Composer and saxophonist Charlotte Harding studied composition at the Royal College of Music in London and has collaborated with leading ensembles and soloists including The G Project, Ensemble 10/10 and Richard Ingham. In 2016 Charlotte was commissioned by Nonclassical to write Sol for the Street Orchestra of London’s debut tour and has curated a Nonclassical Club Night the following year, featuring Laefer Quartet, Gustalla Quartet and percussionist James Larter. The composer shares her experience of being part of Nonclassical's Associate Composers scheme.
What opportunities have you had from being part of the Associate Composers scheme?
Being a part of the Nonclassical Associate composer scheme has given me experience in all aspects of being a contemporary composer, from writing works for new ensembles to curating events. As part of the scheme I was commissioned to write a work for the Street Orchestra of London’s debut tour. It was such a brilliant experience writing for an ensemble that approaches orchestral music in such an inclusive and vibrant way – seeing Dalston Square dancing to an orchestra playing my music is something I’ll never forget! It’s also been amazing to be a part of the wider Nonclassical community and get to know the other associate composers and artists and their work.
How have these opportunities helped you grow as a composer?
I’d been wanting to write some solo drum kit works for a while, but always felt they would need to be performed in a context where the drums could be mic’d as they would be for a more rock/pop set up. The Nonclassical club nights at the Victoria in Dalston were then the perfect platform for these pieces and it was great to be able to write them knowing they could be performed as I envisaged. It’s really inspired me to write more works that explore fusions of acoustic and electronic approaches.
Describe a few things you’ve achieved since starting the scheme.
I’ve never curated an event before, so it was exciting to put together a Nonclassical Club night in May 2017. It was a great opportunity to bring different ensembles together, discover new repertoire, and have some of my works performed. I themed the night on the music of New York which included percussionist James Larter sending through a ‘video premiere’ of my work Car Doors from Manhattan – that was definitely a first for me!
What has been the best part of being part of the scheme?
Being a part of the Nonclassical community has been brilliant – I’ve met so many musicians and ensembles which has led to several more collaborations and commissions. It’s also been amazing to have been introduced to the music of such a diverse mix of new artists, from Klavikon to Bartosz Glowacki. For me, Nonclassical represents such a bold, innovative and boundary pushing approach to contemporary music, and it’s been incredible to have been a part of that.
What advice would you give to young composers starting out on their careers?
My advice for young composers would be to listen to, and compose as much music as you can, and be an active part of the composition community whether through organisations, attending concerts/gigs or working with ensembles/artists.
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