Call to music creators
An artist-development pathway to writing for organ
Paid opportunity for 6 music creators
Tŷ Cerdd and Theatr Soar announce Organ@Soar, an artist-development pathway to writing for organ
Organ@Soar is a development pathway for Welsh and Wales-based music-creators of any genre. Over a series of workshops, 6 music-creators will explore techniques and approaches with lead composer Richard Baker. For the first two workshops, we will be joined by internationally acclaimed organist James McVinnie – together, James and Richard will open up the possibilities of the organ to the participating artists, who will then go on to create their own works.
At the heart of Organ@Soar are the Welsh language and the community of Merthyr. Theatr Soar in Merthyr is a community hub and performing arts venue with the development of the Welsh language is central to its purpose.
The converted 18th-century chapel is home to a remarkable organ, built in 1893 and recently restored to its former glory.
The 6 selected music-creators will meet and respond to the local community, and the music they write will be written specially for the Soar organ and dedicated to the people of Merthyr. Lead composer Richard Baker and the team at Soar are Welsh speakers, and the Welsh language will be present throughout this bilingual programme.
The six participating artists will be selected by a panel following open call, and will each receive £500 for their participation. Workshops will take place in Merthyr, but applications are welcomed from music-creators from across Wales and expenses will be covered for any artists needing to travel. The pathway will culminate in a performance of the works the participants have developed, which will be recorded. Music-creators from Merthyr and its neighbouring area are particularly encouraged to apply – but artists from all locations are welcomed.
All participants must be free for the following workshops and performance at Theatr Soar, Merthyr:
1100-1800, Sunday 5 March
1100-1800, Saturday 25 March
1100-1800, Saturday 15 April
1100-1800, Saturday 20 May
1100-1800, Sunday 21 May
• Genre Applicants from any musical genre are welcomed.
• Welsh music-creators If you’re creating original music and you’ve been based in Wales for at least a year, or were born in Wales, you’re eligible.
• Diversity We are keen to receive applications from individuals who are under-represented / have faced neglect or exclusion from the arts community; we particularly welcome applications from disabled people, Black, Asian and ethnically diverse people, LGBTQ+ people, and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
• Welsh language While the programme will be run bilingually, and the Welsh language is central to the project, you don’t necessarily have to be a Welsh speaker to apply. However, we do need to hear in your application why working in a Welsh language context is important to you.
Is this opportunity right for me?
Maybe you’re a classically trained composer who’s interested in the Welsh hymn tradition; you could be a drone artist, excited by the unique sonic possibilities of the organ; perhaps you’re in a band and want to push your sound-world in new directions; or maybe you want to find out more about the significance of this Organ to its local community. Essentially, if you’re a music-creator of any genre and you’re interested in exploring writing for organ – then yes, this is for you!
If you’re interested, but you have some questions…
…we can chat with you directly by phone or Zoom. Email us to arrange a call.
Upload the following information to our portal
Personal details: your name, email address, mobile number, address, and confirmation that you are over 18
Tell us about your practice: Tell us what you love to do as an artist and what you’ve been most proud of. (Max 200 words)
Why would you like to be part of this pathway? What would you like to achieve through participating? Why is working on a Welsh-language/bilingual pathway, and engaging with the community in Merthyr important to you. (Max 250 words)
Examples of your work: please attach 2 links or attachments to your music (NB: please send links rather than sound or video files; if you need help creating links, let us know.)
Video applications are also welcomed. Record your video answering questions 2 & 3 above (up to 3 minutes’ duration), and upload a link to your video, adding the information requested in questions 1 & 4 to the upload form. If you need help creating a link to your video, email us for help.
Timeline & process
Deadline for applications: 1200 on Monday 12 December
The panel (Richard Baker, James McVinnie, Dilwyn from Theatr Soar, and Deborah Keyser, Director of Tŷ Cerdd) will meet on Wednesday 15 December
We’ll let you know the outcome by Monday 19 December
We want to remove as many barriers as we can – if there’s anything you’d like to talk to us about, please contact Deborah Keyser, who will try to help to find a solution.
James McVinnie is an internationally acclaimed organist whose open and inquisitive approach to music-making has led him to collaborate with artists including Philip Glass, Tom Jenkinson/Squarepusher, Angelique Kidjo, Nico Muhly, Martin Creed, David Lang, Bryce Dessner, Darkstar and many more. He has released music on Bedroom Community, Orange Mountain Music and Warp Records.
Richard Baker is a composer based in Ceredigion. His works are often concerned with the transcription and transformation of extra-musical material, and include The Tyranny of Fun (2013, commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Chamber-Scale Composition Award); The Price of Curiosity (2019, for the BBC Symphony Orchestra/Radio 3); and Motet II (2020, for Ensemble Télémaque, Marseille). He is currently working on a piano trio for the ATOS Trio, a commission from Wigmore Hall. Since 2004 he has taught composition at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he is currently a Research Fellow.