoner.
Edmund Hunt with The Singers
Edmund is a composer based in Derbyshire. His work includes instrumental, vocal and electroacoustic music, and his work has been performed in the UK and abroad by many different soloists and ensembles. He has recently completed a PhD in composition at Birmingham Conservatoire. In 2014, Edmund’s orchestral piece ‘Argatnél’ was premiered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Recent projects have included a short chamber opera composed during the Jerwood Opera Writing Foundation course at Aldeburgh, and a chamber opera for singers, instrumental ensemble and electronics, based on early mediaeval poetry.
The Singers - a mixed voice chamber choir of around 24 singers is based in Newcastle upon Tyne. The choir draws its singers mainly from Newcastle and Northumberland but some singers travel considerable distances to participate in choir events.
The choir specialises in a capella music, mainly Renaissance and contemporary, and fosters a tonal specification appropriate for this repertoire. It has performed in cathedrals and churches in the UK and abroad. It has a special relationship with Cologne where it has sung several times in the cathedral as well as many of the city’s Romanesque churches.
Ben See with Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra
Ben, a composer and performer from London, specialises in new vocal music, and more specifically contemporary a cappella. Ben’s debut EP blink blink, is a collection of thoughtful songs and intricate vocals. His music has been played on BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 3, BBC London and Resonance FM.
Ben’s main influences range from Benjamin Britten and Björk to Brian Wilson and Bobby McFerrin.
Alongside composing Ben leads five community choirs around London, and various other singing projects and vocal workshops. Ben has also launched his own record label. LaLaLa Records is a platform for new vocal music, and supports emerging composers, performers and ensembles.
Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra: There are two orchestras: the Main Orchestra and the Training Orchestra (designed for less experienced musicians). Founded in 1944, Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra is one of the longest-established youth orchestras in the U.K. The 150 members are aged 8 to 18, and are drawn from more than 60 schools all over Surrey and south-west London. The groups rehearse in Wimbledon on Sunday afternoons during term time, perform three concerts a year in and around London, and work with leading professional musicians. We also undertakes a summer tour in Europe each July.
Peter Yarde Martin with Bellfolk Handbell Ringers
Peter is a London-based composer and musician.
His composition explores spaces connecting the disparate musical worlds in which he works: experimental and familiar, old and new, sacred and secular. He has written for professional orchestras and schoolchildren, gospel choirs and brass bands, church organs and electronics.
Peter studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He is the Musical Director at St. Peter’s Church, Notting Hill, and performs regularly with Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir and Regent Brass as a trumpeter, keyboardist and singer.
Established over 40 years ago, Bellfolk handbell ringers use a 3 ½ octave set of traditional English handbells and a 3 octave set of handchimes to produce a varied programme of music.
Several members have gained experience from working with internationally recognised conductors throughout the UK and overseas, developing a range of interesting techniques to enhance the sound of bells. At local music festivals, the team has achieved outstanding results and been complimented on their musicality.
Bellfolk enjoy performing alone and performing with other musical groups.
Scottish project: Gaynor Barradell with Edinburgh Concert Band
Gaynor is originally from Coventry, England and started learning music at home from an early age.
In 2009 Gaynor moved to Scotland and took a Bachelor of Music (honours) degree, the Scottish Graduate Diploma in Jazz, then Master of Music (Composition) at University of Edinburgh, graduating 2015.
Gaynor enjoys the lively music scene in Glasgow, and, as a multi-instrumentalist, plays for many bands and orchestras. She teaches instrumental lessons and particularly enjoys helping adult learners begin their journey into musicianship. She composes music for a variety of ensembles and would consider her ‘style’ to be ‘melodic, contemporary, often with a jazz influence’.
Edinburgh Concert Band (ECB) was founded in 1988 to provide an opportunity for community musicians, school leavers and students to make music. Today ECB has over 60 members aged 18 upwards and from all walks of life, performing and enjoying a wide range of music across the concert band repertoire. The band undertakes a variety of engagements each season, with a strong commitment to community and charity events including fundraising concerts. In 2013 ECB commissioned an original work by renowned jazz composer and educator, Richard Michael. The band takes part in national festivals, such as the National Concert Band Festival and the Scottish Concert Band Festival.