A richer connection between composer & listener

gwen sion field recording
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For me, one of the most exciting things about Music Patron is the opportunity to get to know composers and their works in a much richer way. Sonia, myself and the rest of the Sound & Music team had the opportunity to do just this at our most recent away day where we were joined by composer Gwen Siôn.  

Gwen’s project HS2 Ghostlands, which was awarded a grant from the British Music Collection’s “Climate. Sound. Change” open call, is a multidisciplinary arts and research project in response to the climate emergency & HS2 culminating in an experimental composition.  

Before listening to the piece, Gwen talked us through her process which included field recording sounds along the proposed HS2 route as well as creating instruments from felled wood found in the various locations.  

Hearing this story, the process behind the work, was incredibly engaging; before even hearing the piece, I was totally captivated and interested in Gwen’s work. I enjoyed the composition immensely, in part due to it being a fantastic piece of music, but also because I felt like I was hearing more than I would have done had Gwen not talked us through the story behind the music. I found I was listening out for specific moments that Gwen had mentioned, such as rising and falling phrases that coincided with the landscape, or hearing small bits of birdsong and field recordings she had mentioned during her talk. The result of this was a much richer listening experience; feeling as if I had the backstory of both the piece and the composer really allowed me to connect on an emotional level with the music and, as I’m sure you can gather, made the experience very memorable. I couldn’t wait to tell others about the piece and Gwen’s wider work.  

Sonia and I came away from the day incredibly excited about how we might apply this to Music Patron; we’ve talked about the possibility of having “directors’ commentary” of compositions as well as composers sharing the stories behind their works & careers on the platform. This in-depth connection between patrons & composers and rich listening experience is something I believe will be one of the most important aspects of Music Patron. 

Do you agree with this approach? Is there a particular listening experience you’ve had that has made you want to tell everybody about a piece of music or a composer? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you. Email myself at matthew.harvey@soundandmusic.org or Sonia at sonia.stevenson@soundandmusic.org  

If you’d like to find out how we are bringing Music Patron to life, join our monthly newsletter and join us on our journey to change the way new music is supported in the UK. 

If you’d like to learn more about HS2 Ghostlands and experience Gwen’s work for yourself you can do so by visiting https://hs2ghostlands.co.uk/ 

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