Composition Workshop

Monday 13th March 2023

On Sunday 26th February, all academic musicians were invited to a composition workshop, delivered by composer and teacher Eleanor Haward.

Eleanor teaches music to pupils in schools in Suffolk and to the undergraduate students at the University of Aberdeen. She is currently studying for her PhD in Composition, researching composer processes and the relationship between words and harmony. She is also a soprano with the Lucy Cavendish Singers in Cambridge.

On the morning of her visit, the Chamber Choir sang the world premiere of her piece, Sicut Cervus, which was specially commissioned for the choir at Marlborough College. With its soaring melodies, and beautiful harmonic direction, the Chamber Choir enjoyed the project of working towards the first ever performance of the piece. Eleanor said that the choir “really brought it to life and were really sensitive to the words” and that “the standard of singing in both the chamber and chapel choirs is exceptional”.

Later that day, after hearing this new choral piece, our academic musicians took part in a composition workshop where Eleanor’s Sicut Cervus formed a case study for compositional process and development. The pupils discussed all sorts of exciting compositional directions and were able to use this to reflect on their own work as part of the GCSE and A level syllabuses. Eleanor mentioned that she “loved speaking with them about music and the creative process. They were receptive and engaged in the workshop, asking questions and responding to each other’s ideas”. Afterwards, the initial thoughts and sketches of a group composition were formed, which Eleanor took with her to complete in preparation for the first performance of this group composition next term!

Adam Meehan-Staines
Choirmaster and Director of Chapel Music

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