Inspiring young composers

12 August 2016

Dr Sierra with summer course participants
Dr Sierra with summer course participants

Dr Arlene Sierra recently co-founded a new advanced summer course for composers at MusicFest Aberystwyth.

This classical music festival and international summer school runs annually in Aberystwyth and sees internationally-renowned musicians taking residence in the town to perform in a range of concerts and tutor in the summer school. Students from all over the world travel to Aberystwyth to participate in the International Summer School experience.

Dr Sierra, Reader in Composition at the School of Music, said: "As an alumna and guest of many festival summer courses in Britain and abroad, it has been a particular pleasure to have the opportunity to start a new chapter for composition at MusicFest Aberystwyth.

Summer festivals can be a time of intense learning, collaboration and fellowship for young composers and musicians, and I am proud to say that the first year at Aberystwyth has been a wonderful example. We are all looking forward to a second successful summer for Composition at MusicFest in 2017."

This year was the first time that an advanced composers’ course has been included at the Summer School. Dr Sierra co-directed the course along with Professor Kenneth Hesketh, Royal College of Music. Showcase concerts of new music were performed by the Magnard Ensemble and the Orion Orchestra.

The course, aimed at composers at postgraduate or early professional level, consisted of regular sessions alternating with workshops, performance opportunities and sessions with visiting composers including Martin Butler and Richard Baker. Student composers came from Singapore, Australia, the US, Greece, Spain, Ireland and around the UK. Current Cardiff PhD composer Julia E Howell took part in the course, as did undergraduate alumnus David John Roche, now studying for a PhD in Composition at the University of Cambridge.

MusicFest Aberystwyth presented a range of recent compositions throughout the festival programme, including the UK premiere of a work by Dr Sierra as well as premieres by Cardiff alumni Gareth Churchill and Tom Davoren.

Dr Sierra with performers at MusicFest Aberystwyth

Share this story