Music for reflection – Alexia Sloane on the BBC Proms Inspire Competition and Aurora Orchestra

Young composer Alexia Sloane was one of five winners in this year’s BBC Proms Inspire Competition with her piece Elegy for Aylan.  It was first commissioned by the RPS and Classic FM for Classic FM’s 25th Birthday celebrations in 2017 and was inspired by the refugee crisis, Aylan being the 3-year-old Syrian child who was found washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015. 

In this summer postcard Alexia tells us about the piece, the Competition and how it felt to work with Aurora Orchestra.

We’re in the car on our way to Cambridge Station at 7.00 am as usual on Saturday for my weekly lessons at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. It’s pleasantly warm; the May swelter hasn’t quite kicked in yet.
‘The deadline for the Inspire competition is coming up’, my mum tells me. ‘You could enter it with your piece Elegy for Aylan?’
‘I wrote that piece nearly a year ago!’ I replied.
‘It’s the only relatively recent piece you’ve done that fits the duration requirements,’ she points out.
‘OK’, I sighed. ‘But don’t say I didn’t tell you when I don’t get anywhere with it.’

Continue reading “Music for reflection – Alexia Sloane on the BBC Proms Inspire Competition and Aurora Orchestra”

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A Musician of the World

From mechanical engineering to composing for the Philharmonia Orchestra, Austin Leung has been traversing new territories since his early student days in Hong Kong. In this blog he shares with us what he learned from the RPS/Philharmonia Composers’ Academy, and why world music matters to him.

Eugene Birman, Freya Waley-Cohen, Unsuk Chin, Austin Leung after the Philharmonia/RPS Composers’ Academy culmination concert at Southbank Centre.

 

“World music is a kind of cultural heritage which, like a capsule, stores the history of different communities and regions. By incorporating the genres into new works, we can give a renewed value to history in our current generation. From this we get the feeling we’re crossing boundaries and space-times, bringing people together who have existed throughout the ages into a piece of work.”

As I write this, I cannot believe that my time in London is coming to an end. I came to the city two years ago to do an MMus at the Royal Academy of Music – my first time ever studying abroad. Back in Hong Kong, where I was still an Engineering student, the idea of leaving my country for my studies had never even crossed my mind. Like everyone else, I wanted to graduate from a local university, find a steady job and basically “survive”. The purpose of studying was never about gaining new knowledge for the sake of it, but for finding a better job and having a nice, easy life. However, after I discovered music in my second year of my undergraduate degree, everything changed. My whole outlook to life shifted and, fast forward a few years, I found myself in London.

Continue reading “A Musician of the World”

Kristīne Balanas – The Challenges of Playing Concerti without a Conductor

Kristīne Balanas, recipient of the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship in 2015, shares her experiences of performing violin concerti without a conductor.

In 2015, I had my first experience of a “conductorless” performance, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris. Not having anyone to rely on to direct, I was worried we might do the musical equivalent of running around like a headless chicken! But of course an orchestra has many fine heads, and once on stage there was not much to worry about. It was in many ways a relief – indeed a liberation – to discover what we were capable of on our own. Continue reading “Kristīne Balanas – The Challenges of Playing Concerti without a Conductor”