Thursday 4 February 2016

Hannah Kendall reflects on the OPUS2016 workshops

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:

I’ve been an admirer of Britten Sinfonia for a number of years, and so it was a privilege to work so closely with the superb musicians from the ensemble, its executive team, and the 10 shortlisted composers from the OPUS2016 initiative recently. Not only was it an enriching artistic experience through gaining a deeper knowledge of the music of my peers, I also had the opportunity to have an insight into the overall ethos of one of the UK’s leading ensembles.

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.

As well as ‘Composer’, I had also been given the title ‘Diversity Ambassador’. I like it! Redressing the imbalances in new and classical music in general is very important to me. Whilst conversations around this topic didn’t specifically come up over the two days, I was very much encouraged by the fact that Britten Sinfonia was demonstrating that it’s at the forefront of their activities.

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.

Hannah Kendall

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!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks a ton for sharing the information regarding OPUS2016 workshops. These events seems to be so much informative. I always wanted to be part of these events but were organized at far event venues where I couldn’t travel due to busy schedule. Hopefully, will be part of them pretty soon.