The Alternative Conservatoire - applications open!

Grace Bailey

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Crooked Door Images
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The Alternative Conservatoire is an extraordinary opportunity to join a bespoke full-time 3-month accelerator for nine composers/music creators. This unique course is designed around each individual student alongside an exciting and practical core curriculum. Thanks to supported funding, this will be free to attend for all students.

This is a new course directed by Dr Joel Bell and Dr. Bushra El-Turk along with a team of high level teachers with a cross-genre/cross-cultural focus, supported by ‘house band’ Gokumi Ensemble.

  • Students are invited to apply with a project outline they would like to work on throughout the course (this can be solo or include members of Gokumi Ensemble.)
    Example projects could be:
  1. A composition for Gokumi Ensemble and Kamanche with moving image.
  2. An EP of original compositions for voice and guitar inspired by the poetry of Khalil Gibran.
  3. A set of improvisations based on open-scores.
  4. A set of originals for jazz saxophone/Gokumi Ensemble featuring South Indian rhythmic cycles.
  5. A composition for Korean flute exploring gesture and movement.
  • Each Student will be offered their own unique mentor to guide their artistic development throughout the development of this project.
  • All of the projects will be presented at a final concert with invited industry professionals.
  • The final performance will be recorded and filmed to go forward as a calling card for the students’ next step in their careers.
  • The course also offers core workshops in developing knowledge and skills, with students investigating the building blocks of music (melody, rhythm, harmony, composition, arrangement etc.) from a global perspective (Western composition and theory placed equally alongside many other disciplines from around the world).
  • Students will develop their skills in collaboration, creative leadership and improvisation – including band/ensemble leadership in a creative context.
  • Example modules could include: Korean Music – learn about the Daegum flute and Korean philosophies /compositional techniques, then collaborate on a piece for Daegum flute with leading performer, Hyelim Kim.
  • The course is full-time and runs from Janurary 8th ’24 – April 6th ’24. Students need to be able to fully commit in order to be considered.

We are looking for composers/music creators who:

  • May not see themselves reflected in the traditional conservatoire community.
  • Find themselves drawn to a plurality of cultural, genre or musical identities and want to explore those connections more fully in their work.
  • Seek a creative environment to explore how cross-cultural concepts may relate.
  • Want to improve their performance/compositional/leadership craft.
  • Would like to learn, experiment and share as part of a vibrant artistic community.

You could be:

A cellist performer-composer interested in collaboration/improvisation.
An Iranian composer looking to integrate their musical heritage alongside improvisation.
A jazz guitarist looking to develop an original voice away from the mainstream jazz vocabulary.
A composer looking to collaborate with other musical cultures, learning how other cultures approach music making.
A songwriter looking to access conservatoire-level composition skills and improve their leadership skills with creative partners.
A composer working with electronics and sound art.
An artist dissatisfied with old models of music-making and looking for fresh ideas and perspectives.

Entry Requirements:

Aged 18-25 (or within the first 10 years of professional practice).
A portfolio of work. 3-6 compositions/performances notated or recorded (online links accepted from soundcloud, youtube etc.)
A brief statement on why this course would be special for you and what it would mean to your career and artistic goals.

– Application via website:

Webinar Q and A on the course 10am, 2nd November 2023. Sign up on the website

Deadline for applications is 5.00pm on 13th November 2023.

The Alternative Conservatoire is supported by Arts Council England, The Marchus Trust and the Cosman-Keller Art and Music Trust.

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