Young Composers Meeting 2013

Young Composers' Meeting Poster

Composer David Collier reports on his recent participation in the Young Composers’ Meeting in the Netherlands 

The Young Composers’ Meeting is an annual festival which takes place in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, organised by orkest de ereprijs in collaboration with Gaudeamus Music Week. It is a coming together of young composers from all over the world for an intensive week of workshops, lessons and lecturers culminating in a performance. This year was the festival’s 19th.

As each of the composers were in a similar stage of their careers, we had a lot in common and it was great to trade stories, chat about ideas and speculate about our respective careers. The environment was conducive to discussing everyone’s different perspective and showed the multiplicity of ways that composition can be approached. As much as each of my colleagues’ ideas about music differed, there was a similar level of 5.DSC_0128divergence among the senior composers. This was excellent for the learning experience as bringing each of the senior composers the same piece of music led to very different ideas about the best way to make the most of it. There were obviously some composers I felt more of a kindred spirit with, but even the lessons in which I disagreed with some aspect of the teacher’s ideas allowed me to see how my music might be viewed through another lens.

The more challenging part of the week was the individual lessons. In these lessons some difficult questions were asked about my philosophical goals, what I am trying to achieve, and why I write music. Questions that really challenged me to think about why I write music as well as what I write.

Getting to work with a such a talented and responsive groups of performers, who play contemporary music on a regular basis was an amazing experience. The conductor, Rob Vermeulen, had a very responsive manner and getting feedback from him and the players was a good way to figure out how to make what I’d written sound its best. The culmination of the week was a final concert of all the selected composers’ work, which you can listen to below.

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