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ERSO’s Fab Five -meet Andreas

We caught up with Andreas Swerdlow, one of our “fab five” composers who are finalists in the ERSO emerging composers’ competition: “A Fanfare for Ernest Read”.
We’re so excited to work on his excellent fanfare in our workshop final on March 15th.  It’s great to be the first orchestra to play one of Amdreas’s pieces!
andreas pic
Andreas Swerdlow

“My musical journey started like many others, grinding bow hairs against the strings of an unfortunate violin. It was through this instrument, and being a part of various orchestras and ensembles, that I developed a love for music and the ambition to create my own.

At this moment, I am studying for a degree in mathematics, and composition is my primary excuse for missing lectures. I wish to continue balancing these competing interests in the future, by developing as a composer and having my music performed more frequently. The workshop on the 15th of March will be the first time that an orchestra has played one of my pieces, and I hope it is not the last.”

ERSO’s fab five – meet Alexander!

We caught up with Alexander Papp, one of our “fab five” composers who are finalists in the ERSO emerging composers’ competition: “A Fanfare for Ernest Read”.
We’re so excited to work on his excellent fanfare in our workshop final on March 15th.
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Alexander Papp

19 year-old composer  Alexander  Papp  holds  a  scholarship  at  the  Royal  Academy   of  Music  studying  composition  with  Gary  Carpenter.   Alex  previously  studied  at  the  Purcell  School,  is  a  Composer  alumni  of  the  National   Youth  Orchestra  and  in  2016/17  was  an  Associate  Composer  with  the  Britten   Sinfonia  Academy.     In  2016  he  was  a  prizewinner  in  the  RPS  Duet  Young  Composer  Prize  and  in  2017  he   won  the  RSNO  ‘Notes  from  Scotland’  Young  Composer  Prize.

Alex told us about his inspiration:
“It  was  only  four  years  ago  that  I  became  convinced  I  wanted  to  become  a  composer   and  I  am  fortunate  enough  to  be  able  to  pin  point  the  exact  moment  I  knew  this.  I   was  at  Junior  Guildhall  playing  the  second  violin  in  Dvorak’s  7th  Symphony  and  the   second  movement  made  me  feel  a  way  I  had  never  felt  before.  I  became  in  love  with   the  music,  obsessed  to  the  point  that  I  can  literally  tell  a  story  about  what  I  think  the   music  is  saying.  The  fact  that  a  composer  made  me  feel  this  way  inspires  me  to  do   the  same,  and  I  aim  to  create  a  form  of  storytelling  is  within  my  music.”

ERSO’s fab five – meet Sarah

We caught up with Sarah Cattley, one of our “fab five” composers who are finalists in the ERSO emerging composers’ competition: “A Fanfare for Ernest Read”.
We’re so excited to work on her excellent fanfare in our workshop final on March 15th.
Sarah Cattley photo
Sarah Cattley

“I read music at Newnham College, Cambridge, where my composition
supervisors included Joseph Phibbs and Cheryl Frances-Hoad. Since I
graduated in 2016, my music has been performed in Ireland, France and Sweden, as well as across the UK in venues such as Saffron Hall, Buckfast Abbey and Ely Cathedral. In 2017-18 I was Caritas Chamber Choir’s Composer of the Year, and last year I had two pieces performed on BBC Radio 3.

I’ve written a lot of choral music and chamber music, but this fanfare for
ERSO is my first piece for orchestra, so I know the workshop will be a
fantastic learning opportunity – I’m excited to discover what in my piece
works well and what doesn’t! I’m keen to write more orchestral music in the future and I’m sure it will be informed by the experience of hearing my piece workshopped by ERSO.”

ERSO’s fab five – meet Caitlin

We caught up with Caitlin Harrison, one of our “fab five” composers who are finalists in the ERSO emerging composers’ competition: “A Fanfare for Ernest Read”.
We’re so excited to work on Caitlin’s excellent fanfare in our workshop final on March 15th.
caitlin pic
Caitlin Harrison

Caitlin Harrison began her studies in composition at Birmingham Junior Conservatoire before completing her undergraduate degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with Stephen Montague and Deirdre Gribbin. She participated in an Erasmus exchange to the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland, where she studied with Zygmunt Krauze.

Caitlin is an ambitious composer who enjoys new and innovative projects. Her work includes blindfolding performers, filming in an old Jewish ghetto and recording dancers in a swimming pool. Her violin concerto for chamber orchestra was premiered by Ben Richardson and conducted by Jonathan Mann in June 2018 along with her art film ‘Noise’. Recent commissions include works for St Wulfram’s Church Choir (Grantham), Exeter College Chapel Choir (Oxford) and Ensemble ISIS. Caitlin is currently studying for an MPhil in composition at the University of Oxford under Robert Saxton.

ERSO’s fab five – meet Jared

We caught up with Jared Destro, the first our our “fab five” composers who are finalists in the ERSO emerging composers’ competition: “A Fanfare for Ernest Read”.
We’re so excited to work on Jared’s excellent fanfare in our workshop final on March 15th.
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Jared Destro

“Not being from a musical family, my initiation into music was in many ways random and unexpected. I began my musical career when I was thirteen, starting first as a piano improviser, then as a composer. Now twenty-one, I continue to develop these skills as a Master’s student of composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

While very different from my home of Buffalo, NY (USA), I have fully immersed myself in a wide variety of projects in my first year of postgraduate studies. Perhaps one of my personally most-anticipated projects includes a performance of my orchestral work Harvest Festival, Op. 32a scheduled for the June 24th, 2020 at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff by the RWCMD Symphony Orchestra under conductor David Jones.

My goal is to continue to write for as many occasions as I can possibly find, and to be a composer-in-residence for an organization is my ultimate aim. Additionally, I hope to one day help others in their compositional pursuits, offering my teachings and advice as a tutor/lecturer.”

 

Shortlist composers announced

We’re very excited to be able to announce a shortlist of composers for ERSO’s composers’ competition.

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Emma-Ruth Richards

Emerging composers were asked to submit an inspiring, contemporary classical Fanfare to help us celebrate ERSO’s 90th birthday.  We were thrilled by the number of impressive submissions and the huge amount of talent that was demonstrated and we were delighted to have acclaimed British composer Emma-Ruth Richards as part of our panel assessing the entries.

 

Selecting only a few composers to move onto the final stage was a really tough choice, but in the end we narrowed it down to five really talented composers who have been invited to the workshop final on March 15th.

The five finalists are:

  • Jared Destro
  • Alexander Papp
  • Andreas Swerdlow
  • Sarah Cattley
  • Caitlin Harrison

Watch this space for more information about the fantastic five!

ERSO emerging composers competition flyer-page-001

A soaring success despite the storm!

Despite the efforts of the storm to deter both players and audience, last night’s Brahms and Debussy concert really was a soaring success!

The day didn’t start so well – our soloist looked likely to be stranded in Birmingham.  And then our lovely bass trombone, Malcolm, was knocked over by the wind and wasn’t able to play.  We ended up fielding a stand-in player (huge thanks to David Barnard who is a Trustee for the Ernest Read Trust) wearing leader John’s spare shirt and playing what can only be described as a fairly rudimentary instrument sourced by Brass Leader Grady, who travelled across London for most of the afternoon and almost didn’t get back in time due to tube problems!

Come concert time and all of this was forgotten.  Soloist Chu Yu Yang gave a lyrical and immensley accomplished performance of the Lark Ascending – orchestra and audience alike were hugely impressed by his gorgeous tone.  Conductor Chris illuminated La Mer to our audience using some well chosen musical examples followed by the full work and the evening ended with a stirring performance of Brahms’ 1st Symphony.

A real case of all’s well that ends well!

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Soloist Chu Yu Yang and conductor Chris Stark 
joe smiling at the end
Happy with a job extremely well done!
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Trombones with the much appreciated stand-in David Barnard on bass trombone