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PRSF Young Composersí Scheme

Now in its second year, HMDT’s Young Composers’ Scheme funded by the Performing Rights Society Foundation offers two trainees the opportunity to develop their skills in education and community music through a training programme in which they are given a range of practical and mentoring experiences to explore techniques with which to develop new music for schools and community groups. The structure of the Scheme enables the trainees to shadow composers writing HMDT’s large-scale commissions and see the process from devising workshops to writing, rehearsals and performances and then write their own commissions for related groups.

This year’s trainees Ben Oliver and Chris Ash first attended an introductory session with Consultant composer Matthew King before working with him and 30 five year olds on the composition sessions for An Invite from the Queen. They then led their own training and devising sessions with students at Jubilee Primary School (working under Matthew’s guidance), to try out a range of skills and ideas.

In January, they worked with Julian Joseph on his workshops for Shadowball before leading their own workshops with the Early Years choir at CYM and Young Jazz Hackney (the groups for whom they were writing), to develop material which could be incorporated into each commission, thereby engaging their performers giving them an ownership of their material and experimenting with a range of creative ideas. Following a session with Consultant Jonathan Dove on how to transfer ideas gleaned in the workshop into a commissioned work, the composers have produced works for their designated performance groups.

Christopher Ash

Christopher was born in 1983 and studied at Pembroke College, Oxford and the Guildhall School. He received the Claude and Margaret Pike Charity Bursary to attend Dartington Summer School. Recent commissions include the scores for The Mandrake Root (European Drama Network), The Borrowers and The Little Mermaid (Midlands Arts Centre) and Los Enigmas for TangoDuo. Chris also plays for Showstopper! The Improvised Musical and Pippa Evans' Old Time New Time Music Hall.

Benjamin Oliver

Benjamin was born in 1981 and grew up in Chatham, Kent, in the UK. He left home for Yorkshire and in 2005 graduated from the University of Leeds with distinction in his MMus in Composition. Ben has just completed his DPhil in Composition at the University of Sussex under the supervision of Sam Hayden where he is also an associate tutor in composition. He received financial support from the AHRC and a 2006 PRS Foundation Scholarship for this doctorate work.

Ben’s music has been performed internationally and in the UK by ensembles including: Orkest de Ereprijs (International Young Composers Meeting 2010, The Netherlands), Ostrava Banda (Ostrava Days Festival 2009, Czech Republic), Leeds University Union Symphony Orchestra, Black Dyke and Rothwell Temperance Brass Bands, LIMA Orchestra, Dan Stern’s Woodwork (London Jazz Festival 2008), Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir, Labyrinth, Retorica Duo (Odessa Festival 2008, Ukraine), Kosmos, EMFEB Chamber Orchestra, NYX trio and Leeds Sinfonia.






Works for children’s choirs and string quartet

12th June 2pm Shoreditch Church
Performed by CYM Hackney and the Mobius Ensemble

Works for Jazz Band
29th June 6.15pm Mermaid Centre
Performed by Young Jazz Hackney










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