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rarescale Summer School

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I attended the rarescale summer school for the second year running, as a student of composition at the Open College of the Arts, where I’m currently studying with Carla. I’ve also attended several rarescale concerts in London and elsewhere. Gradually getting to know the sound of the low flutes as well as some of the new music that is being written for them has been an inspiring experience. On this occasion I heard the contrabass flute live for the first time, a remarkable instrument which is awaiting new repertoire.

For the student composer, the summer school provides an invaluable framework for working at speed to a tight deadline, with the experience of hearing your work rehearsed and performed live by experienced musicians. Last year I enjoyed my first introduction to electro-acoustic composition. This year I wrote an acoustic piece for nine flutes, as there were nine flautists on the course and I wanted to write something for the whole consort. I learned a great deal from the experience. The guidance provided by Carla and Michael was finely tuned and highly motivating; it was also instructive and illuminating to hear the newly-formed consort working together in rehearsals to bring the various pieces to life in performance. And all the musicians were there to provide helpful feedback in a to-and-fro process of creating new music together.

The week culminated in an enjoyable and satisfying last evening concert in which we could share all the fruits of our work together. Add to all this the pleasurable experience of socialising in the extraordinary Hogwarts-like surroundings of Harlaxton Manor, as well as the nearby village pub, and you have the recipe for a truly memorable week!

Deborah Johnson

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