Purple Mist

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Birmingham-based composer and educator Kirsty Devaney writes about how conducting gave her new musical inspiration and helped her to rediscover her musical voice. 

The RPS Women Conductors Phase 1.5 Workshop came at a time when I was starting to question my career path. I was completing my PhD,  working as a composer and music educator alongside. After a long period of writing my thesis, my own musical confidence had been waivering and I was needing a fresh musical experience. I had been researching education for the last 4-5 years; my identity as a musician was becoming more ambiguous. Was I more an academic than a performing musician? Or was I an educator more than a composer? Continue reading “Purple Mist”

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Nevis Ensemble – an orchestra reaching new heights

In July our Assistant Administrator, YeYe Xu took off her RPS hat to lead Nevis Ensemble, Scotland’s first and only street orchestra, on its landmark inaugural tour of over 70 performances.

On a rainy day at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, 40 orchestral musicians alighted a bus and began to question their sanity. ‘Who wants a black bin liner for their instrument case?’ a cellist called out, who’d one tied round the waist of his own. Sealed in anoraks and walking books, we walked across the parking lot, slowly; sleepily. (Some of us had been up since 7am making sandwiches.) Ben Nevis took no notice of us under her silvery white blanket; born of mother Earth; an eternal monument luring in explorers from around the world.

Ben Nevis Cellos

Continue reading “Nevis Ensemble – an orchestra reaching new heights”

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”