Composers announced for Composer Academy 2023
Meet the six incredible musicians who have been selected as part of the 10th edition of Composer Academy and will have their compositions work-shopped, performed and recorded as part of Cheltenham Music Festival 2023.
Alexander Papp is a 22 year old composer who holds a scholarship to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music with Phillip Cashian and Rubens Askenar. Based in London, he writes both acoustic and electro-acoustic music for the concert hall.
In 2020 Alex was the recipient of the Rushworth Composition Prize, culminating in a performance by Ensemble 10/10 in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. As well as this, his fanfare was selected by the Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra as the winner of their emerging composer prize, resulting in a commission for the orchestra. He was most recently part of the 2022 LCO New cohort, having a piece premiered by the London Chamber Orchestra in St John's Smith Square, London. His work has also been performed in venues such as the Purcell Room, St James Piccadilly, West Road Concert Hall and in festivals such as Deal and the King's Lynn Festival.
Summer courses he has attended include the Advanced Composition Course with Nico Muhly at Dartington Music Summer School and he was invited to observe the 4th International Young Composers Academy Ticino Musica with Oscar Bianchi and Francesca Verunelli. A love of conducting led him to attend the Aberystwyth MusicFest conducting course with Toby Purser in 2022, he has since conducted many of his own works as well as his peers.
Alice Beckwith is an award-winning composer, currently developing projects with Endelienta Baroque and Lost Fawn New Music. A versatile composer of concert music, Alice writes music for everyone: encompassing children's voices, chamber ensemble, orchestra, mixed-voice community choir, and solo instrumentalists. Her music is contemporary with a lyrical sound firmly rooted in the British Isles - with an emphasis above all upon story-telling.
From 2020-22 she was Composer-in-Residence with Lodge Moor Children’s and Youth Choir (as featured on Friday Afternoon Premieres with Britten Pears Arts), with whom she is developing a children’s songbook. Performances of their commission ‘Hey-Ho!’ have been given at St Luke’s Church Lodge Moor, and STC Crookes in partnership with Sheffield Chorale; the first performance taking place at the 2022 Mrs Sunderland Festival, Huddersfield.
Supported by the Vaughan Williams Foundation, The Golden Thread  - a cantata for mezzo and mixed ensemble themed around the Green Man and the Erlking - was commissioned by the Green Man Gallery, Buxton to celebrate their 10th Anniversary, A Green Gathering. The first UK performance was given by mezzo-soprano Phoebe Haines and members of the Endelienta Ensemble, and the first London performance will take place at the 2023 Tête à Tête Opera Festival.
From Halifax, West Yorkshire, Alice studied at the Junior RNCM before reading Music at Lincoln College, Oxford University; subsequently studying Composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Her music has been performed by The Heath Quartet, CHROMA Ensemble, Huw Watkin & Alexandra Wood, and Victoria Rule (Spitalfields Music).
Anibal Vidal is a Chilean composer based in London, whose multifaceted career spans concert music, music for media, and multidisciplinary projects. His music is characterised by its immersive quality, featuring engaging temporal and gradual processes.
In 2022, he was awarded the 20th Joan Guinjoan International Prize for his orchestral piece, 'Gliding Murmuration'. Additionally, he won the DYCE Competition 2022 award for Young Composers of Europe for his ensemble piece, 'Liquidity', which commissioned him to write a new piece to be premiered by Cikada Ensemble, Divertimento ensemble, Tallero Sonoro, and Ensemble U in June 2023. Anibal's works have been performed by the RCM Philharmonic in London, the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra in Cambridge, the Cikada ensemble in Oslo, the BCN216 ensemble in Barcelona, and the Synchronos ensemble in Croatia, amongst others.
He obtained a Master's degree with Distinction and an Artist Diploma in Composition from the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied with professors Kenneth Hesketh and Jonathan Cole, as a Lennox Hannay Charitable Trust Scholar supported by the Robert Anderson Trust Special Award. This year, he looks forward to participating in the ManiFeste festival and academy organised by IRCAM in Paris with Professor Francesco Filidei, during which he will premiere a new piece with Ensemble Intercontemporain.
Aside from his work in concert music, Anibal is also an accomplished film composer and a member of BAFTA Connect. He recently composed the original soundtrack for the Netflix series "Cromosoma 21", which premiered in February 2023.
Effy Efthymiou is a London-based composer, and a creator and producer of multimedia stage works that harness music, movement, the body and the spoken word. Her work has been described as ‘brilliantly realized’ by Tamara Guasi in Time Out, and as ‘a powerful statement for 21st century innovation’ (Timmy Fisher, Bachtrack, 2018).
Effy has won numerous awards to create and produce her work, including from PRSF (Women Make Music), Arts Council England, National Lottery, Wellcome Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation, RVW Trust and Playground Studio. Her work has been performed at festivals and venues across the UK, including at Kings Place (which has programmed three evening-long performances of her work), Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican, Sage Gateshead, Handel and Hendrix in London, Westminster Abbey and Bridgewater Hall, to name but a few. Her new work, 'Fluidity' for chamber orchestra has recently been premiered at St John's, Smith Square.
Effy studied Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, with a scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust, and recently completed a Ph.D. in Composition at King’s College London, with a full scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Mary Offer is a composer and conductor whose works have been performed by ensembles including BCMG, CoMA London, the Riot Ensemble and CHROMA. She has recently received commissions from The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge, The Ripieno Choir and mainly slow organ music, and her opera Esther: a voice for the voiceless was premiered by Cambridge University Opera Society under her baton as Musical Director.
Mary takes a keen interest in exploring new sounds through improvisation in her music, presenting on this topic at the Phoenix Music Society Conference 2022 alongside keynote speaker Jonathan Dove. She is passionate about new music, founding her own New Music Festival at the University of Cambridge in collaboration with Nico Muhly and Diana Burrell.
As a conductor she has performed in venues ranging from St Paul’s Church Covent Garden to Bruges Cathedral, Belgium, and her conducting highlights include being Musical Director of her own opera, MD of an original musical premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe 2022 and conducting Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in the Chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. Mary graduated from The University of Cambridge with a BA(Hons) in Music and is currently studying MMus Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was awarded a Bertie Douglas Haywood scholarship and receives tuition from Philip Cashian.
Robert Crehan is a British composer from Luton, Bedfordshire. His recent work explores abrupt cuts and interruptions, combined with sharply contrasting materials to create abstracted and broken narratives; evocative of editing techniques used in visual art and media. Most recently, he has completed a trilogy of orchestral pieces inspired by the art styles of three 20th Century Abstract Expressionists.
Early on, Robert took a unique path to achieve his musical aspirations and left education prematurely to concentrate on his artistic and musical development. Over the following years, he self-taught the basics of composition and notation, eventually producing enough music to earn him a place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he began his studies in 2013. In 2018, he began his postgraduate studies at Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded a Junior Fellowship following his graduation in 2020 while being generously supported by scholarships awarded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Guildhall School Trust.
His music has been performed around the UK and internationally by ensembles including EXAUDI vocal ensemble, Plus-Minus ensemble, Quatour Bozzini, Psappha Ensemble, London Chamber Orhcestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Orkest de Ereprijs. His work has also been heard on BBC Radio 3 and Birmingham Scratch Radio.
Robert is passionate about music education and is currently employed as a composer on the Listen Imagine Compose – Primary project.
Enjoy a showcase of their compositions at this year's Cheltenham Music Festival