Our eight Opus 1 composers were busy over the summer creating new works for two very different Britten Sinfonia trios: harp, flute, viola; and percussion, horn, and violin. Opus 1 is a talent development scheme, designed as a ‘first step on the ladder’ for aspiring composers of any age, background, and composing experience. Throughout the programme, they get the chance to develop their skills, try out new techniques, and to collaborate with Britten Sinfonia musicians over the course of two workshops and a recording day, all under the guidance and mentorship of our programme directors, Dani Howard, and Raymond Yiu.
After receiving their final pieces, recorded and produced by Myles Eastwood, four of the composers spoke to us about their Opus 1 experience.
‘It was a golden opportunity to work on a piece of music from scratch to a finished recording with professional musicians and to really get an insight into how they use their instruments…I loved the camaraderie we had with the group of composers because there was no competitiveness. There was no edge. Everybody was there to help each other… It was absolutely brilliant and I can’t thank you enough. As a result of this project my confidence has massively grown, and it’s allowed me to think about music in other ways.’ – Emma Clarke
‘I think it’s quite unique being able to work with instrumentalists over a prolonged period and to have multiple workshops. Having a really high-level recording at the end was such a valuable thing.’ – Joe Solomon
‘I found it brilliant, the opportunity to work at that level. The whole set-up was great: so welcoming, with lots of collaboration between us… It gave me lots of confidence.’ – Tara Creme
‘Everyone was so friendly. I think that’s one of the things about Britten Sinfonia – it’s so welcoming. There’s a culture of openness and feeling welcome while you’re there… The recording was professionally done, we were able to immerse ourselves in the sound-world, and it gave us the opportunity to write something that pushed boundaries.’ – Elliot Teo
We’re really impressed by the work of all eight composers, who showed creativity, imagination, and open-mindedness when facing the challenge of writing for such unusual ensembles, and we look forward to seeing what they do next. Some composers have already started re-working their pieces for full orchestra, while one composer has made plans to continue working with two Britten Sinfonia member players on a new film soundtrack.
Special thanks to Dani, Ray, and all of our musicians who gave their time, energy, and expertise to this programme. We look forward to welcoming new applicants next Spring – sign up to our enewsletter and follow our social media to be the first to find out more.