Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson - The Show Must Go On

Especially for RPS Members and supporters, RPS Composer Peter Wilson shares insights into his 2020 lockdown, how his premiere with Music in the Round eventually managed to go ahead, and what support from the RPS has meant to him.

With the world gone topsy-turvy and the UK in lockdown, my RPS commission for Music in the Round was an apex for my year. In this time of uncertainty, it was buoying to have this live performance on the horizon. Of course, in a case of extraordinary bad luck, my Quintet was scheduled to be performed on 5 November - the first day of Lockdown #2. But no matter: the brilliant team at Music in the Round filmed the concert from home, as well as a conversation with myself, BBC Radio 3's Tom McKinney, and Gemma Rosefield and Benjamin Nabarro from Ensemble 360.

I feel extremely privileged and inspired to have connected with the musicians in this way during 2020. It’s also liberating to remember that, despite the challenges artists face in this time, there are - and always will be - incredible musicians out there who are keen to make music and collaborate with composers in fresh ways.

In October last year, at our introductory session to the RPS Composers programme, James Murphy described the opportunity as a ‘scheme to end all schemes’. Written on paper, it perhaps sounds a bit apocalyptic, but the spoken effect was more charismatic. My experience is that the RPS Composers programme is not a one-size-fits-all opportunity, but a support network that is tailored to the needs of each composer. It is intended to fill the gaps in our knowledge, and give us the confidence to make our own opportunities in the future. In structure, our commitments with RPS revolved around a series of workshops with industry professionals: varying in focus from online presence to contract and legal matters to score preparation. I also learnt that English composers drink lots of tea and have a surprising obsession with boardgames.

In March 2020, these sessions reverted to taking place online, but the composing and tea-drinking continued.

From a personal perspective, I’ve found 2020 to be a time of reflection and growth. With more time on my hands, I’ve had the space to listen to more music, watch more films, chat with more friends, compose more music, make more mistakes, and explore more ideas. I’ve worked on a variety of personal and professional projects - from concert music to films to electronic music - and my music is sounding considerably different to my music of 2019. But the support RPS offers is not limiting to a particular mode of creating, but rather an encouragement for our development as individuals.

Find out more about Peter here.

We are grateful to RPS Members and a range of dedicated funders for supporting the RPS Composers programme.