Composer in the House puts the creative force of the composer back at the heart of orchestral life.
In Bach or Haydn’s time composers made their living as a member of an orchestra, creating new music for the players next to them and often directing performances. In more recent times this close relationship has broken down and composers now often only meet the conductor and players (and their audience) within hours of the first performance.
Devised by the Royal Philharmonic Society and the PRS for Music Foundation, Composer in the House residencies enable composers and performers alike to have space to create new work, and invite audiences to engage actively with new music through long-term involvement with a composer. Four two-year residencies were planned with regional UK orchestras.
The first composer to participate in the project was Stephen McNeff who took up his position with the BSO in autumn 2005. Writing in the Guardian he argues that composers must change the way they work or face alienating players and audiences
In September 2007 Kenneth Hesketh took over the Composer in the House baton: over the next two seasons Ken wrote pieces for all the constituent ensembles of the RLPO as well as participating in the orchestra’s education and outreach programme.
2010-2012: Anna Meredith and sinfonia ViVa
The third Composer in the House, who took up her position in January 2010, was Anna Meredith working with sinfonia ViVa and their musical director Andre de Ridder in the East Midlands.
2012-2014: Huw Watkins and Orchestra of the Swan
The fourth and final Composer in the House was Huw Watkins who was partnered with the Orchestra of the Swan in the West Midlands.