Martin Read Foundation Commissions

Grace Bailey

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We are excited to announce our Award Scheme & composition brief for 2023.
If you are a composer aged between 14 and 19 read on…

This year we will be commissioning our awarded composers to create new works for solo cello reflecting in some way the events of the First English Civil War (1642-1646).

Background: to mark the 10th year since Martin died, The MRF Festival, April 2023, will feature his highly acclaimed cantata: The Death of Colonel Boles. This twenty-five minute piece is for choir, baritone, cello and recorder ensemble. Colonel Boles died during the Battle of Alton, Hampshire, on 13 December 1643, whilst trying to hold the town for the Royalists. He and his remaining men were beaten back and took refuge in the parish church
of St Lawrence where Boles was killed by the Parliamentary forces. The 2023 Festival,including pieces by our awarded composers, will take place in that same church on Sunday 23rd April 2023.

Each awarded young composer will be commissioned to write a short piece (maximum four and a half minutes performance time). The writing for cello may include extended techniques but these must not involve harming the instrument in any way. The pieces will be workshopped and performed by renowned cellist Joseph Spooner, soloist in The Death of Colonel Boles.

Awarded composers are encouraged to join the Festival Day rehearsals, including choral rehearsal for Boles and / or the flexible instrumental ensemble workshopping a new piece by an MRF alumnus.

Go to:
On the opening page, Upcoming Events click REGISTRATION.
You will be asked to consent to MRF holding your contact details. If you do, please continue with the form and write a short description telling us a bit about you, your aspirations and how you would hope to use any funds, your compositional experience so far and how you heard about MRF.
You will then need to submit 3 documents:
· 2 contrasting compositions, each maximum 3 mins length.
· A reference from a music teacher who is aware of your interest in composition.

Please send us your best recent work, either complete pieces or substantial works in progress so we can get to know you as a composer. These pieces DO NOT need to be for solo cello or related to the English Civil War.

Applications are to be submitted by Fri 30th December 2023.

Awards will be confirmed by MRF panel in early January. Selected young composers will be put in touch with a suitable mentor-composer and will receive a bursary to fund lessons in composition and certain travel costs to MRF events. The bursary is not to be used for accommodation.

Awarded composers must commit to attending the following events:
Sun. Jan 22nd Starting Points workshop with Joseph Spooner and mentors on writing for solo cello, and looking at the composers’ starting ideas for theircommissions.
VENUE: Alton College, Hampshire / South London – TBC
TIMES: 10/10.30 – 1/1.30pm – TBC

Sun. March 5th Composition-performance workshop with Joseph Spooner and mentors on the 3 developing commissions.
VENUE: South London / on-line – TBC
TIMES: 10/10.30 – 1/1.30pm – TBC

Sun. April 23rd Festival Day
VENUE: St Lawrence Church / parish rooms, Alton.
Parish rooms:
12 – 2pm – Boles choral rehearsal & short piece by alumnus (FH)
2 – 3pm – Flexible ensemble rehearsal
3 – 5pm – Boles full rehearsal
5.30 – 6.30pm – sound-checks for other 4 ensembles
7.30 – 9pm – public concert, to include premieres of award holders commissions with composer interviews.

We look forward to receiving your application.

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