Firstly - what a beautiful and peaceful setting. I had heard of Aldeburgh for ages, and remember studying Britten’s St. Nicholas at school. So i always had the image of not only a successful composer in critical and commercial terms, but one who also wanted to address a need to share a great combination of things: a chance for deep learning and inspiration, in a beautiful location ( the venue being Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK). So – after a great introductory meet with Colin Virr , to outline all of the great things that the AYM have achieved plus the visions for the future – we began. Diving straight into some wonderful exercises (both physical and musical) with leader Eugene Skeef - this begun to hone and focus the group energy quickly. This wonderful teaming of vocalists Marcina Arnold , Deborah Jordan , Eugene and myself – improvised a tune , and each of us contributed music or a musical game involving lyric creation, or meditative vocalising. I then performed a duo with one of the students ,which was a joy, before we retired for lunch.
During lunch i ran into a former teacher at my Uni – Tim Steiner - who was leading the more experienced ensemble in another part of Snape Maltings. This looked like a great band with an eclectic line up (from Harp, to multiple guitars, horns and laptops). Great to find out that we will all get a chance to hear them – on our last day. After lunch we continued with more , this time based around the development of a song using a (hastily sourced!) chord sequence , that in turn had derived from a musical chairs game (christened ‘you gotta be fast’ by Marcina) . Then we split into groups, with each going off to develop their own version. The afternoon finished with a sequenced performance of each of these versions. There was only a little time for them to develop these , and they did a fantastic job, with distinct differences in each. This is a truly inspiring place – and it can never be said enough, how lucky these youngs artists are to be present here.