Walled City Music Festival Composer Surgery

Chris Joseph

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A panel of four distinguished composers, based in Northern Ireland and the USA will offer mentoring and advice to composers from the island of Ireland and UK through a series of Zoom one-to-ones, followed by a plenary session of feedback and questions involving all participating composers.

The composer panel comprises:
Chen Yi (China/USA)
Christopher Norby (N.Ireland/USA)
Ed Bennett (N.Ireland)
Fernanda Aoki Navarro (Brazil/USA).

The plenary will also be open to interested members of the public. The workshop forms part of the 2021 Walled City Music Festival (25-28 March 2021: www.walledcitymusic.com).

Composers will be invited to submit a score and/or recording to the panel for review and discussion in a 20-minute, one-to-one session with a panel member. 8 consultation places will be available for each member of the panel, 32 in total.

Scores submitted should be previously unperformed.  There is no limitation on scoring, it may be a complete or an uncompleted work, or can even be a concept for a piece, described through written text (no more than 500 words). Preference will be given to works composed or completed during the past 12 months. Entrants can express a preference for the composer they would like to meet with, though WCM may allocate them to an alternative if their first choice is unavailable.

Composers will have their 1-1 sessions between 4pm and 7pm, to be followed by a one hour, on-line plenary, hosted by WCMF and chaired by Professor Frank Lyons, composer and member of the WCM Board of Trustees.  The plenary will enable the composer participants to meet with all members of the panel in a Q&A format.


How to apply
Online applications will be available from Tuesday 9 March at www.walledcitymusic.com. To be eligible, a composer must either be born or be currently living/studying in the UK or Ireland.

Deadline for submission: Friday 19 March, 4.00pm UK time.

The 1-1 workshops will be held between 4.00pm and 7.00pm UK time, Saturday 27thMarch, with the plenary session the same day, 7.30pm-8.30pm UK time.

For any questions on the application process or the workshop format, please contact Walled City Music via email at info@walledcitymusic.com.


Panel biographies

Chen Yi* is Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, recipient of the Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her music is published by Theodore Presser, performed and recorded worldwide. Degrees are from Beijing Central Conservatory of Music and Columbia University in New York. Composition teachers were Wu Zu-qiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. A member of American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and American Academy of Arts & Letters, she has been Distinguished Visiting Professor in China and the US.

(*Chen is family name, Yi is personal name. Chen Yi can be referred to Dr. Chen, Prof. Chen, Ms. Chen, or Chen Yi, but not Dr. Yi, Prof. Yi, or Ms. Yi).



Christopher Norby is a U.S. based Irish composer with a diverse range of experience composing for live theatre, concert composition, game music, film/TV scoring and multimedia live performance. His commissioned concert and theatre works have been performed in major venues and festivals internationally (including performances at the Royal Festival Hall and Covent Garden, London, the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, and at the International Rostrum of Composers concerts, Slovenia). As a film and media composer, Christopher has completed scores for multiple iOS and Android releases and national USA television. He was a co-founder of the theatre ensemble AnNua Productions (Ireland), and in 2017 established Ensemble Kabarett in Phoenix – a multimedia live performance group that is gaining recognition for innovative and entertaining productions. Christopher also has much experience as a freelance performer across multiple genres, having contributed to multiple CD releases and live television and radio performances as a keyboardist and arranger. Christopher has taught composition related courses through the University of Ulster, Valley City State University and in various private and community-based settings. He currently devises and teaches a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Arizona State University.


Ed Bennett.  Irish composer Ed Bennett was born in Bangor, Co.Down. His music, which has been described in the press as ‘anarchic’ (Irish Times), ‘manic’ (Classical Music) and ‘thrilling’ (Gramophone) is often characterised by its strong rhythmic energy, extreme contrasts and the combination of acoustic, electronic and multimedia elements; it was recently described in The Guardian as ‘unclassifiable, raw-nerve music of huge energy and imagination’ and by Sinfini Music as ‘one of the most scintillating voices to emerge of late from the British Isles.’ His body of work includes large-scale orchestral works, ensemble pieces, solo works, electronic music, opera, installations and works for dance and film. In 2019 he was awarded the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Major Individual Artist Award, the highest honour awarded to an artist from the region.



Fernanda Aoki Navarro is an educator and composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music, who also develops intermedia works, performance art and installations. She is interested in sound, in the idiosyncratic relationship between the corporeality of the performers and the physicality of their instruments, in the exploration between music and language, in collaborative processes, and in the transformational power that experimental music can exert on issues related to feminism and social otherness.

At Harvard University, Navarro was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Before that, she earned a doctorate in music composition from University of California San Diego, a master’s degree from University of California Santa Cruz, and a bachelor’s degree from Universidade de Sao Paulo, in Brazil. Her music has been performed nationally and internationally by soloists and ensembles such as NY Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music= Players, Talea, Yarn/Wire, Fonema Consort, Gnarwhallaby, Platypus, among others. Navarro is also engaged with promoting contemporary music, working as a producer and curator of concerts and music festivals.  She is currently Assistant Professor of Music Composition at the Herberger Insititute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.




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