As is traditional at the beginning of the year, we’re looking back and reflecting on the last year at Brighter Sound, as well as giving a flavour of what’s coming up in 2018.
First a word from our Director, Debra King:
“The first week in January is always a pivotal moment for us at Brighter Sound, where we take stock and look forward to what we can achieve in the coming 12 months. We have a number of key projects at a very exciting point in their development, and there is a great sense of ambition across the team with what’s coming up. We have some incredible projects approaching, some brilliant partners and we can’t wait to make 2018 a great year.”
Looking back – 2017
Our busy programme gave opportunities for creativity, collaboration and performance; fantastic new music was made and showcased on stage and in the studio. We worked with industry partners, international artists, schools, Music Education Hubs and our brilliant team of practitioners to deliver an inspiring, ambitious and adventurous programme for the best emerging UK talent, young musicians, children and young people, families and our range of partners.
For young musicians we announced our Young Composers Commission ‘Disruption’ (look out for a showcase event later this year), Found Sounds at Manchester Library – which delved into the city’s sound archives – and our I Live Hip Hop summer residency with UK soul legend Omar, Yungen and BBC 1Xtra. There was our residency with Beats & Pieces Big Band, and our regular Sing City and Tech Tuesdays nights for young songwriters and producers – both of which continue to run across 2018.
“Staff were really helpful and taught me amazing skills to make music and write songs”
Tech Tuesdays participant
For families, we’ve seen the continued success of Shake Rattle and Roll, musical fun for babies and toddlers led by the brilliant Beth Bishop, and Junior Jam led by world-folk-fusion quintet Kabantu, bringing creative music-making to the under 10’s.
For emerging artists, the launch of a new artist support programme funded by Help Musicians UK brought mentoring, masterclasses and showcases, tied to our latest set of residencies which put artists in the studio with Field Music, explored the creative side of vinyl cutting with Mr Scruff, and supported collaborative residencies with ESKA and Pee Wee Ellis.
“Being in an environment with professional musicians and musicians at my level was inspiring and rekindled a lot of my hopes for my future in music”
Field Music participant
We also launched Both Sides Now – our ambitious programme to support, develop and profile women in music across the North, starting with a residency led by Both Sides Now ambassador Beth Orton, and an event at Old Granada Studios in Manchester to celebrate the beginning of this three-year initiative.
“What a night at #BothSidesNow @brightersound launch. So good to be in a packed room of people intent on achieving gender balance in the music industry together. Incredible music to boot from participants of @beth_orton residency.”
Audience member (on Twitter), Both Sides Now launch
Looking forward – 2018
Both Sides Now will be taking centre stage this year – we’ll be announcing residencies in Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle imminently, along with news on our under 18’s programme for young women in music, and our education and training programmes that will roll out across England later in the year.
For emerging professionals, we’ll be delivering our Three Cities commission in Manchester, Saint Etienne and Berlin between January and March – with an emerging artist from each city (announcement coming soon). The Open Artist Series, our artist support programme, will continue with a seminar in March looking at identity and wellbeing for professional musicians. We’re also looking forward to the premiere of Ben Lunn’s work in April – he won a new commission opportunity in partnership with Drake Music for deaf and disabled musicians.
For young musicians, our weekly Sing City night will be overhauled in April by the participants who’ll lead on a new look for the programme. The last Sing City Live of the current run will be on 28 March, and will welcome participants from our Exchanging Notes schools as they reach the end of their four-year project.
Elsewhere, we’ve partnered with 42nd Street, a young people’s mental health charity to deliver a project at their venue The Horsfall. We’re looking for a young musician to undertake a Gold Arts Award with us through an initiative with Curious Minds, and we’ll be putting on a relaxed performance in partnership with Band on the Wall in March.
And that’s just the half of it – we’ll be announcing a number of exciting, high profile commissions for 2018 in the coming weeks. As always, watch this space!