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Inaugural Peter Reynolds Composer Studio welcomes young composers

30 May 2017

Piano and sheet

The inaugural Peter Reynolds Composer Studio recently took place during the Vale of Glamorgan Festival.

Under the artistic direction of festival founder and composer, John Metcalf, and senior lecturer in composition at Cardiff University School of Music, Robert Fokkens, eight young composers came together for a series of workshops and classes.

The selected composers, including Cardiff graduates David Roche, Lucy McPhee, Anselm McDonnell, Jordan Hirst, Yfat Soul Zisso and Nathan James Dearden, along with Sam Messer and William Marsey, took part in one-to-one tutorials, talks and seminars, and the chance to write for a leading professional ensemble.

The Studio culminated in the composers creating compositions for one of two ensembles, Grand Band and the Marsyas Trio, which were then performed for live audiences.

Of the experience, David Roche said: “It’s so rare to have such an incredibly skilled ensemble work so hard on one’s composition. Grand Band are such fantastic, engaged musicians – their feedback was pragmatic and detailed, and their performances were superlative.

“Writing for six pianos was great fun – I have wanted to compose for that ensemble for a long time and am very glad I had the chance to do so.”

Lucy McPhee, a student currently studying for her Masters in Music at Cardiff University, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Peter Reynolds Composer Studio. We had many interesting seminars that challenged the way I compose and think about composing. It was amazing to have one of my pieces played by the Grand Band ensemble, and I can’t wait to hear the outcome of the recordings.”

The Composer Studio was named in celebration of the composer Peter Reynolds who passed away suddenly in 2016. Peter had a longer connection with the Vale of Glamorgan Festival and at the time of his death was working on a special commission for the 2017 Festival of a car horn fanfare.

The Vale of Glamorgan Festival, widely regarded as one of the most adventurous and unique festivals in Great Britain, is the only UK classical music festival dedicated to the music of living composers.

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