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St Andrews ‘Composer in Residence’ is UK first

Composer Mark David Boden will begin a three year posting as ‘Composer in Residence for the University of St Andrews Symphony Orchestra with a talk followed by a special concert tonight (Wednesday 18 April, 2012) in the University’s Younger Hall, North Street, St Andrews at 1830 hours.

The appointment makes the orchestra the first student orchestra in the UK to have a professional composer in residence, and marks a unique, student-led artistic contribution to the University of St Andrews’ 600th Anniversary celebrations.

Boden has been appointed following his success in the 600th Anniversary composition competition run by the University last year, which he won with his piece Six Degrees – a musical investigation of climate change. Boden’s work beat 35 other entries to scoop the prize and went on to be selected for the BBC NOW Welsh Composers Showcase and was also aired on BBC 3.

His appointment will lead to more opportunities for the local community to experience and learn about orchestral music. Already there are plans for a series of concerts, workshops and master classes open to all.

Boden will also produce a series of commissions during his time with the University of St Andrews Symphony Orchestra, building on the musical legacy of the 600th Anniversary.

Boden said:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with St Andrews’ Symphony Orchestra over the next three years. The musicians of the orchestra demonstrate an exceptional level of passion and commitment towards exploring new music which is inspirational to me as an emerging composer.”

Welcoming his appointment Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson said:

“I am delighted to support the launch of an innovative artistic partnership between the University of St Andrews Symphony Orchestra and the gifted composer Mark Boden. Mark’s thought-provoking, elegant compositions will both challenge and inspire our young musicians; I am looking forward to this exciting collaborative venture.”

Paul Mealor, who composed the music for “Wherever You Are”, a song compiled from letters written between the wives and partners of British Army military personnel deployed on active service in the Afghanistan War as part of the BBC Two television series The Choir: Military Wives, commended the University of St Andrews Orchestra on its innovation:

“Composing today is tough – not only do composers have to write music, but they also have to get it performed! Any organisation that promotes and encourages today’s composers is to be commended, and the University of St Andrews Symphony Orchestra’s appointment of the fabulous young composer, Mark David Boden is to be truly celebrated.”

Wednesday’s event will begin with a talk by Mark Boden; introducing his first new work written for the St Andrews Symphony Orchestra ‘Fanfaronade’. There will then follow the premiere performance of the piece, which has not only been specially produced for the orchestra but has also been written specifically for its current players. Boden has given each section of the orchestra a character of its own and highlights them in turn, making Fanfaronades almost a mini concerto for orchestra.

The concert will also feature a Scottish Premiere of John William’s Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra with renowned soloist Richard Ingham. This exciting jazzy piece features the theme made famous by the film ‘Catch Me If You Can’. The orchestra will also perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s much loved symphonic suite ‘Scheherazade’.

Tickets are available on the door or can be reserved by emailing mussoc@st-andrews.ac.uk – they cost £7 full price or £5 for students. All Fife school children will be admitted free of charge.

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