Young Composers Commission – closed

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Young Composers Commission – closed

Brighter Sound is on the hunt for composers aged 16-25! We're thrilled to announce a brand new commissioning opportunity for spring 2016.

We’re commissioning two young composers to write an original body of music in any genre, in response to the changing times of the music industry. Change Or Be Changed gives young composers the chance to reflect on what it means to be a composer today. The new works will be performed live by professional musicians in June 2016.

Successful applicants will receive mentoring from professional composers Ben Cottrell and Sara Lowes during the three-month writing period. They will also receive assistance towards the performance of their piece, including access to a network of professional musicians. On top of this, they will each be given a flexible budget and fee of £700 to contribute towards the costs of development of their commission – such as research trips, travel, accommodation and costs relating to the performance.


The brief

Create a piece (or pieces) of music that’s at least 20 minutes in duration, to be performed by an selection of musicians that you will put together – this could be anything from classical musicians to electronic producers. The piece can be any genre – don’t feel restricted – but should respond to the theme below. The final performance will take place in April; you have until this time to complete and rehearse your work.

The theme

Change Or Be Changed: What does it mean to be a composer today?

We have access to almost every piece of music that’s ever been recorded via a small device in our pocket. From this same device, it is now possible for musicians to record and release their own music to a professional standard. How does this availability and accessibility affect you as a young musician? Does the manner in which audiences now expect to obtain and consume music, influence how and what you write? Should it?

Brighter Sound challenges you to explore a brief that responds to the music industry today – how have the dramatic changes in accessibility affected how we listen to and make music?

The mentors

Ben Cottrell is a composer, bandleader and saxophonist currently based in Manchester. He is best known as the director of the Beats & Pieces Big Band, which has received awards at home and abroad alongside consistent critical and audience acclaim. He also co-founded and manages rising independent label Efpi Records. An in-demand orchestral arranger, Ben has worked with and for a diverse range of artists including Laura Mvula, Esperanza Spalding, Goldie and Everything Everything, and his arrangements have been performed and recorded by world renowned orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Metropole Orkest (Netherlands) and The Heritage Orchestra.

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Sara Lowes is a Manchester-based musician who has carved a successful career as a session musician and solo artist, including work with The Earlies, King Creosote, Daniel Johnston and Marina and the Diamonds. She’s released four solo records to date, receiving critical acclaim in the national media and music press. In 2014 we commissioned Sara to compose a piece of music exploring the relationship between music and science as composer in residence at the National Graphene Institute (University of Manchester). Graphene Suite was premiered during Graphene Week at the university. Watch the video here. Sara has recently been working for Oscar Winning composer Steve Price for the BBC Natural History Series The Hunt.

“This is an amazing opportunity for any young music creator to have Brighter Sound’s considerable support and expertise to help make your musical ideas a reality, whatever form they may take. We’re all really looking forward to hearing your proposals!” – Ben Cottrell

If you are ready for the challenge, please apply no later than Thursday 31 December using the link below. Please note – you’re applying for the opportunity to compose a new piece of music between January and April. You’re not required to write a piece of music for the application deadline.


Further details

To apply, please complete the application form online by Thurs 31 Dec. The successful applicants will be informed by Fri 8 Jan 2016, and public announcements will be made the following week.

Applicants must be available for an initial meeting, one evening in the week commencing Mon 11 Jan (to be arranged).

To discuss in more in more detail, contact or or phone 0161 830 3899