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Lewis Murphy's time as Young Composer-in-Residence

Chris Stones, Senior Education Projects Manager, looks back on Lewis Murphy’s tenure as Young Composer-in-Residence and ahead to the new community opera, Agreed, in 2019.

Chris Stones, Senior Education Projects Manager, looks back on Lewis Murphy’s tenure as Young Composer-in-Residence and ahead to the new community opera, Agreed, in 2019.
‘Over three decades and often behind the scenes, Glyndebourne’s education department has commissioned 32 composers… They have set a bold, risk-taking example.’ Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

At the end of 2017 Glyndebourne said goodbye to its latest Young Composer-in-Residence Lewis Murphy after three years. Highlights of his work here are the playful A Garden Dream featured alongside Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Festival 2016, and more recently the beautiful and moving youth opera Belongings which premiered on the Glyndebourne stage in November 2017.

Belongings will be available to watch in full on our website from 4-13 May 2018 to mark European Opera Days. Find out more.

Looking back on his time at Glyndebourne Lewis said: ‘The Young Composer-in-Residence position at Glyndebourne has given me the opportunity to allow my compositional voice to develop naturally, to see my work rehearsed and performed to an incredibly high standard, and generally to immerse myself in the workings of an international opera house.

‘The highlight of this residency has undoubtedly been the performance of Belongings on the main stage at Glyndebourne in November 2017. It was a delight to see my work produced to such a high standard and to share it with such an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

‘I will always remember the wonderful three years I spent here as Young Composer-in-Residence, and I will continue to follow the work of the education department in particular with great interest. For me, Glyndebourne Youth Opera (GYO) represents the pinnacle of what can be achieved in the field of youth participation – the attitude of the young people, the standard of their singing, and the careful process by which they are prepared for performance, have been enormously inspiring.’

Belongings, Lewis’s largest scale work to date, was a commission for GYO which featured a cast of 65 local young singers aged between 9 and 19 performing alongside soprano Nardus Williams, mezzo soprano Leslie Davis and baritone Rodney Earl Clark, accompanied by players from the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts orchestral development scheme. Both the schools’ performance and the public performance were well received with emotions running high both on and off stage, with one audience member enthusing: ‘It was mesmerising, thought provoking and very moving. I cried and I know I was not alone. A fantastic production that needs to be performed to a wider audience. It was a triumph!’

Meanwhile Glyndebourne’s education department has started its preparations for the next big commission – a two-act community opera which will be premiered in February 2019. The new work, entitled Agreed, is being written by composer Howard Moody and will be directed by Simon Iorio.

Moody and Iorio were also behind the powerful community opera Push, a collaboration between Glyndebourne and Battle Arts Festival which was performed in Battle and at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill as part of the 2016 Battle Arts Festival.

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