Rotary’s Music Relay for Peace

Welcome to Rotary’s Music Relay Song for Peace!

As part of The Commonwealth’s Year of Youth 2024 project, we are challenging musicians and composers throughout the Commonwealth and around the world to take part in a unique musical relay. Rotary are supporting this event and we are delighted to see their leg of the Relay coming together.

Rotary’s Music Relay Song for Peace was based on our original song, Symphony, and composed by Oscar Brown, a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Cornwall, England.

We would love to see Rotarians from around the world encouraging schools, musicians and other organisations to create their own versions of the Rotary’s Music Relay Song for Peace and submit as part of this worldwide relay and to be featured on our interactive world map which will be on display at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHoGM) meeting in Samoa later this year.

Calling all Rotary’s young musicians, singers and composers in schools throughout the Commonwealth!

  • Would you like to have your music performed in a world class venue?
  • Would you like to have your music promoted from your own country and heard all over the
    world?
  • Do you want to inspire other young musicians in the 56 Commonwealth countries?

If the answer is YES – then Rotary’s Music Relay Song for Peace is for YOU!!

On the back of our extraordinary Queen’s Platinum Jubilee project in 2022, which was heard around the planet and broadcast live on the BBC from Buckingham Palace, and numerous media platforms throughout the world, we’re launching our latest creative musical challenge for the Commonwealth.

This time we are opening up our project in two categories:

 

  • Young musicians, singers and composers under the age of 18 on 1st September 2023.
  • Young musicians, singers and composers aged between 18 and 40 on 1st September 2023.

The starting leg of the relay was produced by young composers, living in the five regions of the Commonwealth. Siri from India, Jahfari from Antigua and Barbuda, James from Australia, Jacob from Malta and Ajiri from Nigeria. They created the song in online workshops, led by professional songwriters, Pam Sheyne & Richard Harris with composers, Jack Pepper & Alison Cox.

Listen

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

FIRST OF ALL – we would like you to listen to Oscar’s Rotary Song for Peace, called  ‘A Thousand Voices‘.

Create

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Next, you should use the song as INSPIRATION for your own performance or creative musical idea.

Choose one of these two different ways of using it:

EITHER

You can arrange the song ‘A Thousand Voices’ and sing or play it in your own way. This can be in a different language if you want.

OR

You must use fragments of the lyrics and the music from ‘c’ to make up (compose) your own piece of music or song which will be a VARIATION of the original.

Here are some helpful tips for arranging and composing your music

Record

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Film or record your new version of the song

Then you should film yourself (this can even be on a mobile phone) singing or performing your own music. This doesn’t need to be a studio recording or have much cost involved.

See our top tips for recording your music.

Upload

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Send us your music

You will need to send your music to us. There are lots of different methods to achieve this. Please share your files using any platform you are comfortable using. Google Drive, WeTransfer, Apple, 

Pass it on!

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Pass your own music on

Share this project with others! We’re going to be tracking this relay around the world and will be looking at how the music has been passed from one musician or group to another so that it reaches every country in the Commonwealth.

Pass your own music onto another school or musician and ask them to make a variation of YOUR music!

Don’t forget to send them a link to this page!

commonwealthresounds.com/relay

 

What will happen next?

  • 10 entries will be specially selected by a panel of experts to be performed in a very important concert during Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa!
  • All suitable pieces of music submitted will be posted in our ONLINE GALLERY where the young composers will be celebrated and promoted.
  • Every piece of music submitted will form part of our Commonwealth Music Relay which will run around the world and around each country.
  • You will appear on our interactive world map – wherever you live in the Commonwealth.
  • Please click here for more ideas to help you write your own music
  • Fill in our easy application form
  • We will be very excited to hear from you. Have fun writing your music!

Time to the final performances CHoGM 2024 in Samoa!

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Start thinking now

 

give yourself plenty of time

and send us your entries

as soon as possible!

The Tony Gilbert Fund

The Tony Gilbert Fund

Tony Gilbert’s Fund for Young Composers

Donate nowApply to the fund

A new fund is to be created in Tony’s name, to help provide composition lessons, either in person or online, for young people in the UK and overseas who could not otherwise afford them.

It will be a particularly fitting tribute to Tony, who would often quietly and generously use his own personal resources to help young composers (and sometimes performers too). He would always do this anonymously, and many people do not realise to this day that Tony was contributing to their musical development in this way.

Tony’s family has agreed that the fund will be run by Alison Cox’s charity, which is called ‘The Commonwealth Resounds’. This organisation is a fully registered charity and an accredited NGO, which supports music education with a special focus upon musical composition.

If you have any questions or suggestions, are sending funds from overseas, or wish to send a cheque by post, please feel free to email Alison Cox alison@commonwealthresounds.com

Commonwealth Music Relay

Commonwealth Music Relay

Calling all young musicians, singers and composers in schools throughout the Commonwealth!

  • Would you like to have your music performed in a world class venue?
  • Would you like to have your music promoted from your own country and heard all over the
    world?
  • Do you want to inspire other young musicians in the 56 Commonwealth countries?

If the answer is YES – then the Commonwealth Music Relay is for YOU!!

On the back of our extraordinary Queen’s Platinum Jubilee project in 2022, which was heard around the planet and broadcast live on the BBC from Buckingham Palace, and numerous media platforms throughout the world, we’re launching our latest creative musical challenge for the Commonwealth.

This time we are opening up our project in two categories:

 

  • Young musicians, singers and composers under the age of 18 on 1st September 2023.
  • Young musicians, singers and composers aged between 18 and 40 on 1st September 2023.

The starting leg of the relay was produced by young composers, living in the five regions of the Commonwealth. Siri from India, Jahfari from Antigua and Barbuda, James from Australia, Jacob from Malta and Ajiri from Nigeria. They created the song in online workshops, led by professional songwriters, Pam Sheyne & Richard Harris with composers, Jack Pepper & Alison Cox.

  • Show all
  • Commonwealth Music Relay Leaders
  • Commonwealth Music Relay Composers
  • Commonwealth Music Rotary Relay Performances
  • Commonwealth Music Relay Performances

Listen

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

FIRST OF ALL – we would like you to listen to this song, ‘Symphony‘ written by young composers living in the five regions of the Commonwealth, arranged and performed by school-aged pupils from The Purcell School for Young Musicians.

Create

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Next, you should use the song as INSPIRATION for your own performance or creative musical idea.

Choose one of these two different ways of using it:

EITHER

You can arrange the song ‘SYMPHONY’ and sing or play it in your own way. This can be in a different language if you want.

OR

You must use fragments of the lyrics and the music from ‘Symphony’ to make up (compose) your own piece of music or song which will be a VARIATION of the original.

Here are some helpful tips for arranging and composing your music

Record

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Film or record your new version of the song

Then you should film yourself (this can even be on a mobile phone) singing or performing your own music. This doesn’t need to be a studio recording or have much cost involved.

See our top tips for recording your music.

Upload

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Send us your music

You will need to send your music to us. There are lots of different methods to achieve this. Please share your files using any platform you are comfortable using. Google Drive, WeTransfer, Apple, 

Pass it on!

January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Partners’ Relays!

Some organisations have started their own relays to celebrate the Commonwealth Year of Youth. Click on the links below to view our partners’ relays.

Pass your own music on

Share this project with others! We’re going to be tracking this relay around the world and will be looking at how the music has been passed from one musician or group to another so that it reaches every country in the Commonwealth.

Pass your own music onto another school or musician and ask them to make a variation of YOUR music!

Don’t forget to send them a link to this page!

commonwealthresounds.com/relay

 

What will happen next?

  • 10 entries will be specially selected by a panel of experts to be performed in a very important concert during Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa!
  • All suitable pieces of music submitted will be posted in our ONLINE GALLERY where the young composers will be celebrated and promoted.
  • Every piece of music submitted will form part of our Commonwealth Music Relay which will run around the world and around each country.
  • You will appear on our interactive world map – wherever you live in the Commonwealth.
  • Please click here for more ideas to help you write your own music
  • Fill in our easy application form
  • We will be very excited to hear from you. Have fun writing your music!

Time to the final performances CHoGM 2024 in Samoa!

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Start thinking now

 

give yourself plenty of time

and send us your entries

as soon as possible!

Playon

Playon

Play On

Play On applications for 2024 are now closed. Further information about the 2025 application round will be shared on this page from September 2024. In the meantime, please read the information and guidelines on this page in full to help with application preparations. Please note that Play On applications that do not meet the stated criteria will not be considered.

Key Information for Play On funding application

Play On applications were open from Wednesday 18th October 2023 until 5pm UK time on Monday 4th December 2023.

The next round of applications will be released later in the year. Please read this information carefully before preparing your application for Play On funding to ensure that your organisation meets the relevant criteria and is able to provide the documentation required.

***Grant range: between £1,000 – £5,000***

About ABRSM

In partnership with four Royal Schools of Music, ABRSM carries on a long legacy of musical excellence. More than an awarding organisation, ABRSM supports learners from the first note they play, empowers teachers who help build musical skills and encourages progress around
the world.

As a charity, ABRSM also makes significant donations towards music education initiatives globally. They advocate for music and its many forms, playing their part to ensure the future of music education and its place in society.

Together with their partners, teachers and others around the world, ABRSM has been nurturing the future of music since 1889 – to help people start or continue their journey.

Funding activity

ABRSM is keen to support organisations that share an ambition to open up opportunities for more people to access and progress in music. We welcome applications from organisations whose projects and programmes:

  • Support ABRSM’s values around diversity and inclusion, musical progression, access and participation, and environmental sustainability
  • Provide high-quality training opportunities for those leading music education programmes;
  • Provide an inspiring and motivational experience for the learner;
  • Provide high-quality music educational value for the learner;
  • Address the barriers to accessing and progressing in music, including, but not limited to, physical, socio-economic and gender-related; including for people from underrepresented backgrounds;
  • Evidence sustainability/continuity of the project;
  • Demonstrate passion and commitment.

Eligibility

  • Your organisation must be registered in your country** and have been in operation for at least two years, as an incorporated company, charity, trust, school or other recognised
    entity;
  • You must able to produce financial accounts that show two consecutive years’ worth of profit and loss, with external audits where available;
  • There must be evidence of previous project work, either via additional documents submitted or on social media platforms or your website;
  • The funding is not available for general running costs of an organisation and must be used for specific projects or programmes;
  • The fund will only support activities or materials that are directly related to music;
  • The fund is not a scholarship programme and is not open to individuals;
  • The fund is open to countries outside the UK only;
  • The fund will not be awarded to the same organisation for more than two years.

Please note that there is no requirement for the fund to go towards ABRSM products.

*Grants above £5,000 may be considered on a case-by-case basis

**we will consider applications from organisations that are supported by UK-based partner organisations that may act as an intermediary, as long as we can verify the details of the UK partner organisation and the relationship to the applicant

Monday 16th October 2023

Applications open

Monday 4th December, 5pm GMT

Application deadline

April 2024

Public announcement of results

Key Information for Play On funding application

Play On applications were open from Monday 16th October 2023 until 5pm UK time on Monday 4th December 2023. The funding round will be open again later in 2024.

Please read this information carefully before preparing your application for Play On funding to ensure that your organisation meets the relevant criteria and is able to provide the documentation required.

***Grant range: between £1,000 – £5,000***

About ABRSM

ABRSM’s mission is to enrich lives by inspiring achievement in music. In partnership with our four Royal Schools of Music partners, we support high quality music making and learning around the world. We offer pathways and resources for learners and teachers that help build musical skills, provide goals and encourage progress. We believe that working together with others brings the best value for everyone involved in learning, teaching, creating and performing music.

Funding activity

ABRSM is keen to support organisations that share our ambition to open up opportunities for more people to access and progress in music. We welcome applications from organisations whose projects and programmes:

  • Support ABRSM’s values around diversity and inclusion, musical progression, access and participation, and environmental sustainability
  • Provide high-quality training opportunities for those leading music education programmes;
  • Provide an inspiring and motivational experience for the learner;
  • Provide high-quality music educational value for the learner;
  • Address the barriers to accessing and progressing in music, including, but not limited to, physical, socio-economic and gender-related;
  • Evidence sustainability/continuity of the project;
  • Demonstrate passion and commitment.

Eligibility

  • Your organisation must have been an incorporated company for at least two years and must be registered in your country;
  • You must able to produce financial accounts that show two consecutive years’ worth of profit and loss that are externally audited;
  • There must be evidence of previous project work, either via additional documents submitted or on social media platforms or your website;
  • The funding is not available for general running costs of an organisation and must be used for specific projects or programmes;
  • The fund will only support activities or materials that are directly related to music;
  • The fund is not a scholarship programme and is not open to individuals;
  • The fund is open to countries outside the UK only;
  • The fund will not be awarded to the same organisation for more than two years.

Please note that there is no requirement for the fund to go towards ABRSM products.

*Grants above £5,000 may be considered on a case-by-case basis

16
Oct
2023

Applications opened

04
Dec
2023

Application deadline

Monday, 4th December 5pm GMT
29
Feb
2024

Public announcement of results

April 2024

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to ask for advice, please get in touch using this form.

10 + 4 =

News

Play On: supporting music making in Lagos, Nigeria

Play On: supporting music making in Lagos, Nigeria

Kunbi’s Music Company

Play On: supporting music making in Lagos, Nigeria

This year we’re supporting Kunbi’s Music Company through our Play On fund, specifically their Making a Difference (MAD) Initiative, which seeks to provide affordable music making opportunities to families who would otherwise not be able to have music lessons.

We asked Kunbi Osinoiki, Co-Founder and CEO to tell us more about the MAD Initiative.

Can you tell us something about music making and education in Nigeria?

Nigerians love music and we have artistes like Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Wizz Kid, David O, Tems, Rhema and so many more, who have popularised Nigerian music and who have millions of fans worldwide.

However, the majority of our musicians have had to, at some point in their lives, enrol in music schools outside of Nigeria in order to refine and enhance their skills. Music tuition in Nigeria is predominantly by rote. The cost of purchasing musical instruments and tuition is out of reach of the majority of the population.

How does KMC support young people?

We launched the Making a Difference Initiative in June 2022, with the aim of widening access to music tuition to children in Nigeria.

We have been able to provide financial assistance to families who could otherwise not afford music tuition, deliver lessons in low-income schools and recruit and train intending music teachers so they are better equipped to teach music effectively to children.

How did the Making a Difference Initiative come about?

In the course of my music education journey, I became keenly aware of the power of well-structured music education to help develop a learner’s cognition, character, courage, creativity and confidence and I became burdened by the limited opportunities available to families in Nigeria to access well-structured music lessons.

So in June 2022, I decided to do something about it, and started reaching out to schools in underserved communities to see how we can provide music tuition to their students.

This led us to working with various schools including a school for children with physical and learning disabilities.

That experience led us to fundraising for, and purchasing Africa’s first Soundbeam, which would allow us to provide inclusive music making experiences for children living with disabilities.

What are the next steps for the Making a Difference Initiative?

Thanks to ABRSM Play On funding, we have been able to establish two new centres, from where we will be able to reach more people in those locations.

We have instituted a scholarship programme for teenagers starting in September 2023, where we are looking to provide tuition-free lessons for up to 40 teenagers in our teen band and choir groups.

We are also looking to provide low-cost training for more music educators that would enable them to become properly certified with internationally recognised exam bodies.

Visit KMC’s website at https://kunbismusiccompany.com


 

Play On Funds 10 projects!

Play On Funds 10 projects!

Play On Funds 10 Projects!

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and The Commonwealth Resounds launched the Play On fund in January 2023 to support music-making initiatives worldwide. Administered by The Commonwealth Resounds, Play On has already begun to make a significant impact by providing financial support to a diverse range of organizations outside of the UK. In 2023, the Play On fund has generously supported ten inspiring groups that are making a positive difference in their communities through music.

2023 Recipients

The 2023 recipients of the Play On fund represent an impressive mix of organizations from various parts of the world. These groups are making a profound difference in their communities through music education and engagement. Let’s take a moment to learn about these remarkable organizations:

BLUME Haiti:

Building Leaders Using Music Education (BLUME) Haiti uses music as a tool for social change. The organisation works in partnership with more than 50 music schools across Haiti to uplift thousands of Haitian youth through the creative power of music. ABRSM’s

Play On funding will support their Haitian Orchestral Institute programme, including helping young musicians from dangerous and inaccessible parts of Haiti travel to a safer part of the country to attend workshops and concerts.

Casa Alianza Mexico:

In partnership with Compass Children’s Charity, which funds projects in Latin America that have a meaningful and positive impact on at-risk, migrant and street children globally, we are pleased to be supporting Casa Alianza Mexico with Play On funding in 2023.

ABRSM’s grant will support their music therapy project, which proactively engages children in music workshops designed to support their emotional development and the development of new skills. It also works to repair damage caused to motor skills through prolonged solvent abuse on the streets and supports a detoxification process to prevent relapses.

Cayman Youth Choir:

ABRSM is supporting the Cayman Youth Choir through Play On this year, specifically their involvement in the “Stronger Together Choral Festival”, which proudly aims to bring together a wide range of young people from the Cayman Islands, in a celebration of music and song. The festival will feature workshops led by Mark De-Lisser and will culminate in a gala concert to showcase the unifying power of music.

 

Harmony Kenya Foundation:

The Harmony Kenya Foundation works to establish or support music departments in Government schools in Kenya. ABRSM’s Play On grant will support the Foundation’s programme at Westlands School, a primary school in Nairobi, including the purchase of new instruments and expansion of their tuition programme.

Harmony Project Phoenix:

Harmony Project Phoenix is a non-profit organisation devoted to expanding educational opportunities for marginalised students by leveraging the transformative influence of music. Since its establishment in 2015, the organisation has made a profound impact on the lives of more than 600 young individuals, with a specific focus on those from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds.

ABRSM’s Play On funding will support the American Sign Language (ASL) Choir, an innovative music initiative that serves as a bridge between the world of music and children with hearing impairments. Through an interactive and engaging approach rooted in play-based learning, the ASL Choir strives to build students’ confidence and increase representation of musicians with hearing impairments in the performing arts.

JSM Academy:

JSM Academy is a non-profit music academy that provides quality music education to disadvantaged communities within the Gauteng Province of South Africa. The Academy offers learners both instrumental and music theory tuition and provides young musicians with opportunities to develop their performance skills. ABRSM’s Play On funding will support their programme through the purchase of instruments, accessories and exam support materials.

Kunbi’s Music Company:

Kunbi’s Music Company is a hybrid music school, located in Lagos, Nigeria, that provides music lessons to students of all ages and abilities, both within Nigeria and around the world. The organisation aims to deliver music learning experiences that are fun, accessible and rewarding for all learners, and ABRSM’s Play On funding will support their work in two of their Lagos centres.

String Heads Music:

ABRSM’s Play On funding will support String Heads Music and their ‘Jingle Bells’ programme in schools across India’s Kerala region. The programme helps Indian schools develop music departments through the provision of a music curriculum, teacher training, instruments and resources.

Thrive Music Academy Africa:

Thrive Music Academy Africa is a non-profit and community-based music organisation based in Kampala, Uganda. The organisation provides quality music education to young people from lower income backgrounds and ABRSM’s Play On grant will help with the purchase of both African musical instruments such as drums and thumb pianos, and Western instruments to support the creation of a junior orchestra and brass band.

The Academy’s Founder & Executive Director, Elijah Kiwalabye, says the programme will “restore the hope of many young people in Uganda, especially those who had lost it to Covid 19’s effects. It will also enable us to discover, ignite and nurture many more music talents as never before, especially among those who had lost hope of learning music due to lack of music tuition and music instruments”.

Playon

Play On

Play On

The Commonwealth Resounds is proud and delighted to continue working in partnership with ABRSM to deliver Play On, a new, enhanced sponsorship fund for organisations and projects from non-UK countries around the world.
Find out more
After three very successful years running the Commonwealth International Composition Award, The Commonwealth Resounds is proud and delighted to continue working in partnership with the ABRSM to deliver Play On, a brand new, enhanced sponsorship programme for organisations and projects outside of the UK.
Musical organisations and groups who are working with young people and wish to apply for Play On sponsorship should complete our online application form.

Go Compose

Go Compose

The Commonwealth Resounds and its partners have been running Go Compose projects in Commonwealth countries since 2018. We have run projects throughout the UK and also in India, Antigua, the Solomon Islands and South Africa. In every case, young people have learned how to compose, supported by expert composition tutors and instrumentalists who have performed their works for them at the end of each project.

I asked if the workshop had given them a feeling that they would like to try more composing and there was a genuine and unanimous yes! They were already asking how we can do more of this and when?

Shiloh Marsh

Project Manager, Access Music, South Africa

Our latest updates

Antigua day 9 – Barbuda Concert!

Antigua day 9 – Barbuda Concert!

Day 9 in Antigua

First ever Barbuda concert

There are days that remain etched in memory, not merely for the events, but for the spirit and resonance they carry. Day 9 on our journey was one such day; Barbuda witnessed its inaugural concert. The task was formidable. With no existing arts infrastructure on the island, every instrument, equipment piece, and a sizable crew had to be ferried over on a 90-minute boat journey. As if nature wanted to test our resolve, weather-related delays briefly threatened to throw a spanner in the works. But the TCR team, ever efficient and adaptable, sprang into action. And, just as the final touches were put in place, the arrival of the Governor General to open the concert seemed like a sign from the universe that all was aligned.

The national anthem heralded the ABYSO’s debut performance on Barbuda soil. It was an historic moment, signaling not just the ensemble’s rightful embrace of the name “Barbuda” but also the island’s broader commitment to nurturing its musical roots. The earlier efforts of our team, helped initiate a string teaching programme and the recorder ensemble, bore fruit. The young recorder ensemble’s performance, featuring a fresh composition crafted in collaboration with Dan Swanni, was an aural treat. The palpable growth in the fledgling musicians’ confidence over mere days was nothing short of inspiring.

Speeches were given by Karen Thomas, ABYSO’s Barbuda Coordinator and Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill. High commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda. Her words to the parents of the islanders were full of hope, but also the reminder that it takes a team to make a difference. Everyone can play their part and everyone can achieve something incredible. With everything coming together in this concert, The ‘Create, Perform, Inspire’ programme certainly hits all three of those points.

Nature had its own dramatic encore in store for us. As we rendered ‘Under the Sea’, the heavens opened, almost making the song’s lyrics a reality! The downpour saw a scramble for cover, a brief pause, and a fervent hope for clearer skies. Once the storm abated, the concert concluded with one final performance of Abba.

Post-performance, a new challenge awaited – the race against time to pack up and board the boat. Battling the tempestuous sea again, the team’s spirits remained undeterred, taking pride in the monumental feat achieved.

We know that the future of music on the island is just starting, but wow did it start strong! At the end of the stay, 20 musicians returned elated, but tired to the Jolly Beach Hotel.

Antigua day 8 – Concert day!

Day 8 in Antigua

First concert

The eighth day of our journey heralded a day of anticipation, excitement, and magic. With the pristine backdrop of the Wetherills Estate, the talented ABYSO took to the stage for their very first concert of this expedition. There’s a unique thrill to performing al fresco, a raw and immediate connection between the performers and nature. The shifting acoustics of the outdoors adds another layer of challenge, demanding particularly keen listening from the students. Each note carried differently, and often vanishing off to somewhere different.

The grounds of the estate slowly filled, as an eager audience, bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun, settled in. Their excitement was palpable, a mix of anticipation and pride. As the first strains of music wafted through the air, it became abundantly clear that the efforts of these budding musicians had borne fruit. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with applause reverberating through the evening air. It was evident: the performance wasn’t just appreciated; it was adored.

As the evening drew to a close and the lingering notes of the concert faded, we joined our new friends, the senior tutors of ABYSO, in a different kind of symphony: one of laughter, shared experiences, and culinary delights. We dined at The Larder, where the menu tantalised our taste buds as much as our music had delighted our ears. Over a scrumptious meal, conversations flowed effortlessly, stories were exchanged, and it became evident that the bonds forged during this journey extended beyond the realm of music. Tomorrow something special will be taking place!

Antigua day 10 – Go Compose Antigua!

Antigua day 10 – Go Compose Antigua!

Day 10 in Antigua

Final performances with our concert, Go Compose Antigua!

Written by Reuben

Day 10 was filled to bursting with composition, composition, and… composition. Throughout the previous 9 days, several members of the ABYSO had sent their compositions to Alison, Ka Youn, and myself, to be played in Monday’s composer’s concert. As a result, the proposed concert programme gradually expanded throughout the week, inflating from a 40-minute concert to an hour, then an hour twenty, and so on. By the time Monday rolled around, we had a program of 14 pieces, highlighting the fantastic diversity of musical creativity on the island.

There were 4 ABSYO members who submitted individual compositions. Ja’Quan and Da’quan sent us a string quartet and a wind quartet, both beautifully concise and sumptuously pandiatonic. Da’Quan’s quartet in particular reminded me of Ravel’s string quartet, and he seemed to agree when I played the first movement to him in the afternoon’s rehearsal. Cellist Zia gave us Voyage Across the Seas, a deeply evocative piece for flute and string quintet. Orlando, a trombonist, sent us an achingly beautiful piece for large ensemble and spoken voice. His piece was so expressive that it had my eyes watering just from the MuseScore MIDI playback!

In addition to the individual compositions, the composer’s concert also featured the collaborative compositions developed throughout the trip by the composition team and the various instrumental sections of the ABYSO. There was the violinist’s piece, a string quintet, which I was frantically sewing together as late as Monday morning (a timeline I’m sure every composer is familiar with). The quintet featured melodies and accompaniments from ABYSO violinists Asafa, Alfranique, Asha, and Calynia, all massively varied in character. Tying all these fragments together resulted in a wonderfully diverse musical collage, continually moving between driving grooves and floating lullabies. While I was wrestling with this, Ka Youn was doing something similar for the lower strings, tying together their beautiful melodies into a virtuosic duet for viola and double bass. What struck us both more than anything else was the incredible creativity of the ABYSO student’s musical fragments: They would often embrace quirkiness, would never shy away from subverting harmonic and melodic expectations, making each note on the page very much their own.

The final composition scheduled for the concert featured the entire woodwind, brass, and percussion sections of the ABYSO, a collaborative piece of mammoth proportions. Through just two workshops, TCR composers Jamie and Connor created a piece, ‘Caribbean Fusions’, that featured collaboratively composed harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic cycles, with its structure being produced in real time through Connor’s gestures as proto-conductor. The end result was viscerally loud and ecstatically rhythmic, sure to get even the stiffest audience members bobbing their heads and tapping their feet.
Rehearsals in the afternoon went off without a hitch, with ABYSO students dropping in throughout the sessions to listen to the TCR instrumentalists rehearse their pieces. Everything was rehearsed by 18:15, leaving ample time for patty-eating and Ting-drinking before the concert’s scheduled start at 19:00.

What followed was one of the best concerts of my life. Education officer Caryl Edwards-Lewis compered, cultivating a wonderfully Antiguan atmosphere of audience participation and engagement, sprinkling the perfect combination of humour, encouragement, and storytelling across the evening. Sitting front row was His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams and Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill, two people who have provided invaluable help in facilitating the development of orchestral music on Antigua and Barbuda. Many of the members of the ABYSO presented their own pieces, preparing speeches that detailed the hard work and creativity of the previous week’s workshops, with each speech being met by a mandatory stretch of thundering applause and deafening whoops from parents and peers. Witnessing students, teachers, and parents lift each other up and recognise each other’s deep dedication to music-making was a truly special experience. The student’s pieces were awe-inspiring, testaments to their musical curiosity and willingness to collaborate creatively with one another. We heard film music, string music, wind music, quartets, quintets, duets, large ensembles, jazz ensembles and more, a musical kaleidoscope that represented the individual compositional talent of every single member of the ABYSO. Really special stuff.

Day 1 in Antigua

Day 1 in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda Day 1

Today was an exciting day for the 21 musicians travelling to Antigua with The Commonwealth Resounds, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of music and musicians across the Commonwealth, as we set off on a cultural exchange to the captivating island of Antigua.

Our day kicked off at Gatwick Airport, with the group meeting in person for the first time, full of anticipation and excitement. Instruments in hand and spirits buoyed, we were primed to embark on our adventure. We would like to pause to thank British Airways for their help getting all our instruments onto the plane.

On touching down in Antigua, we were greeted by Claudine and Karen Mae, The High Commissioner of Antigua. Their warmth and hospitality radiated through the welcome, we’re very grateful for their warm welcome and look forward to sharing our musical cultures.

The pace immediately picked up as our wind quintet was ushered to Pointe 99.1fm, where we had the opportunity to join the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, on his well-known evening programme, Browne and Browne. Alison and Reuben spoke at length on the station about our plans and excitement whilst we are here. Discussing all things music with Colin O’Neil the conversation was positive and he really emphasised the power that music can bring to all our lives, be that academic, social or just for our own pleasure. It was amazing to hear about all the musical opportunities that the island offers and shares with the world. This platform offered us more than just an introduction to Antiguan society; it was a precious opportunity to share our musical passion with the nation.

With the group struggling to fit into the studio. Our wind quintet, just one small component of The Commonwealth Resounds group, enchanted listeners with a captivating Disney medley.

As the programme closed, we were introduced to King Goldie, a Barbudan who plays a fabulous home-made instrument. Using waste materials he created a banjo like instrument out of a butter tin and shaft of wood found nearby, a wonderful way to use music as an environmental power for good. He performed the popular redemption song to which the entire studio sang along with joy.

Prime minister, Gastone Browne, thanking the group for their performance just hours after stepping off the flight from London.

During the programme, the Prime Minister spoke about his support for the arts, a sentiment that was heartening to hear. The arts are a bedrock of any society, and knowing they hold a place in the island’s leadership discussions underscored the significance of our cultural exchange.

We’ve hit the ground running with our cultural exchange. The maiden day perfectly encapsulated the mission of The Commonwealth Resounds. It showcased the power of music and culture to build bridges, foster understanding, and resonate with the shared spirit of humanity. The warm reception we’ve received matched the weather and the evident appreciation for the arts have set the tone for what promises to be a deeply enriching journey ahead.

Commonwealth International Composition Award – Grand Final

Commonwealth International Composition Award – Grand Final

Grand Final 2022

THE COMMONWEALTH INTERNATIONAL COMPOSITION AWARD
Contact us to reserve ticketsFind out more about the finalists

The Grand final of the Commonwealth International Composition Award will take place at 6pm on Friday 4th March 2022.

Ten wonderful pieces by our shortlisted young composers from all over the world, mentored by advanced students from the Royal Northern College of Music

The Princess Alexandra Hall, Royal Over-Seas League, Over-Seas House, Park Place, London SW1A 1LR

The Grand Final will be livestreamed

Free entry with a collection at the end to help support online composition teaching for young
people via ‘Go Compose Online’ 

The Adjudicators

Orphy Robinson

Barbara Law

Sylvia Lim

Kindly supported by

Go Compose Online

Go Compose Online

Go Compose, Online!

We created Go Compose Online during the first pandemic in 2020, to give young people who were stuck at home all over the world a chance to compose their own music. There were five excellent projects run during this time and over 70 young composers took part.

The projects were run by composers Duncan Chapman, Philip Dutton, Lauren Marshall and Sonya Knussen (2 projects)

Go Compose Online was advertised widely, helped by the ABRSM, Sound and Music and the Commonwealth Secretariat

Sonya Knussen who lives in North America, ran two excellent workshops, and enjoyed working with young composers so much that she created her own Go Compose, North America. This project is run in a different time zone to those in the UK, which is excellent for young Commonwealth composers throughout the Caribbean and in Canada. They have run many workshops during 2020 and 2021 and in the summer of 2021 even created an exciting festival for young composers. 

For all the young composers who took part in Go Compose Online, during the lockdown, The Commonwealth Resounds organised a special competition called the Commonwealth Composition Challenge. This was open to young people around the world and we created a special online concert for those shortlisted.

Go Compose, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands

The Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands

The Commonwealth Resounds Ensemble-in-Association, the Dionysus Ensemble recently travelled to the Solomon Islands to lead a musical project for young people.  This project provided expert instrumental teaching for existing students in piano and violin as well as giving some children their first ever instrumental lessons, including the first ever cello lesson on the Islands!

 The Dionysus Ensemble ran a “Go Compose Solomon Islands” day, which for the first time, introduced composition and trained the students not only how to create their own music, but to write it down. The day was focussed on music theory and notation practices as well as the importance of music being documented for posterity so that their music can be shared, performed by others and last into the future. Our students returned over the following few days with pages of newly created music, which they’d worked on at home after class, to ask advice, seek out new ideas and direction and to check their work with us. We performed and recorded all of their pieces for them so that each student now has a professionally performed record of their first piece.

 

I couldn’t sleep last night because I wanted to practise!

Reynard, 15

You taught me to be brave and to play the piano

Juanita, 8

Great teachers and musicians. Loved learning from them and listening to them playing their instruments. Such great inspirations.

Ian, 18

Beyond this Project

We would love to be able to continue the work that we started – to put in place regular teaching, a regular concert itinerary in which they could perform, to develop their composition skills, to increase the number of students able to have access to PASI and to take desperately needed resources such as instruments, spare strings, manuscript paper and music stands over for them.

Sponsors

This project would not have been possible without the kind and generous support of our sponsors and supporters.

    • The British High Commission, Honiara
    • Solomon Airlines
    • Universal Edition
    • The Mercers’ Company
    • The Royal Society of St George
    • Imperial Travel, Solomon Islands

 Find out more! A full account of the Dionysus ensemble’s time in the Solomon Islands can be found here