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Birmingham Community Music Jeremy Clay New Music

A River Through History – double recording bonus!

So I have now got hold of two recordings from the CBSO Our City Our Past project, which I posted about before.

The first is a performance of the piece A River Through History, composed and performed by young people from Shenley Academy at the CBSO Centre in May 2013.

The second recording is of an arrangement I made of the piece for full orchestra, performed wonderfully by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall in June 2013, conducted by Michael Seal.

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Birmingham Community Music Jeremy Clay New Music Teaching The Arts Workshops

A River Through History – CBSO Performance

A River Through History Title Page

Yesterday I attended both of the CBSO’s schools concerts involving the final performance for the Birmingham History Project I have been involved with. The full orchestra performed in Symphony Hall with audiences of 2000 children in each concert.

The reason for my excitement was that I had arranged a piece written by secondary school pupils from Shenley Academy for the full orchestra to perform. Earlier in May the young people performed the piece themselves at the CBSO Centre, then I went away and arranged it for the orchestra. My main concern whilst arranging the music was that I needed to balance needing to make the piece sound ‘orchestral’ and giving it a ‘professional’ edge, without losing the sense of the original material composed by the young people.

The ideas from the students were really good and fortunately I was able to work really well with the material they had composed without adding to it very much at all. I felt like I was able to be true to their original intentions. Fortunately I was able to go into the school and do a session with them to explain to them exactly what I had done with their piece, so that they could understand why they might not hear ‘their bit’ played by the same instrument or in the same way. I think this was a really valuable session.

From talking to them after the concert, they seemed really pleased that they could hear ‘their music’ in the piece even though I hadn’t just taken their piece note by note and orchestrated it.

It has taken a lot of work, but I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. I’m hoping to get a recording online soon.

A River Through History - Page 1

A River Through History double pageA River Through History section

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Birmingham Jeremy Clay Teaching Workshops

From Christmas to Easter…

…was a pretty busy time for me! In a good way!

I was involved in a number of projects, two of which have now finished for this year.

Firstly Resolution with BCMG. This was an intriguing science and music project which I blogged about previously. The final performance of this project was immense – the three secondary schools all did a joint performance which was really well received. I was so pleased with the way the young people reacted to the slightly crazy mix of science and contemporary music. They really engaged with it and pushed it forward in ways I didn’t imagine which was fantastic! Even created a rap about antibodies and antigens, which was awesome. I wrote a piece for the young people to perform entitled ‘Molecular Mimicry’ which was based on a theory of what the body does when it develops Sjögren’s Syndrome. Here’s the cartoon strip I wrote for it (no audio):

 

I was also involved with BCMG’s Imagine Compose project where I was working with one of Birmingham Music Service’s beginner instrumental ensembles to get them to be creative with their instruments. The exciting thing for me about this project was that you could see the children’s minds opening up to the new ideas and possibilities of their instruments. The group were fantastic – they were all really engaged and creative which made it fun. I went to their final performance at the Adrian Boult Hall in March and they actually performed a piece they’d created together. Here it is:

 

I have also been doing workshops with CBSO’s Birmingham History Project and CBSO’s Stay Tuned project – in fact you can catch fleeting glimpses of me here on this video:

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Birmingham Jeremy Clay New Music The Arts

Until the Middle – my latest piece – have a listen!

Here’s my latest work – a piano solo entitled Until the Middle  which I recorded at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham last week. There’s no huge story behind it – it’s fairly abstract. It uses a series of pitches for the first 3/4 then kind of inverts it, around the middle of the piano keyboard. I wanted to write a piano piece which didn’t use any extended piano techniques like playing inside, but that still has a dramatic visual effect… Unfortunately I don’t have a video of it though!

Hope you enjoy it!

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Jeremy Clay New Music Reviews The Arts

Aldeburgh Festival

I went down to the Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk yesterday, to the the CBSO & BCMG concert conducted by Oliver Knussen. First time I’d been to that part of the world and I have to say it was really nice!!! Always love being by the sea, but there’s something very calming about the landscape in Suffolk, so  that I enjoyed that. Fish and chips on Aldeburgh beach followed by a great concert at Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Was nice to hear Charlotte Bray‘s violin concerto Caught in Treetops again, played even better this time by Alex Wood. And Elliot Carter’s new piece Conversations was ace, with a real sense of humour. Great piano and percussion soloists really brought the piece vividly to life and the audience loved it – and loved it even more when Knussen played it again straight afterwards. And of course there was some fantastic Stravinsky.

Then a great meal followed at the Lighthouse restaurant…never had rock eel before, but now I can recommend it!

Good times were had by all, until the pesky seagulls woke us up ridiculously early this morning. Winner.