Portfolio Summer 2015
31 July 2015 - Selected Composers Announced
We are pleased to announce Nick Morrish Rarity and Andrew Thomas as the selected composers to work with Mu:Arts and Royal Holloway University for Portfolio Summer 2015.
Nick Morrish Rarity
Nick is a composer, and doctoral candidate at the Royal College of Music, where he is supported by the Douglas & Hilda Symonds Award, and is supervised by Jonathan Cole, Simon Holt and Gilbert Nuono. Prior to this, he studied composition with Robert Saxton at the University of Oxford, where he won a Jesus College prize for academic achievement, and as a TCL scholar at Trinity Laban with Deirdre Gribbin, Paul Newland and Gwyn Pritchard, where he won the MMus prize, and the Elias Fawcett Prize for Composition. He has also received informal compositional advice from Toshio Hosokawa.
2013 saw the premier of his violin concerto, Psyche, written for Clarice Rarity, and a piece for the LCO’s Inspired by Digital Scheme, which culminated in a performance at Cadogan Hall. In 2014, Nick was commissioned by Gestalt Arts to write a chamber opera, A Sign in Space. Nick was a winner of the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, and wroteAbandonment & Ruin for BSO’s Kokoro, which was premiered at Cheltenham Festival and was described as being ‘a telling and impressively individual composition’. His research interests include exploring ecological approaches to composition- particularly the way in which sounds specify discrete virtual sources and the interaction between the body and the environment to this end."I am really excited about being selected for this residency- Noh (and Japanese aesthetics more broadly) have informed my work for some time and I look forward to exploring this further through the workshop and performance at Kings Place. It will be a real privilege to work closely with eminent noh musicians, and I look forward to writing the resulting piece!"
Andrew Thomas holds degrees in music and composition from City University, London, St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge and recently completed his PhD in composition at Birmingham Conservatoire under Richard Causton, Joe Cutler and Edwin Roxburgh.
His music has been performed at festivals and concert halls throughout the UK and on the continent by ensembles including BCMG, Construction Site Ensemble (21st International Review of Composers, Belgrade), Britten Sinfonia, Kokoro, Schubert Ensemble and Orkest de Ereprijs. Recent commissions have included works for CHROMA (Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge), London Sinfinietta (Writing the Future as part of the Rest is Noise Festival at the QEH), London Chamber Orchestra (Inspired by Digital scheme), Dr. K Sextet (with soloist Lesley-Jane Rogers) and St. Giles-in-the-Field’s Church, London. Andrew is currently taking part in the Jerwood Opera Writing Scheme supported by Aldeburgh Music as well as working on a commission for Duo Van Vliet (viola and accordion)."I’m thrilled to have been selected for
this residency. Japanese music and aesthetics have informed my work in various
ways for more than ten years and I’m so excited to get the opportunity to learn
in depth about the stylistics, rituals and rhythmic/melodic structure of Noh
and I can’t wait to get started on writing for these fascinating instruments."
3 June 2015 - Call for Portfolio Summer 2015 now closed
As part of the Portfolio programme, we're partnering with Mu:Arts and Royal Holloway University to offer you a fascinating and unique opportunity (for two composers) to develop your skills in writing for Japanese noh theatre, with no previous knowledge of noh necessary. The deadline to apply is noon Wednesday 3 June 2015. To apply, read our call document located at the right hand side of this page.
As part of the programme, you will attend the three week long summer residency Noh Training Project UK at Royal Holloway University in order to develop an in-depth knowledge of noh. Your work(s) will be premiered at Kings Place in May 2016 as part of a two day noh festival. You'll have the opportunity to develop new pieces in three workshops, and work closely with eminent noh musicians including nohkan flute player Yukihiro Isso. Mentorship will be provided throughout the residency by master noh practitioner Prof. Richard Emmert.
Noh is a theatrical art form that has been handed down through generations and been labelled one of the world’s oldest performing arts. It has also been designated an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO. Noh is a total art form comprised of drama, music and dance elements. While often compared to western opera, the differences can be quite startling. Due to the use of masks in noh masks, one can call noh a “mask drama.” There are many symbols and subtle allusions to Japanese cultural history deeply ingrained in the choreography and music.
The music of noh consists of chant and song, nohkan flute and three drums (kotsuzumi shoulder drum, otsuzumi hip drum and taiko stick drum). The latter are used for drum calls which create tempo variation and noh's distinctive sense of ‘ma’, or space - qualities which have inspired western composers throughout the last century. Nohkan flute is used complexly and creatively to convey atmosphere, dramatic tone, and emotional intensity.
About the Programme
Sound and Music’s Portfolio scheme provides a key development opportunity for composers to create new work with and for some of the UK’s leading ensembles and presenters of new music. Portfolio enables them to develop their portfolio of compositions and gain vital artistic and practical insight and experience in working with professional ensembles and presenting organisations, and delivering new work to public audiences.
Following the success of our Embedded Composer-in-Residence programme, it was clear that there was a need for a similar opportunity on a smaller scale. So we created Portfolio. We issued our first call for Portfolio in November 2012 and since then twenty-five composers have been working hard with professional ensembles each to create a short new work. See more about the pairings below.
Selected composers are invited to develop a small-scale, short new work for a leading UK organisation. These are developed through a series of workshops during which the composer will work in close collaboration with the performers supported by an experienced composer mentor. The process culminates in a public performance of the new work within the ensemble’s performance schedule.