Composing For Stage with Philip Venables

Grace Bailey

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A five-day residential workshop in the epic French Pyrenees, led by Philip Venables

Workshop dates: 02/08/2023 – 2023-08-07

This workshop will explore different approaches to working with text and music in music theatre, opera, song, theatre and performance art contexts. It is ideal for composers and writers/dramatists/librettists interested in any kind of music theatre or storytelling with music.

Over five days of presentation, discussion, research, and listening, and taking place in CAMP’s facilities and in the surrounding landscape, we will focus on:

>Different approaches to combining text and music

>Thinking about musical dramaturgy — how do we use music to bring theatre alive?

>Making small scenes or small projects during our course

>The creative process, from idea to storyboard to text to music

>A manifesto for change — what music theatre/opera do we want to see in the future?

Collaborative composer Philip Venables is described as “an arrestingly original musical personality” by Alex Ross in The New Yorker and as “one of the finest composers around” by The Guardian. Their previous two operas, ‘4.48 Psychosis’ (2016, text by Sarah Kane) and ‘Denis & Katya’ (2019, text by Ted Huffman), have been performed by leading companies in London, New York City, Strasbourg, Dresden, Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Paris, Hannover and Montpellier. The operas have won numerous accolades including the Fedora Prize, an RPS Award, and an Ivor Novello Award, as well as shortlisted nominations for an Olivier Award and Sky Arts South Bank Award. The Times described ‘4.48 Psychosis’ as “a new brand of opera”; meanwhile The New York Times branded ‘Denis & Katya’ “an intimate, haunting triumph.”

2021 saw a major focus on Philip’s work in the Festival d’Automne à Paris and Philip’s professional conducting debut with the London Sinfonietta, as well as the premiere of Answer Machine Tape, 1987 with Zubin Kanga. Philip was a MacDowell Fellow in 2017, a doctoral composer in residence with the Royal Opera and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2014–2016, and elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2016. 2022/23 sees further performances of Answer Machine Tape, 1987, Denis & Katya and 4.48 Psychosis, and the world premiere of their third opera, ‘The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions’.

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