What I think it means to be a Composer in Residence

Wednesday 16 September 2015 

Last week was the first time that I’ve been interviewed on radio and one week on I think it might be worth me explaining what I think it means to be a Composer in Residence. When I met Marie Lennon at BBC Radio Wiltshire last week she commented that you don’t come across many composers and I suppose she has a point if you’re comparing it to other jobs. Another explanation could also be that in today’s world where it is more common to hear the terms songwriter or sound artist (both of which I am not), then perhaps composer can sometimes sound a little old fashioned (not the case at all!). I am very proud to be a composer, however, and would describe what I do as someone who writes down (whether that is by standard or graphic notation or indeed words) what I want to hear and then engages with live performers (often classical instrumentalists) to bring my music to life. Composing is something that I do everyday and the length of time I spend composing depends on other work/commitments that I have. Ever since my first lesson with Christopher Fox in late 2005 I have composed with a pencil and manuscript paper, a change that I believe had a big impact on my subsequent music, coupled with his excellent guidance of course!  I copy all of my pieces onto the computer using the popular Sibelius software, although I use a much older version of the software than I care to admit!

So now I’ve briefly covered what I mean by composer, I shall cover the “in residence” bit. Essentially I take this to mean that I shall compose (as roughly described above) at the Pound, in residence, in any/all of the spaces available to me.  So far I have mostly been in the Pound’s cafe, however I plan to branch out into the other spaces as and when they are available to me. This appeals to me because it takes me outside of my normal composing environment and places me in the hustle and bustle of the Pound, which is a multi-functional arts venue used by a lot of local people. My other interpretation of being “in residence” is that I will engage with other local people that attend events/workshops/rehearsals at the Pound.  This is something that is completely new to me and I’m looking forward to this aspect of the residency.  Initially I plan to observe and try to soak up different things that happen at the Pound before later on in my residency when I plan to involve local people in a new piece of music to be performed at the Pound in mid-late 2016.  I am currently planning this project but I aim to announce more details soon.

pound arts residency