Composers’ Project update

Posted on January 6, 2010


Manchester Camerata is once again creating opportunities for student composers based in Manchester to hear their works performed by the orchestra, one of the UK ‘s leading chamber orchestras. Thanks to Manchester Camerata’s Manchester Composers’ Project three young musicians – one each from Manchester University , the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and Chetham’s School – will have pieces premiered before the general public as part of the orchestra’s regular concert series. And during the selection process identifying those pieces, up to eleven compositions will be workshopped by the orchestra in a special all-day session open to the public and held at the RNCM. British composer Joe Cutler, now Head of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, will be present to give feedback and advice.

The workshop session, conducted by Eduardo Portal, RNCM Junior Fellow in Conducting, takes place on Monday 1 February . The three most successful pieces will be premiered on 13 March (Bridgewater Hall), 24 April (RNCM) and 22 May (Bridgewater Hall).

Manchester Camerata’s Composers’ Project is now in its second year. Manus Carey, Head of Artistic Planning with Manchester Camerata, explained that the challenge set for the students by this year’s Project is designed to ensure that the freshly composed pieces reflect themes that the orchestra has been examining recently:

“Throughout the 2009/10 season Manchester Camerata is exploring cultural exchanges, diverse musical influences, and the boundaries that frequently exist between different cultures. Many of the works we have been performing have been strongly influenced by a particular locality, region or culture, with echoes of tango, klezmer, Chinese, Hungarian folk etc. We are therefore asking the students to come up with short pieces that are based on this idea of cultural exchange and which reflect the multi-cultural nature of the country in which we live. These workshop days are important occasions for everyone involved, not least because they enable the composers to get first-hand feedback from the players.”

As well as a time limit on the length of their composition – the piece must not last more than 5 minutes – the composers also have to write for a specific combination of nine players: Flute (doubling piccolo), oboe, clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass.

The titles of the three pieces that go forward to be performed as part of Manchester Camerata’s 2009/10 season, and the names of their composers, will be announced after the workshop day on 1 February.