Meet the Next Wave 2 artists!

Next Wave 2 Logo - a wave crashing over text
Produced by: 
Sound and Music in partnership with NMC Recordings and Sage Gateshead

Meet the next wave of contemporary composers!

Earlier this year we teamed up with Sage Gateshead and NMC Recordings for Next Wave 2 – a unique programme designed to promote and support composers in higher education.

Following an application period , six talented young composers have been selected to take part in this artist development programme – Alex Hall, Emma Wilde, Jack Sheen, Joanna Ward, Peter Wilson, and Robin Haigh

Responding to an identified need to support composers as they transition from education settings into professional music careers, the Next Wave programme  offers these 6 emerging composers bespoke support over a year. They will each develop new works for small ensembles of Royal Northern Sinfonia musicians with one of three highly acclaimed solo artists – Quinta, Loré Lixenberg and Luke Carver Goss. 

In extended workshops at Sage Gateshead, the composers will work collaboratively with the Royal Northern Sinfonia musicians and soloists. They will explore and push the boundaries of their own work as well as the multifaceted sound worlds of their professional collaborators. Throughout the Next Wave 2 programme they will receive mentoring support from experienced composers to help with the development of their works. Their new compositions will be recorded at dedicated sessions and released on NMC Recordings as a digital download album that will be launched at a live showcase event at Sage Gateshead in January 2018.                           

Meet the Composers

Alex Hall

Image of Alex Hall - Next Wave Composer

Alex J. Hall is a composer, singer and musician based in London, UK. Alex is finishing composition studies at GSMD with Paul Whitmarsh, having recently won the Rose Lawrence Prize, and will continue his studies at Royal Academy in 2017. Alex has worked with many ensembles and soloists in the U.K., as well as Hungary and China. His main interests are writing music for theatre, depictions of mathematics and science in music, and poetry in music. Alex is also a Tenor studying with Ian Kennedy, having also partaken in masterclasses with Mary Hammond, Loré Lixenberg and Claire Moore. Most recently he performed as part of Vahan Salorian’s Boys of Paradise (Tete-a-Tete) and has performed in a number of other Operas. Alex is also an accompanist for the London Humanist Choir and an active Bassist and Musical Director. Alex is also an occasional White-Water Kayaker and amateur novelist. 

#inventions #scientific #poetic



 Alex J. Hall

Alex Hall said:

"I am very excited to be working with Sound and Music - they are an extremely important establishment for us (young) composers in Britain and I hope this will not be the last time I have cause to work with them! "

We asked Alex three questions...

What attracted you to applying to Next Wave?

The opportunity to spend a decent amount of time writing, and workshopping, a piece for a fantastic ensemble like Royal Northern Sinfonia is an indispensable one for any composer at my stage. It gives one the rare chance to throughly work through an idea for a piece, with a chance for revision before it being performed and recorded. It was also a rare opportunity for composers of my age and experience to submit already-written pieces for the application instead writing a bespoke piece, which I think helps a panel begin to understand a composer before making a decision, something which suited my way of writing music. 

Tell us a bit about where and what you are studying?

I am currently finishing undergraduate composition studies with Paul Whitmarsh at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and will be continuing onto masters composition studies at the Royal Academy of Music. Being at Guildhall has influenced my composition no end, as it seems to have been a hub of great and diverse minds (James Weeks, Julian Anderson, Laurence Crane) that have all had a great influence on what I enjoy in my own music, and generally in contemporary music. My works produced at Guildhall have each been very different in focus, but have increasingly become engineering projects, as I really love sinking my teeth into ideas and concepts before producing a piece - be it mathematics, dramatics or patterning musical objects - I think it’s a kind of engineering trait that runs through my family. My specialist subject at Guildhall was Infinity in music - for which my dissertation won the Rose Lawrence Prize.

What excites you most about the project?

I think the chance to really work through and refine an idea, especially for a 10’ commission, is going to be an incredible experience - it will be the first time that I will get the opportunity to revise a piece after the first workshop. Similarly having a mentor to bounce ideas off of and help push you in a direction that may be more risky (in terms of conception, notation etc.) will be absolutely invaluable. I would also be lying if I said there wasn't also a certain element of excitement (& pride) involved in having a work recorded & published on NMC recordings.


Emma Wilde

Emma Wilde is a Manchester-based composer who is completing a PhD under the supervision of Professor Camden Reeves at the University of Manchester. Her compositional interests include taking inspiration from the structures from Greek tragedy alongside musical characterisation and stratification. Her works have also been inspired by techniques used in visual art and Latin American popular music. Emma’s music has been included in concerts and festivals in Mexico, Lithuania and Poland and the University of Manchester Symphony Orchestra premiered her first orchestral work in 2016.  She has also worked with professional ensembles including Psappha and the Hebrides Ensemble. Emma’s recent successes include being named as one of the shortlisted composers for the Britten Sinfonia OPUS 2016 composition competition and she is also one of the six composers taking part in the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme 2017.  

#characterisation #juxtaposition #greektragedy



 Emma Wilde - Erebos

Emma Wilde said:

"I am really excited and grateful to have a year of support from Sound and Music whilst taking part in the Next Wave project. I am also looking forward to having the chance to develop work through a collaboration with such highly acclaimed and experienced performers."  

We asked Emma three questions...

What attracted you to applying to Next Wave?

I wanted to apply for Next Wave as it offers the invaluable opportunity of getting to work with a range of professional performers during extended workshops that will allow for the experimentation of ideas. I was particularly attracted to working with one of the three solo artists (Luke Carver Goss, Loré Lixenburg and Quinta), as all of them have experience with improvisation and contemporary music performance so they will provide the openness and flexibility needed for a collaborative project. It also offers the chance to have the finished work professionally recorded and released which is a rarity for an emerging composer as many other schemes ask for recordings to be kept for private use. Next Wave goes against this grain and provides a platform for promoting and publicising the work which is something young composers need as it can be extremely hard to get your voice heard when starting out as a composer.

Tell us a bit about where and what you are studying?

I am studying for a PhD at the University of Manchester with Professor Camden Reeves, completing a portfolio of compositions that explore a number of my research interests. This has included looking at how Greek Tragedy can be used to structure a musical work and exploring how instruments can take on dramatic roles like characters in a play. I am also researching ways of creating binary oppositions and clear musical juxtapositions. Some of my most recent research has involved using linear musical materials that were developed in correspondence to Kandinsky’s perceptions of how line is applied in art. 

What excites you most about the project?

I am excited about getting to know the performers and seeing how they will respond to my ideas. I am interested to see the results that are produced through the collaborative aspect of the project. I am hoping that my music will break out of a comfort zone through having the time to experiment with the performers in the workshops. I am also looking forward to meeting the other composers who are taking part in the scheme as it is always inspiring to be able to meet different composers and share and discuss ideas. 

Jack Sheen

Image of Jack Sheen - Next Wave ComposerJack Sheen (1993) is a composer and conductor from Manchester. In 2016 he was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and a Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Composition. In 2017 he was awarded the Royal Northern College of Music’s Junior Fellowship in Conducting by Sir Mark Elder. In 2011 Jack won BBC Young Composer of the year, and has since gone on to write music for the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, The Aldeburgh Festival, Aurora Orchestra, BBC Young Artists Day, Manchester Camerata, EXAUDI, Plus Minus Ensemble, Psappha, and Opera North. He is the co-director and curator of ddmmyy, a concert/event series dedicated to commissioning and contextualising experimental music, installation and performance.

Jack Sheen said: 

"It’s a real pleasure to be a part of the Next Wave 2 project. To have such fascinating artists onside and alongside whilst looking forward to an expansive period of time within which to experiment is a rare joy."

#sound #music #new


 jacksheen or

We asked Jack three questions...

What attracted you to applying to Next Wave?

Seeing/hearing some of the great pieces that came from the last Next Wave scheme a few years ago.

Tell us a bit about where and what you are studying?

I’m just finishing off an Artist Fellowship in composition and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, having completed a Masters there with James Weeks last year. 

What excites you most about the project?

Meeting and working with new artists.

Joanna Ward

Image of Joanna Ward - Next Wave composerJoanna Ward is a composer, pianist and singer from Newcastle upon Tyne, currently in her first year reading Music at at Jesus College, Cambridge. She began composing at school and Sage Gateshead's Centre for Advanced Training, received tuition as an NYO young composer in 2016, and now studies in Cambridge with Darren Bloom. She is heavily involved with student new music making in Cambridge, and her works have also been performed, commissioned and workshopped by various amateur and professional ensembles across the country.Her compositional voice is partly a result of her diverse engagement with various musics, especially of the recent past. Intense appreciation of pop music along with the music of the avant garde, electronic music, and minimalism, combine to influence her composition towards a considered attempt to create contemporarily beautiful, genuine, expressive and effective works, using very diverse compositional processes. She works in front of house at Sage Gateshead, which exposes her to a wide variety of performance arts, and her interests in photography, literature, as well as keen engagement with political issues, compliment and also inevitably affect her composing. 

Joanna Ward said:

"I'm excited by the resources, in terms of time, players, and technical and creative support, which I couldn't access without this opportunity working with Sound and Music. I'm sure that these resources, especially the opportunity to work collaboratively with a variety of creative people, will facilitate me in writing something new and exciting, perhaps moving in a new direction with my compositional voice, which I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise."

#considered #expressive #genuine 




We asked Joanna three questions...

What attracted you to applying to Next Wave?

I was very drawn to apply to Next Wave, I think because I gained the impression that the project was very open to and supportive of young people's creative ideas. Especially coming from the first year of my undergrad at Cambridge, where open and honest discussion about and making of genuinely new music isn't that easy to find, I was very drawn to the idea of a project where creativity, especially in the context of collaboration, would be the priority. I also was attracted to the idea of my writing being facilitated in a new way, and now I have a place on the project I'm really excited about the potential to take my music making into a new context and hopefully create something really interesting.

Tell us a bit about where and what you are studying?

I’m currently studying at Cambridge uni for an undergraduate degree in Music, in my first year. This is a pretty broad degree with fairly heavy emphasis on music history and analysis, however by the end of my time in Cambridge I'm hoping to be specialising in composition as much as possible, as well as the musicology which really interests me - sociological and anthropological aspects of music study, as well as 'history' in the form of studying the recent past's music, both classical and otherwise. 

What excites you most about the project?

As I mentioned, I'm probably most excited about being able to compose in a way which I haven't had access to before. The creative and supportive context for my composing of collaboration with professional players, Quinta (who is the artist I have been assigned to work with), and also my peers, will hopefully enable me to make something really exciting and different.

Peter Wilson 

image of Peter Wilson - Next Wave Composer

Peter Wilson is an Australian composer. He holds a scholarship at the Royal College of Music, supported by the Peter and Sheila Bennett Trust. A recent recipient of commissions from artists in Australia, France, America, and the UK, he is emerging as an individual voice in the international contemporary-classical music scene. His works span a wide variety of genres including music for concert hall, dance, and theatre. Recent and upcoming collaborators include: VAULT Theatre (FCUK’D, 2017), choreographer Shian Law (Peking Opera, 2017), and artists Allora & Calzadilla (Stop, Repair, Prepare…, 2012). Having previously worked as a dancer in Australia and North America, Peter likes highly gestural, intricate, and natural sounds - qualities most perfectly embodied by birdsong.

#lyrical #birdlike #kinetic


Peter Wilson said:

"As an Australian-born composer, it means a lot to me to be welcomed and supported by Sound and Music, such a prominent British institution. This residency marks the beginnings of my professional career in the UK and I’m very thankful for the opportunity. I can’t wait to get started!"

We asked Peter three questions...

What attracted you to applying to Next Wave?

I know several of the composers who participated in the last Next Wave. I am inspired by the way their work developed during the residency, and afterwards their careers have prospered. I’ll be graduating in July, and was very keen to follow their lead. Involvement in this year’s Next Wave offers a remarkable opportunity to work with really inspiring musicians in a professional context.

Tell us a bit about where and what you are studying?

I am in the final year of my undergraduate studies at the Royal College of Music, studying with Ken Hesketh. Many of my recent works are unified by themes of birdsong, physicality, and decay. They are themes that seem to have wound themselves into my work almost accidentally and emerge with each new composition in a different light. Without attempting to summon them, they are ever-present as metaphors that shape my music and give it direction.

What excites you most about the project?

Its comprehensive nature. This project is the perfect ‘goodybag’ of opportunities for emerging composers such as myself:The opportunity to collaborate with highly acclaimed musicians committed to performing my scores.The chance to receive feedback on my ideas from an established composer mentor.Then, at the end of the process: to present my work to the public and to participate in the NMC album release. Woah!

Robin Haigh

Robin Haigh is a composer from London, whose music has been performed across the UK, as well as in America, France, Lithuania, and Taiwan. He is particularly interested in dramatic music, and his opera "The Man Who Woke Up" was performed in London and Louisville in 2015 and 2016. More recent dramatic works include his "1936: An East London Uprising" commissioned by East London Music Group, and a new piece in collaboration with Austrian writer Raphaela Edelbauer to be performed in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall in June 2017. Another key interest has been in writing for early music performers such as lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, the Dunedin Consort, and recorder player Tabea Debus.  Robin studied at Goldsmiths, University of London with Dmitri Smirnov, and is now completing his Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music with Edmund Finnis and David Sawer.

#contemporary #classical #dramatic



 Robin Haigh

Robin Haigh said:

"It is a real privilege to be able to work with Sound and Music, an organisation synonymous with promoting the work of composers in the UK. The amount of invaluable opportunities made available to composers by Sound and Music every year is truly incredible."

We asked Robin three questions...

What attracted you to applying to Next Wave?

After hearing the amazing pieces on the original Next Wave album, it was clear that this was a scheme where the young composers involved were able to really push the boundaries of their own work, and of the musicians involved. The idea of pushing my own music further in this way, on top of the attraction of having it recorded and performed to such a high standard, was irresistible.

Tell us a bit about where and what you are studying?

I am currently completing my MMus degree at the Royal Academy of Music. I think that the year and a half that I have spent there have been crucial in my development as a composer; I have learned an enormous amount from my lessons with Edmund Finnis and David Sawer, but also from spending lots of time working in close proximity with incredibly talented performers. 

What excites you most about the project?

I am really looking forward to being able to write a piece in a really focussed and collaborative way, and to have several intensive sessions working with the performers. To then be able to display the products of this work via NMC and Sage Gateshead will be a real highlight of my career so far. 

About Next Wave

Next Wave is a partnership project between Sound and Music, NMC Recordings and Sage Gateshead, designed to support and promote composers in higher education as they transition into the professional music industry. This programme is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Arts Council EnglandPRS for Music Foundation and The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation.

Find out more:

Read about our partners and participating solo artists here

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Funded by:

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With additional support from:

The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation

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