Composers chosen for PRS for Music's inaugural Accelerate initiative

Berkeley Ensemble partners with PRS for Music for career development programme

Clockwise from top left: Daniel Chappell, Michael Cryne, Eloise Gynn, Robin Haigh, Patrick John Jones, Robert Laidlow, Matthew Olyver, George Stevenson

The first composers to take part in PRS for Music’s new Accelerate initiative have been selected, with eight talented individuals set to develop new works over the next 11 months, culminating in a special concert in November. 

Accelerate is an empowering new career development programme launched by PRS for Music, the membership society that represents more than 125,000 composers, songwriters and publishers in the UK and beyond, in partnership with Berkeley Ensemble. 

Berkeley Ensemble will perform the eight new works in an exclusive concert, held at St James’ Church, Piccadilly on Thursday 22 November. The instrumentation of the ensemble will be: two violins, viola, cello, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, horn. The successful Accelerate applicants are inspired by everything from: natural forces and man-made structures and the intersection between the two; the natural world, poetry and movement; and a background in and love for jazz music. 

Ahead of the concert composers will attend two all-day workshops, with guidance and feedback from renowned composer John Woolrich, who is known for founding the Composers Ensemble, as well Hoxton New Music Days festival and for his stints as Artistic Director of Aldeburgh Festival, Dartington International Summer School and Mirepoix Musique in France. Accelerate will also incorporate career skills workshops presented by a range of industry professionals, including publishing, recording, promotion and funding.

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All of us at PRS for Music are very pleased to demonstrate our continued support for composers with the launch of Accelerate, in partnership with the Berkeley Ensemble. This scheme recognises the importance of career development for composers in the classical sector and we are excited about working with such an engaging group of composers over the coming months.

Harriet Wybor, Classical Account Manager at PRS for Music
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We're delighted to be expanding our partnership with PRS for Music in our tenth birthday year. We've really enjoyed working with PRS composers during one-off workshops in previous years and this new scheme provides a fantastic opportunity for the selected composers to develop new work in a supportive environment and build a strong relationship with us over a sustained period of time.

John Slack, Clarinettist and General Manager at the Berkeley Ensemble
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In the old days performers were often composers and composers were usually performers. But somehow the two activities have drifted apart. This project is significant because it brings composer and performer closer together. The results should be fascinating.

Composer John Woolrich

The eight composers were chosen in a completely anonymous process, to encourage composers of all ages and levels of experience to apply.

The selected composers (pictured above, clockwise from top left) are:

  • Daniel Chappell, a composer and pianist who has performed across the UK, US and Russia. His output encompasses a variety of forms, ranging from solo, chamber and orchestral music, to opera, dance, electro-acoustic music, and music for film. Daniel recently participated on the 2017 Fondation Royaumont Voix Nouvelles Session de Composition.
  • Michael Cryne, whose work includes acoustic and electro-acoustic compositions. He spent much of his early career working in theatre, writing music for over 25 plays and working as a musical director and supervisor, most notably with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is currently a participant in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Composers Hub scheme.
  • Eloise Gynn, known for her diverse range of artistic ventures, from playing the cello and shakuhachi at festivals in Armenia, Lithuania and Korea, to collaborating with choreographers at Phoenix Dance Theatre. As a cellist/vocalist she performs with Les Mignonettes, a trio specialising in original compositions and contemporary arrangements of European folk music.
  • Robin Haigh, who last year became one of the youngest ever recipients of a British Composer Award for his recorder quintet, ‘In Feyre Foreste’, at the age of 24. This year, his music will be performed by the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the LSO Chamber Ensemble, and will feature on a release by NMC Recordings.
  • Patrick John Jones, a London-born composer currently based in York. Patrick has been awarded the RPS Prize 2015, Britten Sinfonia’s OPUS2014 competition, and received commissions from Sound & Music for their Portfolio scheme and New Dots. He recently completed a PhD in Composition at The University of York, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.
  • Robert Laidlow, a contemporary classical composer who was recently commissioned by the 2018 Campos do Jordao music festival in Sao Paulo and Doors Open Milwaukee via Access Contemporary Music Chicago. His music has been performed by groups including the Britten Sinfonia, members of the Milwaukee Symphony and Ballet, CoMA London and the Tritium Trio. He is currently a member of Psappha's Composing For scheme.
  • Matthew Olyver’s current work involves collaborating closely with orchestras and larger ensembles. In November 2017, his piece for sinfonietta On the Sea of Heaven was premiered by the Manson Ensemble in the Duke's Hall under the baton of Timothy Weiss. He started his Doctoral Studies at the Royal Academy of Music under the supervision of Philip Cashian in September.
  • George Stevenson, a London-based Scottish composer who has written for musicians of the Russian National Orchestra, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Solovey Ensemble, Juncture Ensemble, Assembly Project, Brodick Quartet, Duo Palladium and Guastalla Quartet, as well as dancers of The Bolshoi Ballet.

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world. As a membership organisation the company ensures creators are paid whenever their music and songs are played, performed, broadcast or reproduced in public and provides business and community groups with access to 22.2 million songs through its music licences. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.

In 2016, the organisation collected over half a billion pounds (£621.5m) on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.