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The Month of Concerts – February

February has been a very busy month. I have been planning for new pieces and organising performances of other pieces. I have to say it has been very rewarding to keep myself this busy. Finishing the month with a lovely long weekend at home has made it all a little bit better.

Despite the stresses of the course I found that I spent a lot of time planning and working out all of my deadlines. I know that May seems a long way off but it is creeping up on us all very rapidly. I don’t mind this, but realising that I only have 12 weeks left until my portfolio hand-in does cause a slight sense of panic!

Study Session – Yorks Cafe Birmingham

One of my close friends and I have made a pact to go to as many concerts as possible this year. This meant that in February we went to:

  • An Evening of Contemporary Brass
  • Birmingham New Music
  • Boccherini Chamber Music
  • Sir Lenny Henry in Conversation
  • Frontiers: Recorder Futures

All of these are concerts or events that I have really enjoyed going to and have always come out feeling inspired to go on and compose a piece influenced by the music I have just been exposed to. After the Boccherini concert I decided to compose a piece for solo cello using extended performance techniques.

This month also seems to be a very productive month for me. I have been working on five separate compositions, all of which have either been completed and recorded or are due to be performed very soon. To get to this stage is a great relief as it means that my portfolio is bulking out with enough time for me to not be rushed by looming deadlines.

One of these compositions is my trio project piece ‘Growth’. This is a piece for vocals, piano and percussion. I chose to base my concept on the stages of growth in plants. I started by using a graphic representation that I then translated into a traditional form of notation. I did this because I knew that I wanted to have a strict notation yet also have the influence of the freedom of the graphic representation. This month I got the opportunity to have this piece performed in a workshop with the ensemble that will be performing it in concert. This was a really helpful experience for me as it meant that I could then make any changes that I felt needed carrying out before the concert.

A new project that I started working on this month was a piece working in collaboration with a graphics student. We decided to work on a video that will be accompanied by a piece for a Korg Volca Beats machine and solo strings. I started this by creating the drum part. This was mainly based on improvisation and building up a sequence of parts.

Korg Volca Beats – Recording Setup

A major priority for this month was finalising my accommodation for next year. After a lot of viewings me and my friends are finally set on an accommodation which is perfectly situated and a just a short walk from everywhere we need to go. The accommodation is now booked and deposits have been paid

A large source of the inspiration for my compositions comes from nature and the beautiful natural surroundings of Suffolk that I grew up in. Going back home this month meant that I was able to reconnect with this. We took a day trip to the coast at Felixstowe which was very refreshing. I was reminded how important it is to have break from work to help bring new inspirations into my composition ideas.

Old Town Coast – Felixstowe