NMS Time Out Residency – 2020

April 8, 2020 in featured, guest blog by mwhiteside

I was invited to take part in NMS’ latest Time Out mini-residency in Greenlaw (sympathetically restored and very comfortable cottages – I can thoroughly recommend them for family gatherings!)

NMS says that ‘essentially our peer to peer weekends aim to give composers/performers/promoters the opportunity to work together, share their difficulties and benefit from each other’s strengths in a safe non-judgmental environment’.  The focus for this weekend was ‘emerging creators and promoters’.

I shared the weekend with 4 composers (Anthony Cowie, Neil Smith, Ruta Vitkauskaite and Matthew Whiteside) and our facilitator, Kirsten Hunter.  Looking back, it had a feeling of time out of time, because it was the last moment people could gather together in a way that we had all taken for granted but now, in this extraordinary time, is no longer possible.

So it was a very special residency – not least because of the collegiate feeling between the composers. Issues were explored frankly and throughout the weekend we kept sight of following up on ideas that we unlocked.  Shared concerns included

  • raising a composer’s profile outside the immediate community within which they are working
  • time management: an urgent issue, this one, of trying to free up time to compose amid the demands of running an ensemble, taking on performing projects or fulfilling academic commitments
  • funding, of course!
  • networks: expanding from chamber to wider contacts – conductors, orchestras, major festivals (especially outside the UK), radio
  • European residencies
  • the importance of visual stimuli
  • issues of legacy

I enjoyed the weekend very much and really hope we will all remain in touch.  I invited everyone to come with me to concerts and meet performers and organisers when they are on visits to London.  I fully intend to come up for one of The Night With…gigs. Richer contact between Scotland and London needs constant nurturing.

Sally Groves