We caught up with Hugo Mak, one of our fab four finalists for 2020 ERSO Soloist of the Year
What is your main occupation at the moment?
I am currently a postgraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music, studying bassoon with professor Robin O’Neill. I am also on trial with the BBC Philharmonic as sub-principal bassoon.
What are your ambitions for the future?
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Mark Twain.
As a passionate musician, I hope to perform in a professional orchestra full-time.
What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when youstarted?
I played the violin before switching to the bassoon when I was 15. There was a lack of bassoons in the school’s orchestra so I picked up the school’s rusty instrument and started finding my way around the complicated keywork. I have never regretted the change as I find the bassoon much more rewarding to play!
What made you choose the concerto that your will be playing?
For the bassoon there is not a lot of romantic repertoire, let alone concertos. This recently-discovered concerto attributed to Rossini is a lovely piece that I think deserves to be played more often.
What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Chris Stark?
Being a bassoonist we are usually hiding at the back of the orchestra, having the chance to perform as a soloist would be a wonderful opportunity!
This weekend we had the privilige of reviewing 23 really fabulous entries for our 2020 ERSO Soloist of the Year competition. We were overwhelmed by the talent that was displayed and choosing only 4 players to move onto the Final was incredibly tough.
After an amazing afternoon on Sunday’s Final Workshop for the ERSO Emerging Composers’ competiton, we had a really tough choice to make in selecting a winner. Our fab five finalists were selected from a really impressive set of candidates and the workshop showed why these five earned their places in the final. Each composer had a totally unique approach to creating a Birthday Fanfare for Ernest Read – but the thing that united them was talent!
After much deliberation, we are delighted to announce that talented young composition student Alexander Papp is our winner.
What an afternoon we had at today’s Final Workshop for the ERSO Emerging Composers’ competiton. Our fab five finalists were selected from a really impressive set of candidates and today showed why they earned their places in the final. Each composer had a totally unique approach to creating a Birthday Fanfare for Ernest Read – but the thing that united them was talent!
We were delighted to be joined by acclaimed composer Emma-Ruth Richards, who helped us to select the finalists, and whose feedback will be invaluable to the young composers.
Watch this space for news on our winner – a tough choice for ERSO to pick a winner from such an excpetional group!
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!
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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:
Watch this space for more information about the fantastic five!