Across two days in January the Barbican hosted the OPUS2016 workshops in which ten composers from the scheme had an opportunity to work on their piece and receive valuable feedback from Britten Sinfonia musicians: Thomas Gould, Huw Watkins and Ben Chappell. The workshops were open to the public for the first time so that all composers, musicians and music enthusiasts were able to observe the exchange between Britten Sinfonia musicians and the shortlisted composers, and learn from this fascinating and challenging process. Hannah Kendall shares her experience:
Supporting contemporary music, and composers in general is integral to Britten Sinfonia’s attitudes. How incredible to have two whole days dedicated to new works by 10 different composers, and performed in such great detail. I really enjoyed the openness of the sessions. Thoughts were shared freely between the musicians, composers, and audience members, which allowed for fascinating discussions. A particular in-depth conversation focused on how each of the composers generate their musical material, and how this might translate to being performed by an acoustic instrument if achieved through a computer programme.
I loved meeting and working with such talented composers. I particularly admired the confidence that they each displayed through in their writing skills, which were strikingly individual. They all very much deserved to be selected for OPUS2016, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.
The winning composer will be invited to write the piece as a commission for the award winning At Lunch concert in December 2016. The prize will include a dedicated rehearsal for the commissioned piece 6-8 weeks in advance of the concert, three performances of the work (London, Cambridge and Norwich) and a commission fee.
Watch this space, OPUS2016 winner will be announced soon!