Former Birmingham Conservatoire graduate Charlotte Bray is the new Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Sound and Music Apprentice Composer-in-Residence.

The 27 year-old composer will spend a year with BCMG during its 2009/10 season. During that time she will be given a unique insight into the way the ensemble works, attending performances, rehearsals and workshops. She will also write a chamber-scale work for the ensemble which will receive its World Premiere in the autumn of 2010, at the end of her residency. An unusual feature of the commission is the chance to ‘workshop’ the piece with the ensemble’s players several months before its first performance – a rare and valuable opportunity for an emerging composer.

Charlotte’s mentors during the residency are composers Oliver Knussen (also BCMG’s Artist in Association) and Howard Skempton, both of whom have a strong track-record of encouraging emerging composers.

The Apprentice Composer-in-Residence scheme, now in the third year in its present form, is a joint initiative between BCMG and Sound and Music (formerly spnm). The scheme is generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust.

Originally from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Charlotte Bray is a graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire where she gained First Class Honours, studying under Joe Cutler and Howard Skempton. At the Royal College of Music she gained distinction for her Master’s degree as a scholar under Mark-Anthony Turnage.

Charlotte is currently undertaking orchestral commissions for the LSO, as part of the orchestra’s UBS Soundscapes Pioneers scheme (2009/10 Season), and for the Mills Williams Trust, to be performed at the Royal College of Music. She also looks forward to a residency at Aldeburgh Music in 2010, as well as to her role as Apprentice Composer-in-Residence with BCMG.

Recent performances of her work include Alliance, commissioned by Britten Sinfonia, and Sea Cycle which she wrote for choreographer Sarah Swinfield. She received critical acclaim in The Observer for Throw Back, performed by the Sirocco Quartet in the PLG Young Artist Series. June 2008 saw the performance by Jianing Kong of Off The Rails as part of the RCM’s Rising Stars Series at Cadogan Hall. Her work Awakening was performed at the Aldeburgh Festival conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. Other successes include Cityscape, performed by the LPO under Clement Power at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and a commission from Gemini, performed at St Giles Cripplegate and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

In 2008, Charlotte was selected for Sound and Music’s Shortlist, and chosen for a workshop with BCMG, led by Pierre Boulez. She has won numerous awards including The Vaughan Williams Scholarship (for which she was the first ever recipient), Birmingham Conservatoire's Composers' Prize, The Philip Bates Prize for Young Composers, and Birmingham Chamber Music Society Prize for her oboe quartet, which was premièred in 2007 by Richard Wiegall’s quartet. Her first orchestral work, Beginnings, winner of Birmingham Conservatoire’s Composers’ Orchestral Prize, was premièred in 2006 by Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra.

Charlotte attended the Tanglewood Music Center (2008) and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme (2007) studying with Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews and Magnus Lindberg.


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