On Saturday 26 October and 2 November, Daniel Kidane and Amir Konjani presented their final curations, drawing a close to their time on the LSO Jerwood Composer+ scheme. We caught up with them both to talk about their time on the scheme and what they have planned next. Plus our new Jerwood+ composers, Hollie Harding and Des Oliver, tell us about their experience and work on the scheme so far.
Looking back at your time on the scheme, how would you describe the experience?
Daniel: It’s a brilliant opportunity for any budding composer/curator to bring their artistic ideas to fruition. I am leaving the scheme full of ideas that I hope to be exploring soon.
Amir: There is also the privilege of working with musicians of such quality. As a situation maker, I’m accustomed to working with a variety of artists and designers, and have directed several performances in a number of different cities. This posed new challenges; the challenge and excitement of learning new skills for one.
Are there any particular highlights?
Amir: The outcome of the first performance was a particularly memorable highlight for me, and I guess for most of the audience and organisers, as well as many steps along the way: designing and delivering the Soveida Harp, creating a 66-metre graphic score, setting up the Kraken Cellos, and more.
Daniel: I have always appreciated the meticulous support that the LSO has provided during the duration of this residency. From marketing and planning, to on-the-day concert preparation and the passion and diligence of the musicians involved. Combined this provides for a very rewarding and meaningful experience.
Based on your experience, is there any advice you would give our new 2019/20 composers, Des and Hollie?
Daniel: Start planning the second concert sooner – the turnaround between the two concerts is much quicker than you might think. And expect the unexpected, eg. Necessary programme changes.
Amir: I would second that. Plan ahead for any predictable set-backs (eg. Catching a cold), and be prepared to get directly engaged in working through any unexpected problems. And design what you think contemporary classical music needs to keep moving forward.
Finally, what do you have planned next?
Amir: I’ve now finished my PhD at the Royal Northern College of Music. Coming up, I have been chosen to present at the World Harp Congress in July 2020 – a recital with the Soveida Harp and a lecture about performing sculpture. I’ll also be looking for other opportunities with the LSO. Finally I’m currently working on two commission with my art company Performativity, which designed performances and collaborates on contemporary classical and film music.
Daniel: I’m currently writing for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra – a piece for two singers and a large orchestra. I will definitely be taking the lessons I learnt from writing for Juice Vocal Ensemble forward, like ‘don’t use all the words when setting text for songs’. I’ve found it very useful and more productive to focus on just using a few choice words.
From our LSO Jerwood+ 2019/20 composers
Hollie: It is such an honour to be participating in the Jerwood Composer+ scheme with the LSO over the next 18 months. Since starting on the scheme I've been really enjoying listening to lots of repertoire in order to get to grips with programming two concerts. In my piece Melting, Shifting, Liquid World, which premiered in March, the audience are free to navigate the performance space as the piece unfolds, and sounds can emerge from live performers, bone-conduction headsets or in-room speakers. There is a huge amount of unexplored potential with the set-up, so I am excited to see how I can develop these ideas through creating a new work as part of the scheme.
Des: My experience on the LSO Jerwood Composer+ scheme so far has been nothing short of sensational (I felt I owed it to my 14-year-old self to see the Orchestra rehearsing Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony earlier this month, and I wasn't disappointed!). It's a pleasure to be interacting with the music of so many wonderful composers, and to be working alongside and drawing from the expertise of those who make up the LSO family! My documentary series, Identity and the Anxiety of Influence, made for the British Music Collection and commissioned by Sound and Music, explored the music of Black British Classical composers from across the UK. As part of the scheme I am working on my musical response to this documentary series.
Save the date
Des Oliver: Jerwood Composer+ Showcase
Saturday 18 April 2020, LSO St Luke's
Hollie Harding: Jerwood Composer+ Showcase
Saturday 16 May 2020, LSO St Luke's
> Watch extracts from Melting, Shifting, Liquid World by LSO Jerwood+ composer, Hollie Harding, premiered at the National Maritime Museum in March 2019.
> Watch Identity and the Anxiety of Influence, a curated documentary series by composer Des Oliver, exploring issues surrounding black identity with the breadth of new music produced by black composers across the UK.