For the last few days I have been floating through life in a slightly dazed manner. The reason? The sixth Sound and Music Summer School that took place at the Purcell School last week. Always intense, always incredibly innovative and always formative, this week has been a highlight of my year from the moment I became involved. Seventy five young composers come and learn in creative hubs called key tutor groups focused on writing for a particular genre or instrument. This was my third year with the cross-cultural composition group, and the week’s people and products never cease to amaze me. These young musicians produce a substantial musical work in roughly three days, whilst also absorbing a huge amount of musical information.
In the cross-cultural composition group the students get to write for any combination of harp, percussion (featuring marimba in particular), clarinet and tabla. You can imagine that the resulting works are fascinating and diverse. Working in this group fuels my love for music from other cultures, and gives me the opportunity to apply some of the knowledge that I’m accumulating. This year, I focused on the pedal harp, the Celtic harp and the African kora with the students.
Not only is it a joy to watch the development of these works and then get to record and perform them, it is always hugely enjoyable and educational to get to work with the four other instrumental tutors each year. Each year I’m pushed to the limits of my technique and endurance, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything!
Thank you to everyone who made this week happen!
There is a wonderful blog with photos (©Martin Wess) and notes from the students here:
All photos ©Martin Wess