Music students join in-person workshops with professional musicians

Students taking part in an in-person workshop with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG)
Students taking part in an in-person workshop with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG)

Students from the Department of Music have taken part in a series of in-person composition workshops with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG).

In May, BCMG musicians gathered again in person at the CBSO Centre to play through pieces written by the composition students. A total of 22 pieces, conducted by Tim Anderson, were performed and workshopped over the course of the three days.

With the easing of restrictions, students were able to physically join the workshops once again, as the culmination of the undergraduate composition course. Students who were not able to physically join the sessions, took part via Zoom. These were also open to Masters and Doctoral students.

The partnership with the BCMG and the Department of Music has been developed over 25 years, with workshops taking place each year in May.

James Meakin, one of our BMus Music students, said: "The performance really helped me adjust dynamics and the weighting of accompaniment to melody. Receiving feedback from the performers too was invaluable, particularly for instruments I was less familiar composing for."

Jenny Muirhead, Project Lead from BCMG, said: “It was wonderful to be hearing live music again – and it was even more special to witness 22 world premieres of pieces written by student composers! What a joy it was to listen to such diverse and effective repertoire – some pieces were particularly exceptional.”

Professor Michael Zev Gordon said: “Our students consistently rise to the challenge of writing for a large ensemble of some of the world's finest professional musicians. This year was no exception, despite the situation we find ourselves in. Indeed, the works this year showed more flair, originality and range than ever. It's a marvellous, fruitful relationship that the Department has carefully fostered over the years."