New initiative to support emerging orchestral composers

August 18, 2015 in All Opportunities, Composers by newmusicscotland

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) today (18 August) launches a new initiative to develop the talents of emerging composers, RSNO Composers’ Hub.  Aimed at composers in the early stages of their career, this bespoke scheme is an opportunity for a group of composers to write for the orchestra in a range of different contexts, develop skills and creative relationships, as well as acquire an understanding of the business of a major arts organisation.

With the support from PRS for Music Foundation, up to five emerging composers will be chosen to join RSNO Composers’ Hub and spend the 2015:16 season with the Orchestra.  As well as working with RSNO’s contemporary group, Alchemy, each composer will write a ten-minute work for full symphony orchestra.  The scheme will culminate in a public workshop in the new RSNO Centre auditorium in Glasgow, April 2016, led by internationally-renowned composer and viola player, Brett Dean, from which one work will be chosen to be performed by the RSNO as part of its 2016:17 Season.

RSNO Composers’ Hub is also an opportunity to develop a meaningful collaboration with the RSNO and the other hub members over a sustained period and to get to know the Orchestra, staff and its audience, receiving guidance from different artistic and business areas.

RSNO Executive Producer Manus Carey: “We are very excited to be launching the pilot year of our new Composers’ Hub, with support from PRS for Music Foundation. With the imminent move into our new purpose-built home, we will have the opportunity to extend the support we give to Scottish and UK-wide composers, and to provide the creative space for them to explore and develop.  The breadth of the scheme will also mean it is an opportunity for our audiences to extend their knowledge of contemporary music and the compositional process.”

Award-winning composer Brett Dean: “Opportunities presented to emerging composers, such as those provided by the new RSNO’s Composers’ Hub, make an enormously positive difference to the development of a composer’s voice. I’m very happy to be able to contribute to this valuable new initiative by the RSNO.”

Composers must submit a CV, one-page letter explaining why the scheme would be suitable, and two examples of own compositions (preferably at least one for full orchestra), with scores and sound samples to the RSNO’s Artistic Planning Manager, Catherine Ferrell, at .  The closing date for applications is Tuesday 1 September 2015.

In October 2015 the RSNO begins celebration of its 125th anniversary, coinciding with the organisation’s relocation to a new, purpose-built rehearsal and performance space in the centre of Glasgow. For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit

For further information, pictures or to request media access, please contact Daniel Pollitt, Communications Manager on 0141 225 3571, 07970 009369, Email:

Notes to Editors
Brett Dean
Brett Dean studied in Brisbane before moving to Germany in 1984 where he was a permanent member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for fourteen years. He began composing in 1988, initially concentrating on experimental film and radio projects and as an improvising performer. Dean’s reputation as a composer continued to develop, and it was through works such as his clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music (1995), which won an award from the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and Carlo (1997) for strings, sampler and tape, inspired by the music of Carlo Gesualdo, that he gained international recognition. In 2000 Dean returned to his native Australia to concentrate on his composition, and he now shares his time between homes in Melbourne and Berlin.

Now one of the most internationally performed composers of his generation, much of Dean’s work draws from literary, political, environmental or visual stimuli, including a number of compositions inspired by paintings by his wife Heather Betts. His music is championed by many of the leading conductors and orchestras worldwide, including Sir Simon Rattle, Andris Nelsons, Marin Alsop, David Robertson and Simone Young.

In 2009, Brett Dean won the Grawemeyer Award for music composition for his violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing and received the Elise L. Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York in 2011. His first opera, Bliss, was commissioned and given its premiere in 2010 by Opera Australia in Sydney, and has since received further performances in Melbourne, Hamburg and at the Edinburgh International Festival. Recent commissions include The Last Days of Socrates, a large-scale choral-orchestral work for the Berlin Rundfunkchor, Melbourne Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic, premiered in 2013.

In the 2013/14 season a new trumpet concerto Dramatis Personae receives its premiere by soloist Håkan Hardenberger at the Grafenegg Festival and with Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Danish National Symphony and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras. Emanuel Ax premieres a solo piano work this season, co-commissioned by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances and Chicago Symphony Presents. Other premieres in 2013/14 include a work for soprano and string quartet commissioned by Britten Sinfonia, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Australian String Quartet, and a piece for wind ensemble for the University of Louisville as part of Dean’s Grawemeyer residency.

Dean enjoys a busy career as violist, and since 2005 has been performing his own Viola Concerto with many of the major orchestras worldwide. Dean is a committed and natural chamber musician, frequently collaborating with other ensembles and orchestral musicians to perform both his own chamber works and standard repertoire. Recent and upcoming highlights include projects with the Doric Quartet, Britten Sinfonia, Scharoun Ensemble and the Orion Quartet for CMS Lincoln Center. Dean’s career as conductor is also blossoming alongside his work as composer and performer, his imaginative programmes usually centred around his own works combined with other composers’. Recent conducting highlights include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra as part of the Artist in Residence role Dean has held since 2010/11.

Dean begins the 2013/14 season as Composer in Residence at the 2013 Grafenegg Festival, when his music is featured throughout the festival including performances by the Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestra and the world premiere of trumpet concerto Dramatis Personae. The Residency also includes a range of performances as violist and conductor including in his own Viola Concerto with the Tonkunstler Orchestra/Ono, conducting a programme of Wolf and Dean with the Tonkunstler Orchestra, chamber music with the Doric Quartet and leading the ‘Ink Still Wet’ course for composer-conductors. Elsewhere this season Dean performs his Viola Concerto with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, St Louis Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Vancouver Symphony orchestras and conducts the Tasmanian Symphony and Australian National Academy of Music. Dean is also Distinguished International Visiting Composer at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural New Music Festival, and Red Sofa Artist at De Doelen Rotterdam.

Brett Dean’s music has been recorded for BIS and ABC Classics, with a new BIS release in 2013 of works including The Lost Art of Letter Writing, Testament and Vexations and Devotions, performed by the Sydney Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras. Dean’s Viola Concerto has also been released on BIS with the Sydney Symphony, with Dean reviewed as “a formidable and musical player as well as an impressive composer…an excellent showcase of Dean’s range as a composer” (The Guardian).