February Update

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Well, here’s another update for all of you following my progress here in London (ahem). I’ve just gone through a month of intense busyness, as I juggle projects and performances, but things have eased off now, allowing me to focus on the compositions I am writing. I’ve also shifted my focus a little bit to start working on some career development, so I’ve been updating my website and CV, and will be updating my biography and photography over the next couple of weeks. I’ve also begun the process of applying for scholarships for the next school year, as I know I won’t be able to do the 2nd part of the masters unless I find some new sources of funds.   This seems like a good time to fill you in on what I have been doing so far this term,

mustache

I started this year by working on the schools production of Twelfth Night. This was an extra opportunity that fell into my lap and it proved very satisfying and exciting. My main role was to set the 8-9 songs that Shakespeare wrote in the text, and then to rehearse them with the actors. In addition to these I composed some incidental and background pieces, and ended up performing these as part of the show, mostly on a (vaguely jazzy) piano, but with some cello and a tubular bell at the more atmospheric moments. It was very interesting observing rehearsals and piecing together the incidental cues from the scraps of music I had composed. It was nice to play and perform again, especially after a couple of months of solid composing, and improvising music with the musicians in the cast was very enjoyable. I was playing as part of the action, so I given a costume, and asked to grow a moustache, which I feel was probably a mistake (see right).

The Twelfth Night Cast and Crew (that's me on the left)
The Twelfth Night Cast and Crew (that’s me on the left)

This term we have been working on our collaborative projects with postgraduate singers and poets from Birkbeck university. I’ve been busy trying out some new techniques in setting the poem that has been written by Dan, and I’m quite pleased with how it is turning out. I’ll send another update after it has been premièred at the Wigmore Hall. I’m enjoying playing with meditative materials and using the text in a fragmented way without breaking up the text into something not comprehensible.  We have also started working on a piece for violin and piano. I have decided to take this on in a very different direction, and am writing something fiery and energetic. We had a workshop last week, and I think the ideas I have are promising, as long as I maintain the focus of the piece. Last week we also had a workshop of the piece we started right at the beginning of the course, for two pianos and percussion, and although I thought the sections of the pieces worked, I have been reordering the piece to make the ideas clearer and less chopped up.

I had a lovely Christmas, the Family came to visit and we had a cosy European Christmas with friends. It was nice spending time with them, and I returned to college refreshed. A nice treat in January was the weekend of snow that we had. London has been pretty cold for these last couple of months (especially compared to Sydney  and there have been flurries of snow every couple of days, but there was only one weekend when it settled. We went to the park, made a snowman, and looked at the very confused ducks. A very European winter!

snow

Until the next update.

Roman

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