Collaborative Compositions 2014


Supporting young composers to internationalise their practice, develop new networks and create music with leading New Music Ensembles Collaborative Compositions grew from a pilot into a major international project in just one year thanks to Curated Place’s strategic management. Throughout 2014 SICC Productions worked with Curated Place to produce a second year of the Collaborative Compositions project bringing together partners from England, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Wales to explore the meeting point of music, literature and landscape.

The programme was able to expand into an international networking, development and production project with the generous support of Nordic Culture Point, Arts Council England and Wales Arts International. Building significantly on the first outing the project has now secured funding from the European Union to run into 2017 – launches at the end of April 2015.

During 2014  three young up-and-coming composers from three countries were invited to participate in the programme:

Jack White in his home studio
Jack White – UK
Ensemble Partners: Sangkraft – Sweden, Pinquins – Norway
Work Title: “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” and “The Cat On The Dovrefjell”

Returning for the second year of the project having undertaken the pilot residency that kicked off the entire project Jack White worked in Sweden and Norway to develop a new work exploring the connections of folk tales in Northern Europe. White studied music at Somerville College, Oxford and at Cardiff University where he received his PhD in composition. His research interests are in electroacoustic composition and the combination of this media with traditional ensembles in ‘live’ performance which became a core element of his new works.

Jack worked with Sangkraft and choirs at the Umea International Choir festival to research the connections between Nordic and British Folktales that became the inspiration for his new sister works “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” and “The Cat On The Dovrefjell” before having the works performed as part of a touring programme of Nordic inspired music from his oeuvre.

As well as creating the new works Jack also ran a series of masterclasses with post-graduate students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and worked closely with contemporary Welsh writer Rachel Trezise who took the Nordic folk tale “The Cat on the Dovrefjell” and created a new short story which provided the electroacoustic elements of the solo piece.

Project performances – Salisbury International Festival, Umeå International Choir Festival, Islington Mill, The Norwegian Church Cardiff.

Emil Raberg portrait photo

Emil Råberg – Sweden
Ensemble Partners: Kammerkor Sudurlands – Iceland
Work Title: “Niu naetur”

Emil Råberg is a Swedish composer who has worked extensively with choral performers composing works for chamber choirs through to full operatic scores. He developed new work for the Umeå International Choir Festival as part of the 2014 EU Capital of Culture where his partnership with the South Iceland Chamber Choir developed. His residencies resulted in a new work exploring Icelandic literature and exploring how the choir can embody the text.

Råberg worked in Iceland with the Choir initially drawing on the Icelandic classic literature, the Sagas and Edda, as inspiration. During his visit we ensured that he met composers, musicians, dancers and became immersed in the vibrant creative community of Reykjavik. It was a conversation with the writer Gerður Kristný who introduced him to her book “Bloodhoof” (Blóðhófnir is/en) that ultimately inspired the new work.

With strong connections to the poetic Edda and the song of Skírnirthe work inspired Råberg to set a section of the text – where Gerður (from the story) has to wait nine nights before meeting with Freyr. In the Edda version Freyr is longing to meet with Gerdur. In Kristny’s version the reader instead sees it from Gerdur’s perspective, who´s nine nights are filled with fear.

Project performances: Reykjavik Arts Festival, Umeå International Choir Festival, Dark Music Days Festival

Halldór Smárasson
Halldór Smárasson – Iceland
Ensemble Partners: Psappha – UK
Work Title: “It Means What You Think It Means”

Halldor Smarasson is an Icelandic composer who has received his MA from the Manhattan School of Music. He worked with Psappha developing a new piece for Piano Trio as well as gaining professional development opportunities with their Patron Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Smárasson’s work took place separate from the more chorally driven activity of the project. Smárasson undertook a series of residencies in the UK working out of the Anthony Burgess Foundation and being given unprecedented access to their archive thanks to their enthusiasm for the project. “It means what you think it means” was the resulting work written for amplified piano trio and video inspired by the literary giant’s own passion for composition and storytelling. During his residency in Manchester Smárason searched through Burgess’ personal belongings, including handwritten poems, camcorder recordings, musical sketches and instruments, ultimately deciding to base his piece on a video footage from one of Burgess’ numerous interviews on American television – where acoustic music and quotes from the interview echo each other and create a unity.

Project performances: The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, CYCLE Festival (Summer 2015)

The success of the programme has since led to our success in receiving funding from the Culture Programme of the European Union to support the maturation of the project into a true international network and residency platform. Moving Classics: European Network for New Music is now creating new opportunities for composers across Europe and will run from 2015-2017. To find out about the latest opportunities for composers, musicians, writers and artists visit (launching end April 2015)


Our Partner Ensembles

Throughout 2014, Curated Place in partnership with SICC Productions, the South Iceland Chamber Choir (IS), Kammerkoren Sangkraft (Swe), Psappha (UK) and Pinquins (Nor), offered composers the opportunity to participate in the second year of their Collaborative Compositions project. Working with young Nordic and British composers the project develops new choral and contemporary classical works by embedding emergent composers with professional ensembles through a series of production-based residencies before touring the works internationally.

Using Curated Place’s productive residency approach the project goes beyond simply inviting musicians  to perform existing pieces. We offer a sustainable platform creating unique opportunities for composers and musicians to trial new ideas in a supportive and experimental environment. Curated Place supports the creative talents involved with back-office infrastructure, robust systems and formats for selecting, hosting and partnering composers with the correct ensembles.  The residency format has been developed into one that gives a rich cultural experience to composers and connects them to the local artistic world in partnering countries.

Curated Place’s first Collaborative Composition project in 2013 invited the alumnus of Sound and Music’s Embedded programme to respond to a brief inviting composers to work with the South Iceland Chamber Choir in Iceland and the UK to develop a new work for presentation at Southwark Cathedral in November 2013.

South Iceland Chamber Choir – ICELAND

the South Iceland Chamber Choir

The South Iceland Chamber Choir (Kammerkór Suðurlands) has a repertoire of both sacred and secular music from all periods, which it has performed widely. The choir has collaborated with and premiered works by many outstanding composers, whose musical backgrounds and works range from pop and rock to classical. These include Sir John Tavener, Benni Hemm Hemm, Ragnhildur Gísladóttir, Gunnar Reynir Sveinsson, Bára Grímsdóttir and Kjartan Sveinsson.

Kammarkören Sångkraft – SWEDEN


Kammarkören Sångkraft are a choral cornerstone of Umeå’s cultural scene. In July 2000 the choir won the prestigious international choir competition “Llangollen Musical Eisteddfod” in Wales, and was named “The Choir of the World”. In 2014 the choir devised and hosted the Umeå International Choir Festival as part of the city’s year as EU Capital of Culture providing a hugely successful platform for the project and incredible visibility for performers and composers alike.

Psappha – UK

Psappha - the sins for watch

Psappha offers an ensemble of flute (piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), Clarinet (E flat, bass), piano (or possibly keyboard depending on space and composer requirement), percussion (exact instruments to be agreed between the composer and ensemble), violin and cello. Psappha supports the development of emerging composers as well as working with more established composers and our Patron, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. There are many films of the ensemble performing live at: which will give an idea of some of the works the ensemble has performed.

Pinquins – NORWAY


Pinquins percussion trio was established in 2008. Pinquins has produced and presented a number of concerts in addition to appearances at The Ultima Oslo Contemporary Festival, The Bergen International Festival, The Øya Festival, The THEMUS Festival (Gothenburg), The BrassWind Festival and collaborations with Ny Musikk (Norwegian section of the ISCM).

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