Composer Robert Szymanek on being an LSO Soundhub member


Composer Robert Szymanek writes about LSO Soundhub and how being on the scheme has benefited him.

LSO Soundhub has been one of the most important parts of my musical world over the last few years. When I finished my PhD in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in 2012, I was unsure as to how I was going to find the resources I needed to compose, rehearse and record my music out in the real world.

But in the summer of that year, I heard about LSO Soundhub and joined as an Associate. I was blown away by what was being made available to us: the spaces at LSO St Luke’s for rehearsals and recordings; top of the range audio equipment; a full range of percussion instruments to try out; seminars, workshops and mini composition projects; performance opportunities… It was like being at a conservatoire again!

We also set up the LSO Soundhub series on Resonance 104.4 FM, hosting our own shows to talk about all aspects of composition and get our music out there (tune in every Sunday at 12 noon!). I also met and collaborated with other Soundhub composers, making music together and putting on concerts around London.

In 2013 I was lucky enough to be selected as a Soundhub Member. It’s a two-year funded scheme that is really quite unique. On the one hand it offers an open platform for composers to lead a project of their own choice. It’s based at LSO St Luke’s, and the scope is very broad.

I chose to put on a concert of my own music in the Jerwood Hall, integrated with film, lighting and set design and produced in collaboration with other artists and performers. I was even able to work on my ideas with opera director Keith Warner, who became my mentor for the project. Here’s a video of one of the pieces from the concert:

The other side to Soundhub centres around two concerts of Soundhub composers’ works. There’s the Soundhub Showcase in June, and then a final concert at the end of the second year. The feel of both is much more of a standard chamber music concert. And for the latter, we were able to write new scores for up to ten LSO players. It was a great experience to work with such brilliant musicians. I count it as a major step in my compositional and career development.

  In rehearsals with conductor Daniel Cohen

 

What makes the Soundhub scheme even more special is that, after finishing as a Member, we all maintain our Associate status. So we still get to use all the spaces at St Luke’s. It really has proved to be an invaluable resource for my work as a composer.

Right now I’m working on a new commission for teenage members of the Digital Technology Group at LSO St Luke’s. They’ve been writing their own compositions, which I’m arranging for a group of LSO players for a live concert at the end of July. I’ll also be performing my own technologically inspired music as part of the concert. I’m excited to share what we’ve been working on. More details about this coming soon!

 

Apply for LSO Soundhub

 

The deadline for applications is 12pm on Thursday 16 July 2015. You can apply via the online application forms:

Soundhub Members application form
Soundhub Associates application form

Please see the membership and application information in the download above before applying, as you will need to provide recent scores and references in addition to the details required on the form.

Find out more about the current Soundhub Members and Associates on the LSO Soundhub website:

lsosoundhub.co.uk