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Promising composers given unique opportunity

IMAGINATIVE contemporary classical music will be composed and performed as part of a revolutionary new project led by Aberystwyth University.

CERDDWN will create a world-leading hub for musical experimentation and innovation in mid-Wales by connecting up-and-coming composers with orchestral musicians, allowing them to test experimental concepts and hone their music-making skills.

Funded by the Arts Council of Wales and Tŷ Cerdd, the project will allow composers to work closely with the Aberystwyth community orchestra, Philomusica, and the leading professional chamber orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru.

Aberystwyth University’s Director of Music, Iwan Teifion Davies, explains: “This is a really exciting project which will cultivate some of the untapped talents in Wales and allow those who may not normally have the chance to work with musicians.

“The project will break away from standard approaches to writing for the orchestra by providing hands-on opportunities for composers to work with orchestras throughout every stage of the compositional process.

“This career-defining opportunity will give these emerging composers the space to experiment and evolve their work, test radically new and risky ideas – to fail, retry and improve.”

Following an open call for applications, four emerging composers have been selected and presented with a bursary.

Over the coming months, Gerard Cousins, Heledd Evans, Michelle Maddock, and Kian Ravaei will be allowed to experiment with the orchestras while receiving mentorship from an established composer.

In a second strand of the project, the four established composers providing the mentoring are also being commissioned and supported to compose new works. The new compositions, varied in style and scale, will represent Wales’s diverse musical landscape.

Finally, the project will commission a ground-breaking and substantial orchestral piece from Tredegar-born composer David John Roche, the world premiere of which will be performed by Philomusica.

Composition Co-ordinator David John Roche said: “I am excited and proud to be part of CERDDWN.

“The project is testament to the quality and ambition of arts organisations in Wales. CERDDWN will nurture new audiences, grow talent, and be a starting point for a new legacy of orchestral music in Wales.”