Category: Music

Let me tell you

While “spellbinding”, “astonishing” and “glorious” are not words common in reviews of 21st century classical music, Hans Abrahamson’s Let Me Tell You – which has garnered a slew of ecstatic praise since its premiere in 2013 – has commanded them all. Despite over twenty performances across Europe – a fairly big deal for a new piece of concert music – the work only arrived in the UK in August of 2016, when it was performed at the Proms by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of its new chief conductor, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.

Creative use of Instagram

My OCA students are very adept at using online platforms to guide and influence their creative practice and so it is possible that I am writing to people who know more about this subject than I do…..however, this is not an instruction guide, it is a reflection on my experience of using Instagram to build and inspire my creative practice. I will reflect on how I have developed an online portfolio which reaches a far wider audience than my web site.

Neville Marriner: An Appreciation

My first memory of Sir Neville Marriner, and his ensemble, “The Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields” was as a 13 year old. A school mates uncle had sent him an LP of four works of Vaughan Williams. I had never heard of Vaughan Williams before, nor the band and conductor. It blew me away. It was an epiphany.

Study Visit: Gateshead

Join OCA tutor Emma Drye on the 19 November at the Workplace Gallery, Gateshead. We will view This Is it, Isn’t It? an exploration of ideas of self-awareness, self-reflexivity and self-doubt as a core of artists’ practice.

Etch a sketch project

One of my HE6 students is a keen ideas person who finds thinking through making very enjoyable and is always experimenting with new and unusual materials and processes. She is currently ‘toying’ (pun intended) with making work using the excellent etch a sketch as a medium and has asked me to forward this message from her to see if she can make a collaborative preliminary work that will then be mediated through a secondary process to create one very complex drawing.

New music tutor: Introducing Ben Gaunt

Composing music is hard. Actually, I believe that if you start to find composition easy, it may be likely you are taking shortcuts, and missing opportunities to develop as an artist. Composing music should be hard. Over the last couple of years, however, I have found a way of making the process of writing music seem a little less intimidating.

How to crack the reflective essay: Part 1

The reflective essay is one part of the assignments that generates a lot of discussion! Getting in touch with the creative part of ourselves and expressing that through engaging prose is a challenge of itself. But for the creative writer who is undertaking serious study though there is no getting away from cracking the reflective essay.

In conversation with: Kid Acne

Last week I attended an illustrated talk by musician, illustrator and street artist Kid Acne. This event was part of the Off the Shelf festival in Sheffield and Kid Acne, real name Ed, designed the logo for this year’s festival. We got a snapshot of the last 20 years culmination of work which led to this design.

Michael Tippett: “Ritual Dances” from The Midsummer Marriage

With these strong psychological ideas of masculine and feminine combined with nature, Tippett was not eschewing the modern tendency to belittle these old beliefs but to accept them and re-present them in a vibrant modern way within his own musical and dramatic language. This gives them new life, reinvigorating them for an audience in a modern world of multilayered concepts and emotions which, when combined with our cultural history, resonates with each and every one of us.