Since 1983 NYCGB has been at the forefront of promoting choral singing for young people, working with music hubs in England and creating five regional choirs of 950 singers between 9 and 25 years of age. The members experience intensive rehearsals and musicianship training as well as the opportunity to sing at some of the country’s greatest venues. The best are offered access to the NYCGB fellowship training scheme.
The organisation has always encouraged new composers, and, for the last two years, has offered a young composers training scheme. Through this programme, new talent are taught and encouraged to create bespoke works to add to the NYCGB’s extensive catalogue of commissions, which includes pieces by composers including Thea Musgrave, Shruthi Rajasekar and Kerry Andrew. The programme also helps to create a career path for its proteges.
Previous commissions have been performed by the NYCGB choirs at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Town Hall and the Sage Gateshead and at festivals, including the BBC Proms, Snape Proms and the Three Choirs Festival. But 2020 posed unique problems.
Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, NYCGB’s programmes have continued online. In the 2020 Young Composers Scheme, Amy Bryce, Nathan James Dearden, Joe Bates and Lisa Robertson created new compositions exploring themes encompassing the isolation of social distancing, our digital selves and a call to listen to the science in the face of climate change.
Throughout, the young composers enjoyed the advice and teaching of professional mentors Errollyn Wallen, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Toby Young and Roxanna Panufnik. And during a brief relaxation of the lockdown, the works were recorded for release by NMC Recordings.
‘The scheme really is a unique opportunity for young composers in the early stages of their careers to write music specifically for our suite of choirs,’ said NYCGB’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Ben Parry.
‘Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continue with all our activity online, offering training and mentoring sessions with our partners and associates, and ultimately managed to come together in October 2020 for one day in the studio to record these wonderful, innovative and thought-provoking compositions.’