Friday 14 April 2023

Celebrating young talent: The Martin Read Foundation's Annual Festival

Joe Jolliffe, Josh Clark, Felix Sladen-Jewell, William Dear with Joseph Spooner
Joe Jolliffe, Josh Clark, Felix Sladen-Jewell, William Dear
with Joseph Spooner
The Martin Read Foundation (MRF) was set up in memory of the composer and educator Martin Read who died suddenly in 2012. It has an annual young composers' scheme which provides support for aspiring young composers including commissioning, expert tuition and workshops, performance and recording opportunities. 

The MRF's Annual Festival takes place on Saturday 23 April 2023 at the Church of St Lawrence, in Alton, Hampshire, where Martin Read taught music for so many years. The festival provides a chance to hear music from the four young composers awarded bursaries for 2023. The festival's theme is War, past and current and the young composers, William Dear, Felix Sladen-Jewell, Josh Clark, and Joe Jolliffe, have all been commissioned to write a work for solo cello on the theme of war.

Also in the programme will be Martin Read's Civil War cantata: The Death of Colonel Boles, with cellist Joseph Spooner and baritone Paul Sheehan conducted by David Gibson. The Death of Colonel Boles is Martin Read's setting of the true story of the murder of Colonel Boles in St Lawrence Church in 1643 during the Civil War’s Battle of Alton.  Commissioned as part of Hampshire’s Millennium celebrations, and premiered in St Lawrence in 2000, this 2023 performance of the cantata will take place on that same spot where the Civil War murder took place. The work is scored for double choir, baritone solo (representing Boles), solo cello, recorder ensemble and solo drum. Additionally, there will be a new work for Flexible Ensemble composed by one of MRF's alumni.

The four young composers have already participated in two workshops with Joseph Spooner, the festival's performer in residence, exploring writing for the cello and the starting points of their pieces. They are now working hard with their mentors to complete their compositions ahead of the festival.

Full details from the foundation's website.

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