Music study visit and more

carla-reesOCA music tutor, Carla Rees leads contemporary music ensemble rarescale and she is offering two opportunities for composers this summer. Formed in 2003, rarescale has gained an international reputation for its innovative programming, particularly placing the alto flute at the heart of chamber music repertoire. The ensemble has had several hundred new works composed for them in the last ten years, and has performed in festivals and recitals in the UK, USA and Europe.

The first is a study visit in London on 27 May, which will take the form of an open rehearsal before rarescale’s evening concert at The Forge, in Camden, North London. The programme includes the UK premiere of Tristan Murail’s Paludes, an eleven minute work for alto flute, clarinet, violin, viola and cello. Murail is one of the foremost composers of the spectral style of composition, an approach which uses the natural pitches of the harmonic series to create a microtonal language. One of the techniques used by Murail (and others, such as Gerard Grisey and Hugues Dufort) involves taking a complex sound, such as a bell, breaking it down to the individual harmonics that make up the sound, and then rescoring the sound for an ensemble, such as an orchestra, to create a new instrumental colour.

Also featured in the concert is the music of rarescale’s composer in residence, Michael Oliva, who is Area Leader for electroacoustic music at the Royal College of Music. The open rehearsal offers OCA students the opportunity to hear Michael working with rarescale on two new works; the world premiere of a piece for alto flute, bassoon and electronics, and the second performance of Dungeness, his concerto for alto flute and ensemble.

Places are free to OCA students and include a ticket to the evening performance. To book please email

The second opportunity is rarescale’s annual summer school for composers. This takes place from 28 July to 2 August at Harlaxton Manor, near Grantham, Lincolnshire. Composers are invited to take part in a course on electroacoustic composition, under the tutelage of Michael Oliva. No previous experience is required, and during the week Michael will give composers the opportunity to try field recording, compose for electronics using relevant software, and collaborate with members of the flute course that takes place alongside the composition class (taught by Carla Rees). Members of rarescale will give a concert during the week, and the students will have works performed at an informal concert at the end of the course. Several OCA students have attended the course in previous years and participant numbers are kept small to allow students to work at their own level in a friendly and supportive environment. Full information is available on the rarescale website and please use the contact form there to get in touch with any questions or queries. there is a fee for the summer school, but OCA students get a reduced rate of £325.

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