Junior LCoM Adopts A Composer!

By Kath Hartley


Junior LCoM is taking part in the Making Music Adopt a Composer Scheme, giving young musicians the opportunity to create a brand new work with an established composer.

The scheme pairs composers with ensembles together for one year, where they will work towards a first performance, a recording and a possible broadcast.

Carmel Smickersgill

The advanced composers who attend our Saturday Music School will work with composer Carmel Smickersgill over the forthcoming academic year to create a ten-minute piece, which will be premiered during Junior LCoM’s festival in June.  

Carmel Smickersgill is currently a performer and composer with new theatre production, SWIM. Her previous commissions include Manchester Renaissance Ensemble, Manchester Peace Song Cycle, Brighter Sound and Galvanise Ensemble. 

We spoke to Carmel about how the Adopt a Composer scheme is shaping up with Junior LCoM…

Q: How is the project going so far – what activities have you undertaken?

A: So far, we have been developing material as a group. I’ve been recording the sessions and transcribing ideas. This big, collaboratively written bank of musical material will form the base ideas of the piece. I’ve also been getting to know the group’s musical interests/ tastes through some group composing exercises.

How have you found the experience of working with these young musicians – have you learned anything new from this process?

It is brilliant to be in a room with such enthusiastic young musicians. It’s still early days and I feel like as the piece develops I’m going to learn a lot about rehearsing such a diverse ensemble. I am looking forward to seeing this piece come into fruition and getting to see the ensemble really take ownership of the musical ideas in it. 

What are your main goals for the project – what do you hope everyone gets out of it?

The main thing I want to do with this project is create a piece that both the ensemble and I have fuelled with ideas, giving everyone a platform for their musical voice to be heard. I hope the ensemble are encouraged to write more music and I hope that I have my own compositional process challenged and questioned (which is already happening). 


Head of Junior LCoM, Karen Gourlay said; “I am delighted that Junior LCoM is part of the Making Music Adopt a Composer Scheme. We have a large number of talented composers who study here every Saturday with Ben Gaunt, and 20 of these are involved in the project. In the workshops with Carmel, I have watched her encourage young people to collaborate, ask questions, and critically reflect on their ideas. Creative thinking is at heart of these sessions and Carmel is an inspirational role model for them.

Find out more about Junior LCoM.

By Kath Hartley

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