To celebrate the selection of this year’s New Voices cohort, we caught up with all the selected artists and composers for a quick chat.
Here, we speak to New Voices 2021 composer Jennifer Wrigley. Jennifer is highly respected globally not only as a world class fiddler but as an ambassador for traditional Orkney music. She is internationally recognised as one of the leading fiddle players and composers to come out of Scotland in recent years; influencing and inspiring players all around the world.
Can you tell us about your musical influences?
My style reflects ages of musicianship that have been passed down aurally to me from my heroes in Orkney. Fiddlers including Davie Eunson, Pat Shearer, Tommy Mainland and Hugh Inkster to name but a few. Musically, Orkney is an incredible place to grow up, with fantastic groups enthusiastic about classical music, blues, rock, jazz, choral, country, bluegrass, swing, ragtime, brass ensembles, early music, modern music, pipe bands, amateur operatics, Scottish dance music, and of course traditional fiddle music. I suppose my style is a little bit of everything!
What are you working on at the moment?
As well as working on a new tune book I’m kept busy doing workshops and teaching fiddle and violin music online. I am honoured to once again be asked to be one of the judges in this year’s Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year Competition – a tough job! And I was also recently delighted to be asked to create a new piece of music to mark 25 years of collaboration between the Slovenian Science Foundation and the Orkney International Science Festival which was presented to the foundation’s president, Dr. Edvard Kobal at this year’s festival. I have also been working on a new project celebrating women for this year’s Scottish International Storytelling Festival called ‘Off the Map’ with Áine King and Karen Tweed. A shoal of stories, sometimes dark and often magical, storm-tossed from Orkney’s ancient shores across the Atlantic, splashing off the map into dreams…and drifting back again on the returning tide.
What are you looking forward to most about New Voices?
As an established professional composer, musician, and artist in my field, I have always had a thirst to learn and soak up new things. I’m excited about the possibility of having space, time and mentoring to help raise my game, and build on my achievements. I am hopeful that the creation of a brand-new, unfamiliar, and adventurous set of works would stretch my boundaries, expand my horizons and develop my musical senses. I would like to make my musical mark and am very much looking forward to throwing myself into this project. I believe it will really test my existing skills and push me to the limits of imagination. In my opinion, music is all about people, continually passing on ideas and lifelong learning from others. You cannot raise your game without inspiration, especially from other musicians, composers and performers. I am absolutely thrilled to be chosen to take part and relish the chance to learn new skills from amazing coaches and other Sound and Music supported artists. I have a hunger to learn and be inspired by other creatives – I know I’m going to be adrenalized by the experience.
Sound and Music gratefully acknowledges support from PRS Foundation as a Talent Development Partner: