Opus 1: Getting to know... Hugo Bell - Britten Sinfonia - Blog

Opus 1: Getting to know… Hugo Bell

Meet Hugo Bell, a composer who is based in South London.

  • What are you looking forward to about being part of Opus 1?

I’m most excited about meeting other composers at similar stages of their artistic development and seeing their approach to writing for this group. I love discovering new music and I’m sure that this project will lead me down some exciting rabbit holes.


  • What sort of music do you like to write?

Anything which grabs my attention! I don’t think it’s healthy for composers to worry about curating a musical identity for themselves – just follow the sounds that interest you and see where it takes you.


  • How did you get into composition?

I got into composition ‘proper’ relatively late on having originally been studying as an organist, but I had always been creating music of some kind since I was a teenager. Towards the end of my undergrad I received my first live performance which really sold me on the idea of pursuing composition as my main musical endeavour. I had my first composition lesson after I graduated and since then it’s been the main driving force in my life.

  • What is your favourite instrument (or voice) to compose for?

I’m always drawn towards working with percussionists, as they’re always up for trying out new things and are great at being active collaborators. One trick I’ve learned over the years is to physically get your hands on the instrument you’re writing for – you learn so much more from it than listening or reading.


  • Why do you think creating new music is important?

I don’t think music has the power to change anything about the world but it does offer us new ways of communicating with one another and expressing the inexpressible. I think it fundamentally comes down to human connections, whether it is the relationship between two performers or between a listener and a sound. That’s important.


  • What is the hardest thing about being a composer?

Overcoming ego – almost every creative problem I’ve come across is rooted in ego of some kind. Finding someone who can share the creative burden with you makes things so much easier and more enjoyable. Would one still be compelled to write the same kind of music if nobody knew it was by you?


  • What 3 pieces of music would you have to have on your desert island?

Nine Rivers Cycle – James Dillon

Singulacra – Sophia Loizou

Swamps/Things – Kassel Jaeger


  • What is the best snack?

Hummus & pitta bread


Find out more about Hugo’s work here: www.hugobellcomposer.com / https://soundcloud.com/hugobell

Click here to meet our other Opus 1 composers