Our Education Work

Riot Ensemble has equally worked with groups of eight-year-old first-time composers, and some of the most established masters of our times. Whether working on graphic scores with children in schools, doing readings of new works for composers in higher-education, or preparing for concerts in top European festivals, we see all our work as a constantly educational process: We learn from one another, collaborate, incorporate new and unfamiliar ideas, and connect as we create music together.

introducing first-time composers to instruments and their sounds

Sample Project 1: Get Graphic!

Get Graphic! is an educational project aimed at Key Stage 3 students in which they compose a small chamber work using graphic notation inspired by the shapes and colours of the Bauhaus movement. The project consists of a series of interactive workshops with Riot Ensemble musicians [which can be delivered online or in person when circumstances again allow]. We look together at existing graphic scores and the students explore musical texture, expression and form without feeling constrained by traditional notation. We then work alongside the students as they compose, and we perform and record their finished work.

Aria by John Cage

Sample Project 2: Just One Word

For slightly older/more advanced students we offer a project such as Just One Word, which introduces them to traditional notation as they compose a duet for one voice and one instrument setting just one word of the student’s choosing. The resulting pieces are often funny, poignant and exciting for the students, and for us!


Riot’s workshops with students are subsidised by our other fundraising. We are able to provide anywhere from two-to-four musicians who work with the students in large and smaller groups throughout the project. The cost to schools is normally £200-£300 for each workshop.

Riot Ensemble performing on stage at Kings Place Hall One in February 2020

Testimony of a previous student

Marie-Louise Ptohos is a keen pianist and cellist who loves to perform at school events, orchestras and competitions. She also likes composing. The Moon Dance was her first attempt at composition when she was 10 years old and led her to win Riot Ensemble’s 2015 Young Composer of the Year award. The whole experience of being mentored, composing and having her piece performed by musicians was beyond her initial expectations. Her work was subsequently featured by Riot Ensemble at the Spitalfields Festival, and this experience has motivated her enough to keep on composing!

For the past 5 years she attended various composing workshops including the Academy Inégales weekend, the Gesualdo Six, the BBC Prom Inspire, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Sound and Music Go Compose. She also took part in various annual composing competitions by the BBC Proms, Cambridge Youth Music, Benslow Music, Royal Opera House and the London Sinfonietta Postcard pieces.


Our education work is headed up by our soprano soloist Sarah Dacey, and is overseen by our trustee Chrissy Kinsella, CEO of the London Music Fund. We always love to hear from schools interested in taking on these – or other – interesting projects. Please e-mail Sarah to ask about availability or discuss how we can work with you and your students!

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