Composers Impress on a NoW Platform; Masterclass Lets Seven Showcase Developing Talent

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TALENTED tunesmiths struck the high note with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Seven composers took part in a two-day workshop at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

As part of the orchestra's education and community outreach programme, participants were given the opportunity to showcase their work at BBC Hoddinott Hall.

A full symphony ensemble brought selected scores to life under the baton of principal guest conductor Jac van Steen.

Organised in collaboration with Composers of Wales, Tye Cerdd and the Welsh Music Guild, the Welsh Composers' Showcase included a rousing concert of key contributions.

It was designed to give local composers a platform for their music in a bid to further their development.

Education and community manager Suzanne Hay said the experience was invaluable to discovering hidden talent.

"Our aim is to target the postgraduate, middle generation that leaves music college or university and needs to take that next step," she said.

"The workshops are designed for those people who are doing compositions but need a little bit more exposure. In Wales, we are really keen to nurture the talent of the future and hopefully we are doing our bit to raise standards."

The workshop was open to post-tertiary education composers born in Wales, living in Wales or those studying at postgraduate level in Wales.

Composers born in Wales but studying at postgraduate level elsewhere in the UK were also eligible.

Andrew Wilson-Dickson, Max Charles-Davies, Iestyn Harding, Chris Petrie, Christian Morris, Jack White and Timothy Raymond all impressed at the gathering - but only two could scoop this year's star prize.

After much deliberation, scores penned by Timothy and Christian were selected for broadcast on Radio Cymru.

"For composers in Wales, the composers' showcase offers an unrivalled opportunity," said Christian, 35.

"It has given me essential training in the business of making my orchestral music work and on how to present myself to a group of professional players.

"Above all, it has give me the best possible platform for getting my music heard. I am grateful for this wonderful experience."

The masterclass in composition was watched by students from Bangor University, Cardiff University and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Up-and-coming conductor Jonathan Mann, from Whitchurch, Cardiff, was a guest among the ranks of Dutch dynamo van Steen.

The 24-year-old founder and artistic director of the Cardiff Sinfonietta is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Ms Hay said: "All the scores were rehearsed and discussed with a full, professional symphony orchestra. …