Development opportunity for Scotland-based composers

July 16, 2020 in All Opportunities, Composers by mwhiteside

sound is a new music incubator based in North East Scotland, initially set up to give local audiences access to new music. It is now renowned in and beyond Scotland for producing and promoting high-quality work, for its support to composers of all generations and for attracting new audiences through its varied programming and inclusive nature.

sound’s objectives are to:

  • Increase access to new music and build audiences
  • Encourage excellence and experimentation
  • Nurture talent

We achieve these through a variety of activities including an annual festival, year-round collaborative events and learning and engagement activities, many in partnership with a range of local, national and sometimes international arts organisations.

This development opportunity for Scotland-based composers is part of our soundcreators programme, which focuses on nurturing creative talent. soundcreators is funded by Creative Scotland, Help Musicians UK and the PRS for Music Foundation as well as by the Foyle Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation and Aberdeen City Council.

It is organised in partnership with Red Note, Scotland’s Contemporary Music Ensemble. Since its formation in 2008, Red Note Ensemble has taken up a leadership position as Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, performing and developing both an extensive, highly-varied and critically-acclaimed programme of new music.

Five composers will have the opportunity to develop works of around 5 minutes for solo flute and electronics working alongside Ruth Morley (flute) from Red Note and composer Alistair MacDonald. The new works will be performed during the 2020 soundfestival.

Draft schedule

Session 1: Introduction to flute and electronics 

Date: 17 August 2020
Where: Zoom

This first session will primarily be an introduction to writing for flute as well as using electronics, and will be led by Ruth Morley and Alistair MacDonald. Following this session the composers will be expected to prepare short sketches and ideas for the next session.

Session 2: 

Date: 20 August 2020 (afternoon)
Where: Zoom

The composers will submit short (approximately 30 second) sketches by Wednesday 19 August evening which will be worked with Ruth Morley and Alistair MacDonald during this session. Following this, the composers will work up full pieces for the third session.

Session 3:

Date: mid-September 2020 (exact date tbc)
Where: location tbc

Each composer’s piece will be played and discussed with Ruth Morley and Alistair MacDonald. The composers will then have until mid-October to make any last adjustments.

Rehearsal: 

Date: mid-October (exact date tbc)
Where: location tbc

The pieces will be rehearsed with Ruth Morley with the composers in attendance.

Performance:

Date: end of October (exact date tbc)
Where: Aberdeen

A performance of the new works as part of the 2020 soundfestival. There will also be a rehearsal prior to the performance.

Candidates

The five successful candidates will be talented composers resident in Scotland. They can be at any stage in their career, however they should be able to demonstrate a number of years of compositional experience, and must be able to articulate their development needs and how the opportunity would benefit them.

Please note that we are committed to working with and supporting composers with additional support needs. Composers from under-represented groups and especially composers with disability are encouraged to apply.

Financial support for the opportunity is limited to related expenses for travel/accommodation. There will also be a small commission fee of £200 per composer for a delivered piece to be performed at soundfestival.

How to apply 

To apply for the opportunity please complete this Google form.

Deadline for applications: 3 August 2020

If further information is required please contact admin@sound-scotland.co.uk.

We will inform you whether you are successful or not by 7 August 2020.

Selection process  

As mentioned above sound is committed to working with and supporting composers from under-represented sections of the population. To enable this, there is a two-stage application process: an initial selection is made, and then this is narrowed down in a second stage selection process. If you are a female, disabled and/or BAME composer, you can self-select to be put forward automatically to the second round if you want. The selection panel will be made up of Ruth Morley, Alistair MacDonald, a representative of sound (either a staff member or the Chair) and of Red Note.

Notes to composers applying

Selection for new music opportunities is inherently subjective and the criteria used can differ from project to project. We are frequently over-subscribed and often the quality of applications is extremely high from a wide range of composers, which usually means making difficult decisions.

Reasons for selecting one composer over another are not always to do with skill level or experience. We may, for example, be looking for the right fit for us as an organisation at a particular point in time e.g., we may be looking to develop specific strands or activity or genres of music.

For development opportunities that happen in a group setting, it may be that we need to take into consideration the coherence of that group e.g., we may prefer to have composers of a similar experience-level. We thus sometimes end up turning down composers with more experience or skills, or giving opportunities to composers who we feel would benefit most from a particular opportunity at that stage in their career, and faced with difficult choices we may sometimes turn down composers who may have already benefited from a number of opportunities in the past.

We would however encourage composers to apply for any opportunities that interest them and for which they fit the specification, and not be discouraged if they are not selected for a particular opportunity, as it does not mean that they are not “good” enough. Please do continue to apply for any opportunity that interests you!