News: Michael Betteridge premieres new ‘verbatim’ inspired choral piece

Michael Betteridge
Michael Betteridge
Tuesday 1st March 2016
Princess Hall in Aldershot
Produced by: 
Sound and Music in partnership with Hampshire Music Services

Composer, conductor and animateur Michael Betteridge will premier his new piece, ‘Verbatim Cantata,’ in Aldershot this March.

Working with Hampshire Music Services as part of Sound and Music’s artistic development programme, Embedded, Michael visited three schools in the Rushmoor area multiple times over the year, introducing pupils to verbatim music techniques. The process – borrowed from documentary theatre – uses as its base the precise words spoken by people during interviews, capturing the character and flavour of natural speech as the main vocal line.

Encouraging the students to interview each other, Michael then picked out themes and snippets from their words, bringing them to workshops where the pupils learned to compose with them – stutters, mistakes, restarts and all. He then drew all the different segments together in a thirty minute cantata, covering the pupils’ opinions on a diverse range of topics, from growing up to running the country, and even ninja cats.

It will be performed by 150 young singers (aged 9-11) from the Farnborough area alongside the Hampshire Youth and Training Choirs and a specially put together string orchestra at the Princess Hall in Aldershot on March 1st * 

**Please note this event is invite only**

Here is a sneak preview of the some of the work in progress:

 ‘I think the way that they should change this run is country’ 

‘Oh and my cat cause she’s a ninja’ 

Michael Betteridge, composer, said:

It's been amazing creating this massive new work based on a wide range of issues that the young people have spoken about.  Not only have they provided intelligent, thoughtful and often funny material, they are also fantastic and dedicated composers, as well as brilliant performers.  I've enjoyed every moment of creating the work with them and looking forward to what will prove to be a really exciting performance.

Judith Robinson, Creative Project Leader (Education) at Sound and Music, said:

Sound and Music’s Embedded project in partnership with Hampshire Music Service is pioneering the bringing of emerging professional composers into an educational context.  Not only are the Embedded composers developing their artistic practice, but they are deepening and strengthening their skills and abilities in working with children and young people. Embedded composer Michael Betteridge has brought the highly contemporary practice of verbatim music into primary school classrooms in a wonderfully engaging and exciting process through which the primary school children have been able to contribute to and will perform in a cantata which is half an hour in length and involves over 200 performers.  I am delighted by how well the process has worked and can’t wait to hear the first ever performance on 1st March.

Find out more about Michael and his work 

Find out more about our Embedded Programme 


About Embedded 

Embedded is a Sound and Music composer and creative-artist development programme. Funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the PRS for Music FoundationEmbedded places a selection of composers from a range of disciplines into extended relationships with leading national arts organisations.

In partnership with 

Hampshire Music Hub

Funded by

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Find out more about our Embedded programme

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