It’s an exciting time at RYO HQ this January! Making Music have just announced that we have been selected for a wonderful project for 2022! We are teaming up with one of our local adult orchestras, the Aldworth Philharmonic, to Adopt a Music Creator! Not only will we work with APO, but also the lovely composer Caitlin Harrison.
About Adopt a Music Creator
The Adopt a Music Creator project brings together music groups and music creators to collaborate on creating a brand new piece of music. The project pairs leisure-time music groups (like us and APO) with a music creator for a year – this is where Caitlin comes in! This culminates in a premiere performance, a recording and a radio broadcast.
The music creator has the opportunity to get to know us in both RYO and APO, and write a piece especially for us. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us. We have the chance to contribute to the creation of a new work by one of the UK’s most promising music creators.
The Adopt a Music Creator project is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, and is funded by the PRS Foundation and the Philip & Dorothy Green Music Trust.
Making Music supports and champions leisure-time music across the UK, providing practical service, artistic opportunities (like this one!) and a collective voice for over 3,800 member groups.
The launch event
At the tail-end of last year, Making Music contacted us to say we had been successfully selected to the project. They invited us to a launch event on 16th January, and were sworn to secrecy until then!
So last Sunday, RYO Secretary Becky and Music Director Mel set off to London. Representatives from APO (Andrew and Chico) joined us there, and Making Music fed us coffee and biscuits!
We were unsure what to expect, so it was reassuring to find out more about past projects. In particular it was lovely to see composer Laura Shipsey at the event. Laura is known to us, having composed for APO before. Making Music selected her as a Music Creator in the previous year’s project. She was able to tell us all about her work with the City of Bristol Brass Band, which was a great learning experience for both her and the band!
The highlight of the day – yes even more than the biscuits – was meeting others involved in our project. Making Music paired us with composer Caitlin Harrison, and we have as our mentor Fraser Trainer. We hugely enjoyed chatting with them both during the day as we started to make plans.
Why did we apply?
Last year, Mel saw an email from Making Music advertising the opening of applications for the Adopt a Music Creator project. She didn’t know what it was all about, so ventured onto the Making Music website to have a read. Mel has been a member of APO for many years, and has played many of the new works they commissioned. Seeing this opportunity to give RYO the same experience seemed too good to be true!
Contemporary music is not always easy to programme. It can be tricky to find the right style, orchestration and budget. Young musicians’ experience of new music can equally be hard to come by. One of our longest RYO members commented she’s only ever heard one piece of contemporary music. So this project is a great opportunity to introduce a new generation of Reading’s musicians to music they would not ordinarily get to hear or play.
Mel and Andrew, who is the Music Director of APO, have also talked about teaming up to play something together. This presents challenges too, as traditional orchestration does not usually allow for doubling up of wind instruments. We didn’t want anyone to miss out! So what better way to present a joint piece than have one written especially for our forces?
Both RYO and APO committees were on board with the scheme, we submitted our application, and the rest of the story you know!
About our new team
Caitlin is a composer based in Oxford, having studied composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and then at the University of Oxford.
Prestigious ensembles including the Kreutzer Quartet, Oxford Philharmonic, BBC Singers, Trio Atem and Exeter College Choir (Oxford) have all performed works by Caitlin. She was shortlisted for the NCEM Young Composers Competition 2020, Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra’s Emerging Composers Competition 2020 and the Henfrey Composition Prize 2021.
Fraser teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has five London Sinfonietta commissions to his name and has also written for groups including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Fraser leads many creative, collaborative projects in a wide variety of contexts and regularly trains musicians and teachers.
Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
The Aldworth Philharmonic (locally known as APO) is a non-professional orchestra based in Reading. Working on a project basis, the orchestra presents two or three formal concerts per year, plus a variety of workshops, events and performances at festivals. With an adventurous repertoire, they especially love performing music by living composers. They have commissioned nearly 5 hours of new music from their young composers award winners over the last 15 years. In 2021, APO was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Inspiration Award.
So what next?
We are looking forward to welcoming Caitlin to our rehearsal on Friday 28th January. It will be fun for us to show her what we get up to, and hopefully she will enjoy getting to know some of our members. Caitlin and Fraser will also be meeting members of APO as they rehearse the following day.
After that – watch this space for updates! In particular for…