Opportunities for composers with Psappha and the Burgess Foundation
- 24th September 2014
- Blog Posts
As part of the forthcoming Words and Music series of concerts (January to March 2015) Psappha and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation are commissioning two emerging composers to write a new ensemble work inspired by the Burgess archive.
Words and Music is a series of live, cross-arts performances, combining new music, spoken word, and dance. The performances, which will take place at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, will be filmed and made available via Psappha’s website.
The Words and Music commissions will give two composers the chance to engage with this rich archive and to respond to it musically in creative and imaginative ways.
Each composer will be given a bursary of £500.
Aim of the project
The aim of the project is to give the selected composers direct contact with Psappha’s musicians and with specialist staff at the Burgess Foundation to support the development of a new work.
How will it work?
Two composers will be selected to work with the ensemble and the Burgess Foundation between November 2014 and February/March 2015.
Each composer will write a piece (lasting not more than 8 minutes) for up to three instruments selected from ensembles below (or for ensemble of three musicians and electronics*) which will be filmed and sound recorded by Psappha. The films will be hosted on YouTube so that they can be embedded in the composers’ websites. The works should be written for an unconducted ensemble and will be performed as part of the Words and Music series.
* Electronics must be limited to a couple of speakers and a laptop (composer provides the laptop)
- The selected composers will visit the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester in November and will be given a tour of the archive by Burgess Foundation staff. They will have the opportunity to visit the archive as many times as required to research and source material to include in or inspire the new work.
- The composers will each be given a two-hour workshop session in Manchester in advance of the performance (December or early January for the February performance and mid-February for the March performance).
- The completed work and set of parts / scores are to be submitted to Psappha three weeks prior to the performance date.
- There will be two 1.5 hour rehearsals for each work prior to the performances which the composer will be invited to attend. We expect the composer to be available to attend at least one of the rehearsals and the performances.
The programme for the Words and Music artistic programme:
Wednesday 4th February 2015, performances at 6.00pm and 8.00pm
Stravinsky The Soldier’s Tale
Ensemble: clarinet. bassoon. trumpet. trombone. percussion. violin. double bass
Wednesday 18th March 2015, performances at 6.00pm and 8.00pm
William Walton Façade Entertainment
Ensemble: flute. clarinet. alto saxophone. trumpet. percussion.cello
Composers must write for up to three instruments selected from either the first or the second ensemble.
Who is eligible?
This is an opportunity for emerging composers. We expect that applicants will either be post-graduate composition students or composers at the early stages of their careers. All composers taking part in the scheme must be based in the UK. The scheme is not open to undergraduate students.
What is required from the composers?
– A genuine commitment to the project.
– To write a work that lasts a maximum of 8 minutes by the deadlines above and to agree to participate in the sessions outlined above.
How to apply?
There is no standard application form. Written applications should include: your name and full contact details; a concise summary of your composing experience; a link to a short example of your music (score or mp3 or ideally both); a brief description of how you believe this opportunity would support your development (max 200 words); and a brief outline of your ideas as to how you plan to use the Burgess archive in relation to the commission (max 300 words).
Psappha and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation are offering this opportunity to composers with a bursary of £500.
Please email your application as a single PDF document to Tim Williams : firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 13th October 2014. You will be informed of our decision by Monday 27th October 2014.
About the Psappha Ensemble
Specialising in the performance of music by living composers and that of the 20th and 21st centuries, Psappha was formed in 1991 by its Artistic Director Tim Williams. The ensemble has an extensive and exceptionally varied repertoire of hundreds of works and a reputation for technical assurance and interpretive flair.
From its Manchester base Psappha has a national and international profile, performing in venues ranging from the Linbury Theatre Covent Garden to the St. Magnus Festival, Orkney. The group has performed on four continents, most recently via a two-week residency in Hong Kong in June 2013.
Psappha has commissioned and premièred many new works by a wide range of composers, including by our patron Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Supporting emerging talent in the form of early career composers is an important strand to our work. As the Contemporary Ensemble in Association at The University of Manchester Psappha works with talented composition students to support the composition, workshopping, rehearsal and public performance of new works from the next generation.
Autumn 2010 saw the launch of Composition Lab, Psappha’s online resource to support the composition element of GCSE and A-level music.
Psappha won the Manchester Evening News Award for Opera in 2000 and has been shortlisted three times for a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society award.
Having made a number of recordings on various labels, Psappha launched its own CD label in 2004 with Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King and Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot. The most recent release, Theatre of Attractions, features music by Kenneth Hesketh.
Psappha seeks to engage with a wider audience through the digital dissemination of its work through free-to-view films of live performances which can be viewed online via all devices. Psappha performances have been viewed online in 73 different countries with its website viewed by more than 13,000 unique browsers in the past year.