Three Questions: CoMA London Ensemble

Ahead of its visit to Sounds New on May 4th, I caught up with Liz Herbert, co-ordinator for the CoMA London ensemble, to find out what’s in store.

Tell us about your ensemble.

LH:  CoMA London Ensemble is one of CoMA‘s (Contemporary Music for All)  many ensembles around the country. There are no auditions, and our ensemble has players of mixed ability, some very good indeed. The ensemble is run by an elected committee of playing members. We meet every Tuesday evening and give about four concerts each year. We play only new music, most of which has been written specifically for CoMA ensembles using flexible scoring, by established or emerging composers.

What excites you about contemporary music ?

LH: Contemporary music is always unexpected; we enjoy exploring pieces which haven’t been played before and also working with composers, trying out pieces in different ways and hearing what they had in mind. The music we play is very varied and usually quite challenging.

What can we expect from your visit to Sounds New next month ?

LH: Our plan is to spend the day workshopping and performing some pieces written for the CoMA London Ensemble by composition students at Canterbury Christchurch University. Our music director, Gregory Rose, visited the University and gave a talk about writing flexibly-scored work for amateur players, and some of the students are now writing pieces for the event on May 4th. We will also be playing some of our past CoMA repertoire to demonstrate some pieces which have used the flexible scoring in different ways.

CoMA London cond. Gregory Rose, at Sounds New in 2012

CoMA London cond. Gregory Rose, at Sounds New in 2012

Many leading  composers have written for CoMA including Philip Cashian, Jonathan Harvey, Stephen Montague, Michael Nyman, Alwynne Pritchard and Sir John Tavener, and works for CoMA have been honoured at the British Composer Awards. Sounds New is delighted to welcome CoMA London ensemble back, after their visit last year with conductor Gregory Rose (pictured).

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