I have been paired with Freya Waley-Cohen through Tŷ Cerdd’s CoDI Mentor Scheme. It’s an interesting time to be a composer, and these lessons have enabled me to adapt to a constantly changing situation.
Due to the current global health crisis, a variety of projects that I had planned for later in the year have fallen through. Working with Freya has helped me to organise the music I am writing as well as suggesting new and imaginative ways of working. Through the four meetings we have had so far, we have worked on a short project in collaboration with OSO Arts Centre’s scheme ‘This House is Now Open’. This involved writing a piece for voice and piano in collaboration with the poet Kathleen Bell. She has really helped me understand how to compose in a short space of time, including what to avoid and what to do, without sacrificing creativity for the sake of speed.
We’ve also covered how to use this time effectively. I’ve been reworking a string quartet that I wrote two years ago, and she’s been really great during this process. She’s shown me how to retain the core idea in the piece while removing material that didn’t work. The piece is called Monkeys and Typewriters and originally used quite a rigid structure and she also advised how to break away from that for the benefit of the music.
Working with Freya during this time has been really great. It has kept me grounded in my composition despite the difficult situation. I am obviously sad to have had to postpone certain projects, but the CoDI Mentors scheme has helped me channel my creativity into old and new music.