Ingestre Composition Weekend

Date: Saturday 31st January 2009 00:00

Performed By

  • Alasdair Nicolson Composer
  • Eve Harrison Assistant Composer

As part of the DCSF-funded Staffordshire Music Partnership project, Manchester Camerata musicians, composer Alasdair Nicolson and assistant composer Eve Harrison spent and intensive weekend with 40 young people from Rugeley, Uttoxeter and Cheadle to write 40 brand new pieces of music.

In the inspirational surroundings of Ingestre Hall, a Jacobean mansion in Staffordshire, Alasdair Nicolson gave all the participants a special composition kit to help guide them through the process of composing their new pieces. He then talked through how he approaches composing, how ideas are developed and modified until they gradually become a new piece. He then shared with the group some musical ideas, which they used to start developing motifs that would go on to form the basis of their new piece.

Beginning bright and early on Saturday morning, Camerata musicians worked closely with Alasdair and Eve, workshopping the ideas of the young people, and giving advice on how best to write for their instruments. As the day went on, the feeling of excitement and creativity built, and pieces were being worked on well into the wee small hours of the night!Sunday morning saw the final touches being put to the new pieces before an informal concert sharing of the 40 brand new compositions.

All the young people continued to work on their pieces, some of which were submitted as part of their GCSE composition folio. One lucky composer, Kayleigh Macey, had her completed piece, Secrets in the Shadows, performed by Manchester Camerata and Tasmin Little at the Victoria Hall, Hanley on 5th July as part of the final concert of the partnership.

“I thought I was a rock guitarist. I’m not. I’m a musician.”

Connor Y9, following the composition weekend.