High Wycombe composer to have world premiere at BBC Proms
WHEN I spoke to composer Charlotte Bray on Monday one of her pieces had just had a world premier that morning in Switzerland. And on Sunday the 30-year-old composer is going to have another world premiere at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. Amazingly the 30-year-old only started composing nine years ago.
Charlotte was first introduced to classical music when she was offered free instrumental string lessons at her primary school, Hamilton.
She took up the cello and after two years was allowed to take up a wind instrument and chose the flute.
"It was an amazing beginning," she said.
From here Charlotte, who lived on the Ridge Way, in High Wycombe, until she was 17 and then in Hazlemere, went to Beaconsfield High School. She said the school's orchestra was strong and she also played for the High Wycombe Music Centre and the Youth Orchestra for Bucks County.
To add to this she had sung in the church choir at St Francis in Terriers.
But funnily enough her family are not musical. Her parents both have medical careers and her two sisters have taken different paths.
Once finished at Beaconsfield High she went to study cello at Birmingham Conservatoire. But two years in she discovered composition.
She said: "Composition was quite a fluke which happened at that time. When I was at school the composition we had to do was in the style of Mozart and quite specific.
"I didn't see it as a creative way to express yourself."
Then at college they had to do some composition. She happened to live with a composer at the time who liked what she had done.
She then realised how much she enjoyed it and decided to change courses.
Charlotte graduated with First Class Honours. Then, with Mark Anthony Turnage, she completed her Masters at the Royal College of Music in 2008 gaining a distinction.
She studied at Tanglewood Music Centre in 2008, and in 2011 was made an Honorary Member of Birmingham Conservatoire. She has won numerous prizes, including the RPS composition prize 2010.
Charlotte said: "It was very fast. A lot of composers start when they are a child or younger, at least. It was quite a natural progression having been a performer. Quite a lot of my friends still performing said can you write me a piece.
"I was writing pieces for friends straight away, which helped."
During Bray’s residency with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (2009/10), Alexandra Wood premiered her violin concerto Caught in Treetops under Oliver Knussen. The concerto appeared also in Aldeburgh Festival’s closing concert in 2011.
She is currently based in Berlin and said she has work lined up until 2014.
Charlotte said: "I try and treat it like a normal job. I start working quite early- nine to five almost.
"It is just a lot of grafting. You just have to do it and write. You can't sit around and wait for inspiration.
"Sometimes it will be harder than others.
"There will always be something you can do with it or some way to keep working."
On Monday morning her piece Invisible Cities, commissioned by Verbier Festival, was performed by Lawrence Power and Julien Quentin. Lawrence plays the viola and orginally hails from Downley.
And then at The Proms on Sunday, July 29 at 8pm Charlotte's work is programmed alongside Britten, Mahler and Stravinsky.
The BBC commission and world premiere of Charlotte's At the speed of stillness is after the interval at the Royal Albert Hall.
Tickets are £3.75-£36 from www.royalalberthall.com.
Charlotte said: "I am so excited about it. It is surreal as it has all happened so quickly."
For more leisure news, including gig listings and I Love My Local, go to the Freetime section of the website: www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/leisure .