With pandemic time proceeding both slowly and very fast, it’s amazing/not surprising at all that the anniversary of our year of lockdowns will soon be with us. Next month, musicians (and many others) will probably recall the day in March 2020 when all our work disappeared at once. But a happier near-anniversary arrived this weekend when I joined the Martin Read Foundation’s latest online workshop.
Hampshire-based MRF resourcefully support school and college age composers with live workshops and performances. Just under a year ago, they were the first group I worked with to reorganise a Corona-postponed event online. I can well remember electing to crouch for the first time in a wifi-covenient armchair for the daunting 3-hour Zoom call, and wondering if the baffling thing would work at all. Fast forward a year, and how assured we’ve all become with all those interactive features, so useful for this session led by Ben Corrigan (electronics) and Sam Bullard (saxophones) which was being followed by a number of students and enthusiasts from far and wide. Once we’re “allowed out” again, I hope we don’t completely abandon this very accessible form of teaching and discussion.
Cheeringly, two of our sixth-former students, Samby Anderson and Pernilla Faye, had returned after last year's workshop, having secured places at TCM and RAM respectively to study composition full-time. Amidst so much Covid/Brexit agony in the musical profession, I felt somewhat revived by their positive-spirited choice of composing as a desirable career activity for the future. (In the shorter term, MRF's Festival of Contemporary Music '21 will take place on April 25th.)
Pictured: much-needed energy from a tiger, viewed amongst the wonderful installation currently covering the front of Tate Britain, by Chila Kumari Singh Burman.