The culmination of JAM’s Writing for Music project, which has seen six composers and six poets working with six choirs in Oxford over the past year, will take place on 9 November with a concert at the University Church of St Mary, Oxford.
The six choirs will each perform the piece written for them as part of the project and a piece from their own repertoire, before a massed performance of Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb.
Six promising composers and poets were selected after JAM’s annual call for music in autumn 2012, before going through a process of linking poets with composers ‒ to be mentored by poets Ruth Padel and David Harsent, composers Judith Bingham and Giles Swayne and conductor Nicholas Cleobury ‒ and matching these pairs with a choir.
A key part of the process has been the need ‘to assess and write for the ability of their choir’, with choirs involved ranging from Oxfordshire’s county youth choir to the university-wide chamber choir of Oxford University.
The pairs of composers and poets, respectively, are Chris Brown and Anna Robinson; Hilary Nicholls and Wayne Burrows; Alison Willis and Matt Haw; Paul Burke and Ryan Whatley; Dimitri Scarlato and Lesley Saunders; and Daniel Saleeb and Chloe Stopa-Hunt.
They have written for the six choirs involved: Woodstock Music Society, Schola Cantorum of Oxford, St Margaret’s Church Choir, Oxfordshire County Youth Choir, Oxford Pro Musica Singers, and the Choir of Somerville College, Oxford.
JAM’s Ed Armitage said to CM of the project: ‘You know those things where you sit there, thinking “how’s this actually going to work?”. Well, all sorts of things could go wrong – you’re putting six composers together with six writers, let alone then putting them with six different choirs.
‘So which ones are going to fall out monumentally and refuse to ever see each other, is what you’re thinking. But no-one, not one. Bizarre!’
One of the featured composers, Daniel Saleeb, described Writing for Voices as ‘such an original and valuable opportunity’.
Britten in Oxford Festival of Choirs
Saturday 9 November, 7.30pm
Venue: University Church of St Mary, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BJ
Tickets: £10 (£7 concession)
Tickets available from www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/#promoter=664 or the box office: 01865 305305
Find out more about JAM in the November issue of CM. JAM’s 2014 Call for Music closes on 2 December. Click here for details.