Joanna Lee appointed as apprentice composer-in-residence

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) has appointed Joanna Lee as BCMG/SAM Apprentice Composer-in-Residence for 2012. The rising young composer, currently studying at Birmingham Conservatoire, is widely regarded as an original new voice in the musical world. She is the recipient of a raft of awards, including the Stephen Oliver Award for her first short opera.

During the year Joanna will spend time working with BCMG and contributing to the life of the ensemble. She will gain a unique insight into the way the group works by attending performances, rehearsals and workshops.

Joanna will also write a new work for BCMG. She will have the opportunity to workshop the new piece with BCMG’s players several months before its first performance - a valuable opportunity for an emerging composer.

During the year she will be mentored by BCMG’s Artist-in-Association, composer/conductor Oliver Knussen, who will conduct the World Premiere of Joanna’s work for BCMG in Birmingham in the early Spring of 2013. Joanna will also shadow the work of composer David Sawer as he writes his future commission for BCMG, The Lighthouse Keepers.

The Apprentice Composer-in-Residence scheme, now in its fifth year in its present form, is a joint initiative between Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Sound and Music (SAM) as part of SAM’s Embedded artist development programme, and is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

More about Joanna Lee
Joanna Lee's compositions have been shortlisted for a British Composer Award and Arts Foundation Opera Composition Award, featured in Premieres of the Year in Classical Music magazine and her first chamber opera, developed in collaboration with Howard Skempton and Tête á Tête, received the Stephen Oliver Award. Her work has been described variously as ‘sharply witty’ (Daily Telegraph) and ‘assured and confident’ (Birmingham Post).

The young composer’s musical studies have included a degree in Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, where she is currently a PhD student, and participation in the Britten-Pears Contemporary Composition Course, London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Scheme and Jerwood Opera Writing Programme. She specialises in contemporary vocal music, music theatre and opera.

Joanna is currently Composer-in-Residence at Aldeburgh, writing a choral piece to celebrate 60 years since the founding of Aldeburgh Music Club by Benjamin Britten; the work will also be performed as part of Britten’s Centenary. Recent projects include a piece for the London Symphony Orchestra as part of the Panufnik scheme and a short opera for the Jerwood Opera Writing Programme at Aldeburgh.

        Joanna Lee BCMG Apprentice Composer 5 1MB jpg

Joanna works as composer assistant to Paul Englishby, which has included music for the Oscar-nominated film An Education, and projects for the Royal Shakespeare Company, BBC and Ronnie Scott’s.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
was formed in 1987 from within the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and is one of Europe’s leading ensembles. Sir Simon Rattle is the Group’s Founding Patron and has conducted BCMG in the UK, on tour in Europe and America, and on several EMI recordings. The Group has strong relationships with its Artists-in-Association Oliver Knussen and John Woolrich. BCMG’s work has won many major awards including a MIDEM award for the NMC recording of Britten’s complete film music; two Royal Philharmonic Society Awards; Prudential, Gramophone and PRS Millennial awards.

The core of BCMG's work is the commissioning and performance of new music. The Group has premiered some 140 new works by leading UK and overseas composers and has given over 550 performances of these pieces. Most have been commissioned with the help of a large number of individuals through BCMG’s ground-breaking Sound Investment scheme. The Group regularly tours nationally and internationally: highlights include concerts with Oliver Knussen in Barcelona and Madrid; with Thomas Adès in New York’s Carnegie Hall, and in festivals in Cologne, Paris and London’s Barbican Centre and a European tour with Sir Simon Rattle. UK engagements include regular appearances at the BBC Proms and at the Aldeburgh Festival.

BCMG is committed to engaging the widest possible range of people with its work, and runs extensive learning and audience-building programmes in pursuit of this aim.

BCMG was awarded an Innovative Teaching Activity Award under the Arts Initiatives grant scheme, providing £71,546 over 36 months.