The Covid-19 pandemic has been a worldwide tragedy: for those who have lost their lives, for those who have lost loved ones, for those still battling in hospitals, and for those who are now practising social isolation around the world, facing an uncertain future.
In our new-music community the worldwide lockdowns have led to a shuttering of performances, performance venues, and entire ensembles. While we are heartened to see so many artists transitioning fluidly into the digital realm, we also realize that not everyone finds it so easy to step in front of a camera and broadcast. Indeed, not everyone finds it easy to continue creating amidst such unstructured anxiety.
Alongside the live-streams, the living-room concerts, the short clips of practice and connection that are streaming out anew, we wanted to continue to make what we make best: work that employs composers and performers in paid opportunities to create music together.
This is why – in partnerhsip with Zeitge-ist.com – we are launching a new series of short solo commissions through which composers will receive paid commissions to write new solo works for our musicians over the coming weeks and months. The first commissions we are announcing are drawn from our Call for Scores, which received 437 applicants from forty-nine countries around the world. These composers will write new solo works of 3 to 5 minutes over the coming weeks and we will record and release them online.
A second set of commissions in collaboration with PRS for Music were announced recently. The six composers below were initially selected to participate in PRS for Music’s Composer Workshops which were due to take place during 2020 with musicians from The Riot Ensemble and Mira Calix. Since lockdown, we have transformed these plans to focus on solo works with PRS for Music delivering online workshops alongside individual coaching and mentoring sessions. More information on these composers can be found here.
In addition to these individual commissions, we are working with Zeitgeist to commission composer Laura Bowler who – in collaboration with Russian ASMR artist Gentle Whispering – will write a piece for six players, deconstructed into parts that are performed and recorded individually, before being reconstituted into a final piece that will be released online.
Alongside these professional commissions, we are transforming our participation in the University of Southampton Gathering into this same series. These pieces will be written by Southampton’s student composers, and recorded by our musicians at the same level as the commissions described above.
If you would like to donate towards these commissions – or indeed to any of our ongoing work in new music – you can do so here. If you work at a university and would like to have your students write for our project, you can e-mail us directly.