Distil Showcase 2014

Back in October last year I attended the Distil residential course in New Lanark. I had an amazing time learning from fellow residents and also workshop leaders. We talked about all things music but concentrated on composition, something which I am very excited about. I love composing, writing tunes, finding an order of notes and rhythms which haven’t previously been used to create something new.

As I had attended the residential course I was offered the chance to submit an entry for the Distil Showcase. The residential course was about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I decided to submit an entry for the showcase as I believe that it will indeed push me right out of my comfort zone. Each composer for the showcase will have the chance to work with McFall’s Chamber. The string ensemble includes 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass. Now, I’m used to composing. I write a lot of tunes, but I write them for the instruments which I play; piano and flute. I haven’t had experience of writing for this ensemble of strings so this is new and exciting.

So far I have written the main theme for my piece. This is, at the moment, a two part B major melody in 3/4. I wrote the A part on the piano and the B part on the flute. It is flute friendly as the lowest note is D sharp which I had intended. I have decided to include piano in the composition as well as the strings. My good friend and fabulously wonderful pianist Vicky has kindly agreed to play the piano part in the showcase. I wanted to write piano into it but I didn’t want to perform it myself at the showcase. I want to be able to sit back and listen to my piece as a member of the audience.

I’m looking forward to composing the rest of my piece. I’m excited with the music that has appeared so far. I am also looking forward to notating it. A few weeks ago I attended the Distil Scratch Day in Edinburgh. This was an amazing opportunity to meet with McFall’s Chamber to talk about the various sounds and techniques that you can get from a string ensemble. I found this quite eye-opening with regards to the notation. It’s something I’ll really have to work hard to achieve a good score for the musicians so that the rehearsal and concert will go smoothly. I’m up for the challenge though.

I went to the Tolbooth in Stirling to watch last year’s showcase. I was blown away by the compositions that I heard. Such wonderful music. I was inspired and very excited when I got the chance to attend the residential course. I jumped at the chance to submit an entry for the showcase when it arose. I’m looking forward to hearing my own piece alongside all the other composers’ work in the showcase.

The showcase will take part on the evening of Friday 9th May at the Tolbooth in Stirling. Hope to see you there.