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?
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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’
Kindly supported by
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.
The Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands
The Commonwealth Resounds Ensemble-in-Residence, 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!
You taught me to be brave and to play the piano
Great teachers and musicians. Loved learning from them and listening to them playing their instruments. Such great inspirations.
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.
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 Dionysius ensemble’s time in the Solomon Islands can be found here
Go Compose is a 1-day training programme for young composers which was created by the UK’s most well-known new music organisation, Sound and Music and has been run in venues all over the UK for several years. In 2019, The Commonwealth Resounds visited Antigua to deliver a wide variety of musical outreach including several Go Compose sessions for composers on the island.
Go Compose offers the young composers a ‘crash course’ in composition, where in a single day, they are coached by expert composition tutors and professional instrumentalists and enabled to write a short piece of music, which is then rehearsed and recorded. This provides a very positive first experience for young emerging composers.
GO COMPOSE, ANTIGUA! included the following participants:
- Alison Cox, Head of Composition, The Purcell School – Key Tutor
- Khan Cordice, Steelpan Expert, Composer and Director of Music, The Clare School – Associate Key Tutor
- Ka Youn Yoo, Alex Papp and Joshua Mock – Young Composition Assistants
- Jordan Black, Alex Papp, Joshua Mock and Khan Cordice – Performers.
- Young composers Teshanna, Brianna, Erienne, Deniko, Khadijah, Jahfari, Tatyana, Tasheka, Khara and Alliyah
The young composers wrote for four instruments – clarinet, viola, steelpan and cello, some of which were familiar to them and others which were not! There was a lot of lively discussion about combining and notating different musical techniques and special effects. Graphic scores were used by those who wanted to present their music visually in a different way.
All 10 young composers managed to finish their pieces in a single day, by working incredibly hard and making full use of the opportunity.
To close the project, there was a fascinating concert of new pieces written by the young composers during ‘Go Compose, Antigua! on the previous day!
The concert was attended by Their Excellencies the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda and the High Commissioner, plus everyone in the ABYSO. Each young composer introduced their own piece before it was played.
The Governor-General and the High Commissioner chose three of the 10 compositions to be performed in the Commonwealth@70 Gala Concert on Sunday July 14th.
Everyone was extremely proud of ALL the young composers for their hard work and achievement.