News: New exhibition on “Music for Young Players”

Produced by: 
Duncan Chapman with support from Sound and Music and the Google Cultural Institute

Duncan Chapman's exhibition on “Music for Young Players”

We are delighted to share a new exhibition devised for the Google Cultural Insitute by Duncan Chapman using resources in the British Music Collection.

Within in the British Music Collection is a set of scores from the 1960s and 1970s called “Music for Young Players”.  

Published by Universal Edition and intended for classroom use, these scores aimed to encourage experimental approaches and connections to the new music of the time. These were designed to be accessible to both children with, or without, previous music experience -something that continues to be an important feature of much participatory music today. 

Duncan has curated an online exhibition exploring these fascinating pieces which you can view below

Be sure to read the related blog posts too! 

We asked Duncan three questions...

Tell me a little bit about the exhibition. What were you looking into?

"I am interested in exploring ways in which compositional techniques and strategies can be used with a wide range of people to create new musics. The Music for Young Players pieces were intended to create a repertoire of pieces for classroom and ensemble use that reflected the compositional ideas of the time. This is something that I feel if often missing from much music education today where composition is more and more marginalised in schools. "

What was the most unusual  item you found in the British Music Collection?

"I was really excited to find lots of interesting pieces (many in the “experimental - not sure where to catalogue ?” box) that explored innovative ways of presenting composition, pieces as maps, games, large format scores that don’t fit into the box and so on. There are also some experimental pieces by composers who are now well known for more “conventional” work and have academic posts in music academies etc" 

What could today’s music educators learn from the approach taken in the 1960s and 1970s?

"What is really striking to me about the approaches in the Music for Young Players pieces is that whilst they are written for “educational” use they stand as pieces in their own right and aren’t just “exercises”. It is also refreshing to have an approach that questions the ways in which material can be presented and combined. Placing composition at the heart of music education so that music is a subject fundamentally about creation rather than always replicating what already exists is something that, in my view, needs to be encouraged and facilitated."

About Duncan Chapman

Duncan Chapman: Composer/Sound Artist regularly works with many leading music organisations in the UK. A frequent traveller to more exotic locations with work in Japan, Singapore & throughout Europe. Much of his work involves composing & devising work with groups & often results in sound installations, recordings or multi-media performances. Current & recent projects include: Co-directing a large scale performance project for Casa da Música (Porto) : Projects with the St Anrews Voices festival in Fife : 7 journeys to stillness : (BCMG) : Collaborations with DMU developing software for educational contexts : Dark Januaries, an annual personal composition project with Isabel Jones : But where do we get the water? : London Chamber Orchestra for orchestra,young players / laptop ensemble : Rising Breath with Stewart Collinson & Mike McInerney at Seeing Sound 2016 : Developing & presenting family concerts (London Sinfonietta) exploring music & science : Leading the Fanfare project for young composers (Royal Opera House) : Director, Link Ensemble  (Britten Sinfonia) : Performances with Supriya Nagarajan (Manasamitra) Lullabies project, Ultima Festival (Oslo), at the Kamppi “Chapel of Silence” (Helsinki) anthem for the Choir of York Minster & orchestral lullabies (Iceland Symphony Orchestra) : Duncan is currently involved in touring White Cane (Salamanda Tandem) including performances for Spitalfields Music, HCMF & Firstsite Gallery. : Duncan is also a contributor to courses at De Montfort & York Universities & external examiner (Music & Communities) at Aberdeen University. 

About the British Music Collection

The British Music Collection is a publically accessible collection of over 40,000 scores, 21,000 recordings and other artefacts including books, programme notes and photographs housed at state-of-the-art archive centre Heritage Quay at the University of Huddersfield. It is closely related to the British Music Collection Online which provides a digital platform for an increasing section of the collection.


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