Composer in Residence?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to continue building some kind of career as a composer of choral music, especially liturgical music. I do most of my publicity online, and church music is still a largely-offline world. I do love our small-but-mighty choir at St Andrew’s Leytonstone, but realistically, they can’t sing my SATB work, and the unison/two-part/flexible music I write for them is heard by very few people. I put my work online under a CC by-SA license, so anyone can use it for free, but they aren’t going to look for it if they don’t know it’s there.

Would your church like a composer-in-residence for six months?

I’d love to spend one day a week somewhere with more choral services, a more extensive choral programme, and exposure to a wider community. I could write some music especially for the choir(s) and congregation there, in consultation with the musical staff already in place, and some of my other work could be sung in services or concerts if appropriate.

What I can offer

  • The opportunity for your choir(s) to work with a living composer
  • works written especially for your choir(s)
  • publicity! regular tweeting and/or blogging about my experiences as a composer-in-residence and my impressions of the wider life of your church
  • something else? What would you like from me? I can direct choirs, sing alto or (if stuck) tenor, lead sung Compline… but I’d like my primary duties to be related to composing

What I need

  • A suitable church: preferably Anglican, with a strong choral tradition that extends beyond Sunday mornings
  • quiet-ish space to sit and compose, one weekday per week. Background noise in a community cafĂ© is absolutely fine, background music really isn’t. I do most of my composing with paper and pencil so all I really need is a table I can write at, but occasional access to a plug and wi-fi or at least a spot with good mobile reception will help a lot with the twitter/blogging part of the residency
  • a Director of Music and clergy who will let me sit in on rehearsals and include me in the musical life of the church
  • performance of some of my work, either what I’m writing while in residence or stuff I’ve already written. You can hear examples at Soundcloud and most of my scores are on my works page
  • some flexibility: I have existing obligations at St Andrew’s Leytonstone and elsewhere, so Thursday evenings are just not a good option for me, and my Sunday mornings are going to be limited.
  • ideally, a location within 90 minutes on public transport from my home in East London; this could stretch a bit if I can stay overnight on one or the other side of my residency days
  • travel expenses (public transport)
  • lunch would be nice; accommodation and breakfast will be necessary if overnight stays are going to be involved
  • some sort of remuneration would also be good.

So, who pays for all this?

I’m not sure yet! If I can find a willing and suitable church, we could apply for some grants, or if you are up for it we could try crowdfunding. I’m in a position to be a little bit flexible about this — I already spend a day per week composing — so if your first thought is “we can’t afford that” then do speak to me anyway, maybe we can work something out.

If you’re interested, please do get in touch: artsyhonker at gmail dot com.

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