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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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.