residency

blog: From Satie to Llwyncelyn / Changing Focus (CoDI Chamber) by Nathan James Dearden

The beautiful aspect of such a residency is the time allowed to develop ideas, explore new territory and the freedom to shift focus.

I knew I wanted to explore alternative musical formats and how we could marry them with live sound (i.e. found recordings or audio-visual elements) for this project. But what recording? The seed for this new work with the amazing Berkeley Ensemble sprouted whist visiting the Tate Modern's exhibition in summer 2018, Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33. Otto Dix to George Grosz. Cold veracity and unsettling imagery.

One work that caught my attention was Satie (The Prelude) of 1925 by Prosper de Troyer (1880 - 1961). A huge painting of composer Erik Satie conducting kabarett and highlighted with a golden halo from a near musician. Glorifying the modernist-maestro status. However aside from its vibrancy and innate musicality, I wanted to create a partner piece for Satie. Erik. A work of music bred directly from Satie that would accompany found video recordings of the composer. An exploration of kabarett, through silent film and a contemporary realisation of the music within.

But.

(All good stories, have a 'but')

The copyright permissions on silent film from this period come with a hefty price (both figuratively and literally). Therefore the focus had to shift. erik (proposed name for the piece) has to be shelved. For now.

And where do I turn? To Cardiganshire? Having listened to National Museum Wales' Folk Song Collection every since studying at Cardiff University some years ago, I fell in love with a 1961 recording of 'Y caseg ddu' (The Black Mare) - a song filled with dark humour and a bittersweet reality of hardship and poverty at the core. However the recording (SFNHM Tape 428. Collected 16.11.61 from Bertie Stephens (hound breeder, etc., b. 1900), Llwyncelyn, Llangeitho, Cardiganshire.) has such a wonderfully visceral quality, with Bertie Stephens providing his own percussion by beating on the table next to him. This is a recording that I could not turn my back on. How could I not do something with this?

And here I am. After two exciting workshops surrounded by talented composers and superb, open-minded musicians, we know have a starting point having introduced CoDI to Bertie Stephens. Starting this project from a very pure place, just using his voice. And little by little going from his world to my world, which is much more 'cacophonous' and has a more urban sensibility.

I am looking forward to getting to know Bertie more over the coming months.

Nathan 'adopted' into Making Music UK / Sound and Music's Adopt-a-Composer 2018 Scheme by Nathan James Dearden

Nathan has been selected onto the Making Music UK's Adopt-a-Composer scheme. As part of this acclaimed programme, Nathan has the opportunity to closely collaborate with the Swansea Philharmonic Choir towards a new 10-minute work to be premiered in 2019 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

What is the Adopt-a-Composer scheme?

The Adopt a Composer scheme pairs leisure time choirs, orchestras and ensembles with a composer for a year culminating in a première performance and a broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The composer has the opportunity to get to know a performing group and write a piece especially for them to première, while the group has the chance to contribute to the creation of a new work by some of the UK’s most promising composers. Pieces that are composed are usually around ten minutes long (as a very rough approximation) and are usually written to work around your existing repertoire and schedule.

The project is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, in association with BBC Radio 3, and funded by the PRS Foundation, Philip and Dorothy Green Trust and Creative Scotland.

Nathan selected for Tŷ Cerdd's CoDI CHAMBER Programme by Nathan James Dearden

Nathan has been selected alongside thirteen Welsh and Wales-based composers to participate in Tŷ Cerdd’s new initiative, which was launched in early June. CoDI Composer Pathways is a multi-faceted programme, aiming to create a community of Welsh composers, promote shared learning and collaboration, and provide creative opportunities.

What is CoDI CHAMBER?

Six composers have been selected to develop their writing for chamber ensemble over a series of intensive Sunday workshops with tuition and development work given by Lynne Plowman. These include a session on ‘rehearsing and conducting your work with ensemble’ by Wales-based New Music conductor Michael Rafferty. Student’s pieces will be workshopped by the Berkeley Ensemble which will make a studio recording of each and give their premieres at the project’s final concert at Cardiff University. The recordings may be released by Tŷ Cerdd Records and (where composers’ publishing rights/deals allow) also published by Tŷ Cerdd.

The artists’ call was made in June, offering paid creative development opportunities for up to 14 composers. 65 applications were received.

Nathan selected for International contemporary music festival, CROSSROADS by Nathan James Dearden

Nathan is one of fifteen composers from across the world who has been selected to be featured at the 2018 CROSSROADS International Contemporary Music Festival.

15 selected composers have been invited to compose for and participate in the Crossroads Festival and its events, held at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg on 6-8th of December, 2018. Nathan has been paired to write a new oboe quartet for the Hebrides Ensemble, an ensemble which has established itself as one of the foremost chamber music collectives based in the UK.

What is CROSSROADS?

CROSSROADS aims to promote international cooperation between composition, and contemporary music performance students from different countries. Its main goal is to create an opportunity for young artists to learn from each other, to get to know different cultures and to build international relationships.

This year the Festival is interconnected with the 60th Anniversary of the Studio for Electronic Music of Mozarteum University of Salzburg. This connection has set the focus of the Festival to be electro-acoustic and electronic music. The program will feature composers as Javier Torres Maldonado, Francois Bayle, Barry Truax, Jean-Luc Hervé, Curtis Roads and Elian Radigue, performed by ensembles Dedalus, Hand Werk, Enssle-Lamprecht, Hebrides Ensemble, Platypus and NAMES. CROSSROADS also aims strongly for contemporary music education: four lectures will be held about various issues on composing and working with ensembles.

New work featured at Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music by Nathan James Dearden

Nathan James Dearden has been selected as a featured young composer in this year's Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music.

Selected to take part in the first Peter Reynolds Composer Studio, the young composers have the opportunity to work with the festival's artists and showcase their music in one of Britain's finest new music festivals.

They will benefit from an exciting few days of workshops, seminars, one-to-one sessions with visiting composers and attendance at rehearsals and concerts.

In each module there will also be an opportunity for composers to hear a read-through and archival recording of a short work played by ensembles who are taking part in the Festival. These sessions are open to the public.

Works by Nathan Dearden, William Marsey, Lucy McPhee and David Roche can be heard at St. David’s Hall on Monday 22nd May at 2.00pm performed by Grand Band from New York.

Works by Jordan Hirst, Anselm McDonnell, Sam Messer and Yfat Soul Zissocan be heard at Cardiff University School of Music on Friday 26th May at 2.30pm performed by the Marsyas Trio.

The Composer Studio has been named in celebration of the festival's friend and colleague Peter Reynolds who passed away suddenly at the end of last year. Peter was a highly original composer whose works display a huge depth of knowledge of musical literature. He was not only highly informed but had a unique artistic perspective as well. He had a long connection with the Vale of Glamorgan Festival and at the time of his death was working on a special commission for the 2017 Festival of a car horn fanfare.

The Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music is a contemporary music festival based in and around the county of Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and held annually during May (formerly September). The festival was founded in 1969 by Welsh composer John Metcalf, who is the Artistic Director to this day.

After initially being a generic classical music festival, the Vale of Glamorgan Festival re-defined its artistic vision in 1992 to become a "festival of living composers". Since then it has gained a reputation as one of the most adventurous and unique in Great Britain.[In recognition of this position, the Vale of Glamorgan Festival received the Prudential Award in 1994. The Festival’s Artistic Director received one of four inaugural Creative Wales Ambassador Awards from the Arts Council of Wales in 2009.

For more information about the festival, please CLICK HERE.

royal Holloway composers featured at International Young Composers' Meeting by Nathan James Dearden

Current Postgraduate Research Scholar Nathan James Dearden and Royal Holloway Alumnus Vasileios Filippou (2011-2014) are currently attending the 23rd International Young Composers Meeting in The Netherlands.

In collaboration with the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, the International Young Composers Meeting is hosted by the innovative orchestra, orkest de ereprijs. orkest de ereprijs is the leading ensemble for new music in the eastern Netherlands. The group has made a name for itself both at home and abroad, initiating new projects, often in co-operation with other disciplines, on both a local and international level. The strength of the orchestra is its approach to new music, introducing audiences to high-quality contemporary music while preserving its accessibility to the general public.

Through a series of lectures, seminars, concerts and excursions, the selected composers will present their work in a final concert with orkest de ereprijs (directed by Wim Boerman). This year's meeting will be directed by esteemed composers such as Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres, Joe Cutler, Mayke Nas and Christopher Trapani.

With over 100 applications received by orkest de ereprijs, the fifteen composers selected are alongside Nathan and Vasileios are: Paul Zaba (UK), Ali Can Puskulcu (USA), Nina Fukuoka (Japan), Jjimena Maldonado Alvarez (Mexico), Elisabeth Angot (France), Piyawat Louilarpprasert (Thailand), Ryan Lindveit (USA), Ryan Probert (UK), Monika Szpyrka (Poland), Szymon Stanisław Strzelec (Poland), Aya Yoshida (Japan), Patrick Giguere (Canada), Blanka Stachelek (Poland) and Harm Roche van Tiddens (South Africa).

Their new works 'we cannot let this stand' (Dearden) and 'Swash' (Filippou) will be premiered on Friday 17th February, 2017 at Podium Gigant (Apeldoorn, The Netherlands).

Nathan James Dearden selected International Young Composers Meeting 2017 by Nathan James Dearden

Nathan James Dearden has been selected as one of sixteen young composers from across the world for the 23rd International Young Composers Meeting during February 2017 in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.

In collaboration with the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, the International Young Composers Meeting is hosted by the innovative orchestra, orkest de ereprijs. orkest de ereprijs is the leading ensemble for new music in the eastern Netherlands. The group has made a name for itself both at home and abroad, initiating new projects, often in co-operation with other disciplines, on both a local and international level. The strength of the orchestra is its approach to new music, introducing audiences to high-quality contemporary music while preserving its accessibility to the general public.

Through a series of lectures, seminars, concerts and excursions, the selected composers will present their work in a final concert with orkest de ereprijs (directed by Wim Boerman). This year's meeting will be directed by esteemed composers such as Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres, Joe Cutler, Mayke Nas and Christopher Trapani.

With over 100 applications received by orkest de ereprijs, the fifteen composers selected are alongside Nathan are: Paul Zaba (UK), Ali Can Puskulcu (USA), Nina Fukuoka (Japan), Jjimena Maldonado Alvarez (Mexico), Elisabeth Angot (France), Piyawat Louilarpprasert (Thailand), Ryan Lindveit (USA), Ryan Probert (UK), Monika Szpyrka (Poland), Szymon Stanisław Strzelec (Poland), Aya Yoshida (Japan), Patrick Giguere (Canada), Blanka Stachelek (Poland), Harm Roche van Tiddens (South Africa) and Vasileios Filippou (Cyprus).

For more information about the International Young Composers Meeting, please CLICK HERE.

Introducing the Royal Holloway Picture Gallery Composer-in-Residence Programme by Nathan James Dearden

Nathan is pleased to be involved in Royal Holloway University of London's inaugural Picture Gallery Student Composers-in-Residence.

This is a ground-breaking residency in which three successful students from the Department of Music will have their musical responses to the Picture Gallery and some of its wonderful paintings performed by members of the New Music Collective. These new compositions are the result of a special collaboration between the College’s Curator Harriet O’Neill and Nathan James Dearden, a College Composer, Conductor of the New Music Collective and Performance Manager at the Department of Music.

Each successful applicant have been allocated an ensemble from the College's New Music Collective (no more than 5 players) and will work with these players through a collaborative and immersive rehearsal process. They will also have the opportunity to meet with the College Art Curator, Harriet O'Neill, to discuss the Picture Gallery's art collection and to explore possible areas for artistic collaboration. Each successful applicant will also recieve support and guidance from composer and conductor, Nathan James Dearden, through a mixture of one-to-one mentoring sessions and during practical workshop settings.

This year's culmintaion concert will take place at the Picture Gallery (Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX) on Tuesday 29th November, 2016. This event will be open to the public.

This project is kindly supported by Royal Holloway University of London New Music Collective

Nathan James Dearden has been selected as a London Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composer by Nathan James Dearden

Nathan James Dearden has been selected as a London Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composer for their 2016/2017 season.

The LPO Young Composers programme offers emerging composers the opportunity to workshop a new piece with the Orchestra's musicians and the Foyle Future Firsts (the Orchestra's graduate scheme for aspiring orchestral players) across a year, leading to a public performance at a London venue in July 2017, showcasing the new works. The participant composers are mentored by the LPO's Composer in Residence, who provides expertise and guidance in a series of seminars and workshops. We are delighted to welcome back Magnus Lindberg for his third year as Composer in Residence and Composer Mentor on the scheme in 2016/17.

Also during the year the composers have the chance to attend concerts, observe rehearsals, meet visiting guest composers, participate in professional development sessions and support and get involved with the London Philharmonic Orchestra's wider education and outreach work.

Alumni of the scheme include Michael Cryne (composer and recent Postgraduate Research Student at Royal Holloway University of London), Steven Daverson (Siemens Music Foundation Prizewinner 2011), Mica Levi (singer/songwriter, Micachu and the Shapes) and Laura Jayne Bowler (Founder and Artistic Director of Size Zero Opera company).

For more information on the project, please CLICK HERE.