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.’

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Biscuits and Boxes

Ivan Fischer scoops the  Conductor Award in 2011 (credit Simon Jay Price)
Ivan Fischer scoops the
Conductor Award in 2011 (credit Simon Jay Price)

Springtime at RPS headquarters: the floor has become a jigsaw puzzle of overflowing cardboard boxes, office life revolves around an excel chart of such intricate tables and colour schemes it is worthy of a place in Tate Modern, and the RPS is single-handedly boosting M&S biscuit sales to record highs. It can only mean one thing: the jury meetings for the prestigious RPS Music Awards are in full flow.

Throughout February and March, leading representatives from all walks of musical life come together to consider the nominations across thirteen different categories. The fiercely coveted awards are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK, honouring performers, composers, inspirational arts organisations and events. Whilst we don’t underestimate the careful consideration that goes into submitting a nomination, we encourage all proposals which reflect the rich variety of quality music-making across the country. After all, if an artist or organisation isn’t nominated, they can’t win!

So who could be walking away with a silver lyre at this year’s awards ceremony? Sean Rafferty will have the low-down on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, where the shortlisted nominations will be announced on Tuesday 17 April 2012. And who knows… by then we might just have caught a glimpse of the floor again!

Helen Pearce