By the end of June I was looking forward to my summer break and going home to Suffolk. It felt like a well deserved break because of how busy my first year had been. I spent the start of the holiday relaxing and taking a break from all things composition. I then travelled to Cumbria for a holiday which became the main source of inspiration for the piece I worked on during the summer.
At the end of July, I was given the opportunity to compose for the Orchestra of the Swan for a concert on the 9th October. This piece had to be finished and ready for rehearsals by the beginning of September, before I had even moved into my new flat for second year. I worked with the natural beauty of the countryside I experienced in Cumbria and how nature can inspire me. This was a wonderful opportunity and I am very grateful that I was selected for it. The concert was held on Wednesday, 9th October, 2019 in the Bradshaw Hall at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
In August I was able to go to the Ruhrtriennale music and arts festival in Bochum, Germany. This was a fantastic opportunity and exposed me to different forms of creative arts and music. I was fortunately able to see the premiere of a play entitled “All the good” by Jan Lauwers. This was an incredible performance that highlighted important and very personal factors of Lauwers’ life. This performance did have a lot of very varied responses and some people were very unhappy with how certain elements were portrayed. However I felt it to be a very empowering performance.
Saturday, 14th September was the big moving day back to Birmingham. We had an early start with two cars full, driving all the way from Suffolk to Birmingham to settle into my new flat. This year I have chosen to live in a studio flat near the Conservatoire. Deciding where to live was a difficult decision however I am very happy to have my own space yet still have my friends living next door. The location of my flat also means that I do not have to fight my way through traffic and buses to get to and from the Conservatoire.
Since starting term it has been a very busy few weeks. Getting used to a new timetable and all the extra classes that I want to be part of means that I have little time to relax now. I have also started a new job this year which means in my time away from classes I work at the BCU City South Campus in their Social Kitchen restaurant. I still managed to have a great time during freshers week…
Since being back in Birmingham I have been to two album launches. The first being a folk band called Juniper. They released their first album on 27th September at the Woodman pub. Everyone had a wonderful time, drinking and dancing the whole time. The second album launch was Tephra’s album Keiyona at Centrala Space, Digbeth.
The start of October brought the performance of my latest project ‘Through Cumbrian Hills’. This is the project I worked on over the summer for the Orchestra of the Swan Concert. The day was very successful and helped to give me an insight into what composing in the future after university will be like. I was given the opportunity to be in the rehearsals throughout the day of the concert. This was a very interesting experience as it meant I could talk to the performers and receive feedback on my work. To read more about this project, click here…
October also meant the start of my work as the joint composer in residence for the Brass Department at the Conservatoire. I am working on this with fellow composition student James Abel. We had a first meeting with the Head of Brass which kicked off a lot of inspiration for me on working with unusual ensembles as well as writing for solo instruments. The first project I have started work on is for a horn quartet, using movement and a spacial sound world.
One of the concerts I have been to this month was as part of the series entitled Music for Trees. This is a series that is working to raise money for rain forest charities. It was a lovely cause to support as all the profits from a wonderful night will go towards supporting nature. At this concert there were four amazing groups performing that night. The first being Thorpe & Morrison, then Juniper, Filkin’s Drift, and PHAT.
The rest of October has involved a large amount of my focus on different composition projects and organisation for future events. I am now part of the Birmingham New Music team which organise concerts to show students’ work once every term. The first of these will be at the end of December.
To finish off October I went to the Conservatoire’s halloween event at Walkabout and, of course, my friends and I made great efforts to dress up!