RPS/Classic FM 25th Birthday Commissions Winner
Alexia is a 16 year old synaesthetic blind First Study Composer at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and Second Study Recorder. She is also studying for her A levels in Music, Philosophy, Latin and English Literature. She was an Aldeburgh Young Musician in 2015/2016 and she is now one of 6 Composers with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the first blind Composer and musician to be accepted on both schemes. In 2016, she was the first female young composer to win The Cambridge Young Composer of the Year Competition with her piece Passiflora written for and performed by The Hermes Experiment.
In May 2016, she was shortlisted with her piece Neochromite in the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composer of the Year Competition. Her pieces have been performed in various venues including West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, Jesus College Chapel, St Catharine’s College Chapel, Great St Mary’s University Church and the Guildhall in Cambridge, as well as the Royal College of Music, The South Bank Centre, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Handel House and further afield, in Melbourne, Australia. The Ensembles who have performed her pieces include The Hermes Experiment, The Ligeti Quartet, Dr Sextet, NYO, Block 4 Recorders, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, Great St Mary’s University Church Choir as well as the 2016 BBC Young Chorister of the Year Agatha Pethers.
Alexia started composing when she was 12 years old. The themes of her compositions are generally nature, philosophy and psychology. She enjoys exploring the setting of texts from a wide range of cultures and languages, including Mandarin and Basque and hopes to add ancient texts from languages such as Sanskrit and Pali to her list.
She says about her composing: “My method of composing is very strongly imagining the pitches I wish to be played or sung, both melodically and harmonically away from any instrument. As a synaesthetic musician, I also think about the colours I wish to hear in the music and, much like a visual artist, how these are blended to convey the meaning of the piece. I write the pitches down in Braille music notation and then dictate them to an amanuensis, who transcribes them onto a notation software. My music is inspired by a wide range of philosophical, Buddhist, environmental and synaesthetic themes. The use and effect of silence in music fascinate me, perhaps as a result of my love of Buddhism.”
Outside of choral music, Alexia loves to write for unusual combinations of instruments, using her synaesthesia as a source of inspiration. She is also fascinated by the use of music as a form of deep self-expression. She likes to remember what Sibelius said, “Music begins where the possibilities of language end”.
Her ambition is to study Music at Cambridge, where she lives and complete a postgraduate degree in Composition at a Conservatoire. She would like to become a professional composer or pursue a career in musicology.
To hear recordings of Alexia’s compositions and to find out more about her, go to www.inspirarts.com
Brian McMaster, advocate for the arts, former director, Edinburgh International Festival: presented with RPS Honorary Membership in 2009.
DID YOU KNOW?
Before there were traffic lights: coachmen delivering audience members to Philharmonic Society concerts at the Harmonic Institution were asked to ‘set down and take up with their horses’ heads facing Piccadilly’.