Antigua 2024 day 4

Antigua 2024 day 4

Antigua Day 4

2024

Day 4 in Antigua was dedicated to a deep dive into the world of harmony. Our young composers gathered together to explore the intricate relationships between dissonance and consonance, and to investigate how different chord separations can affect the overall feel of the music.

The morning session started with an engaging discussion on the basics of harmony. The students learned about dissonance and consonance—clashing and non-clashing chords—and how these elements create tension and resolution within a piece of music. The tutors illustrated these concepts with examples from various musical genres, showing how composers use dissonance to build suspense and consonance to provide relief.

 

Next, the students experimented with creating their own harmonic progressions. They worked in small groups, each tasked with composing a short piece that employed both dissonant and consonant chords. This hands-on approach allowed them to hear the immediate impact of their harmonic choices and understand how subtle changes can dramatically alter the mood and emotion of a piece.

The next step was to move the focus to chord separations. Demonstrating how spreading out the notes of a chord—placing them in different octaves or giving each note to a different instrument—can change the texture and feel of the harmony. The students then tried techniques in their compositions, experimenting with various ways to voice their chords.

After a day working on our compositions and integrating newfound skills, the day culminated in a sharing session, where each group presented their compositions. The variety of harmonic textures and the creative use of dissonance and consonance were truly impressive. It was clear that the students had not only grasped the theoretical concepts but also begun to develop their own unique voices.

Adding to the excitement of the day, our team was featured on the national breakfast TV programme, Good Morning Antigua. Key tutors Ellen and Ka Youn, along with Alison Cox, were interviewed, sharing insights about our project and the impact it is having on the young musicians. Our wind duo, Rosemary and Lily, performed a new fanfare written especially for the occasion, showcasing the talent and creativity of our participants.

Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip

Antigua 2024 Day 3

Antigua 2024 Day 3

Antigua Day 3

2024

Day 3 saw us travel to the iconic Sir Vivien Richards Cricket stadium, the home of some fairly recent international matches for the world cup!, for the start of our eagerly anticipated composition workshops. The workshops mark a historic moment as the first composition project ever carried out in the Caribbean. Additionally, it’s the first time any musical project has brought together participants from multiple islands. 

The course is made up of  around 40 students from the islands of Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, and Montserrat participating and learning from our young tutors and musicians. Students involved are taking part in one of four courses: composition for film, fusion music, jazz composition, and composition for wind & brass.

The morning session began with everyone meeting for the first time, followed by splitting into our new groups. Each course dived into its unique area of focus:

  • Film Composition: Students explored how music influences emotions on screen.
  • Jazz Composition: Groups investigated how rhythms can work against each other to create exciting beats.
  • Fusion Music: The fusion group began to explore the power of spoken word and how music can enhance it.
  • Wind and Brass Composition: These groups explored their instruments and the various timbres they can achieve.

It was an inspiring start to our workshops, with students engaging enthusiastically and beginning their journey into the world of composition. The historic nature of this project added an extra layer of excitement and significance to the day.

Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip

Antigua 2024 Day 2

Antigua 2024 Day 2

Antigua Day 2

2024

Our first full day back in Antigua has been non stop, full of preparations and performances. After rising early due to the jetlag and enjoying a morning swim. The team started the day by getting to know one another better, planning at breakfast and generally swapping stories and experiences that have brought us closer together. Their camaraderie will be essential as we prepare for the composition workshops we’re looking forward top delivering this week we’re aim to unlock the creative potential of the young musicians we’ll be working with.

In the afternoon, we had the pleasure of meeting up with the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) once again. The reunion brought us together to rehearse for the evening’s big event; the final concert of the summer series at the American University of Antigua.

The concert was attended by the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams, and Her Excellency, Karen-Mae Hill, the High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda. Performing with ABYSO was certainly our highlight of the day. It was a real treat to see them again. We were so impressed by the progress the young musicians have made since our last visit. They have always demonstrated incredible drive and determination to achieve, and delivered an outstanding performance. Our team was honoured to share the stage with them.

Joined by the Antiguan Youth Choir, it was clear that this event was more than just a concert. The evening left us inspired and motivated for the days to come.

Day 2 has set a wonderful tone for our time in Antigua. With exciting workshops on the horizon, and the joy of making music together, we cannot wait to see what the rest of the week will bring.

Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip

Antigua 2024 Day 1

Antigua 2024 Day 1

Antigua Day 1

2024

We set off today to begin our latest visit to Antigua. Meeting in Gatwick airport very eaerly in the morning, our day started with a flurry of introductions as we gathered the team of students and graduates from conservatoires and top universities. Building new friendships and setting the stage for our adventure ahead.

The journey to Antigua was a mix of eager conversations and quiet reflections. After travlling across the North Atlantic ocean our plane descended, the stunning views of the island welcomed us, the sounds of the steel pan greeted the visitors at St John’s Airport.

 

To shake off the travel fatigue, we headed straight to the beach for a refreshing swim. The waters of Antigua provided the perfect remedy, rejuvenating our bodies and minds. There’s something magical about swimming in the Caribbean Sea;

As the sun began to set, we gathered for a casual dinner of pizza, sharing stories and laughter. It was a simple yet perfect way to start our visit. The evening allowed us to bond as a team, setting a positive tone for our time together on the island.

The next few days promise to be packed with activity and inspiration. We will dive into advanced composition workshops, working closely with young musicians from Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, and Montserrat. We will revisit friends from the Antigua & Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) as they prepare their summer concerts.

We are particularly excited about blending traditional Caribbean music with contemporary compositions, creating a unique and vibrant soundscape.

Day 1 was all about new beginnings—meeting our fellow adventurers, experiencing the beauty of Antigua, and laying the foundation for the friendships and collaborations that will shape our journey.

Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

Meet Jamie

Composer, Conductor, and Arranger Who Continues to Inspire
Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip

Jamie Smith

We are delighted to announce the return of Jamie, a highly versatile British composer, conductor, and arranger, for his second visit to Antigua. Jamie is currently studying composition at the Royal College of Music under Kenneth Hesketh and Simon Holt, while also studying tuba with Pete Smith. His exceptional talent was recognised in 2023 when he won the BBC Young Composer of the Year for his piece “Into Oblivion” for voice and electronics. In collaboratiion with the UCL’s Biome Health Project, he was commissioned to write for the BBC Concert Orchestra, drawing inspiration from artist Luke Jerram’s ‘Gaia’ —a replica of our planet created using detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. He looks forwards to a performance on Saturday 7 September in Nottingham’s Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms Across the UK series.

BBC Young Composer of the Year Winner

Jamie’s versatility extends beyond composition; he is an accomplished arranger with notable performances across the country. One of his most significant achievements was arranging music for the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in 2021.

In July 2023, Jamie partnered with the High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda and The Commonwealth Resounds to mentor students from the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra. This experience was profoundly impactful for both Jamie and the students. Reflecting on the experience, Jamie said, “Mentoring these talented young musicians was incredibly rewarding. Their enthusiasm and dedication to music were truly inspiring.” In November, Jamie continued his work with ABYSO during their visit to London, conducting a performance of his piece ‘Fiesta’ in Marlborough House as part of the Commonwealth Year of Youth.

This July, Jamie will return to Antigua to teach composition and looks forward to working with the High Commissioner and Commonwealth Resounds to nurture the young talent of the Caribbean.

We are excited to see the continued positive impact Jamie will have on the young musicians in Antigua. Stay tuned for more updates on Jamie’s activities and contributions to the Commonwealth Resounds.

“Mentoring these talented young musicians was incredibly rewarding. Their enthusiasm and dedication to music was truly inspiring.”

Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip

Reuben Bance Composer

Reuben Bance Composer

Composers leading the way to Antigua

Meet Reuben Bance, Composer
Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip

Reuben Bance

Reuben Bance, a multi-talented composer, conductor, and music researcher who has recently graduated from King’s College, University of Cambridge, will be one of our key composers in our team visiting Antigua & Barbuda this Summer. Reuben’s diverse musical journey and passion for both Western and non-Western music make him a remarkable addition to the Commonwealth Resounds team.

Reuben began his formal music education under the guidance of renowned composer Joseph Phibbs. His compositions have been performed in prestigious venues, including London’s Cadogan Hall, showcasing his talent and dedication to the art of composition.

 

Leadership within music

In addition to composing, Reuben is an active conductor in Cambridge, leading various orchestras, most notably the King’s College Symphony Orchestra. He is also the key music leader for the Commonwealth Resound’s Music Relay.

Reuben’s musical interests extend beyond the Western classical tradition. He is an accomplished player in non-Western ensembles, including Samulnori and Javanese Gamelan. His enthusiasm for the Changgo, a traditional Korean drum, led him to a memorable performance with the Cambridge University Samulnori Society for Dr Chung Sye-kyun, former Prime Minister of South Korea. This performance highlights Reuben’s dedication to exploring and promoting diverse musical traditions.

Reuben recently graduated with a BA in Music from the University of Cambridge, achieving a Class I with distinction graduating first in his class. He is particularly proud of his dissertation, “Harmonic Style Classification of Jazz Pianists in a Source-separated Piano Trio Dataset,” which involved training classification models to predict the identity of jazz pianists using extracted harmonic information from recorded solos. Reuben expressed his gratitude to Dr Peter Harrison and Dr Huw Cheston for their support during his research. He is looking forward to working with the Centre of Music and Science in Cambridge later this summer to prepare his dissertation for publication.

“Engaging with various musical traditions has broadened my perspective and enriched my understanding of music’s universal language. I look forward to sharing these experiences and learning from the young musicians at Commonwealth Resounds.”

Find out more about our 2024 Antigua Trip