Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has announced the appointment of Robert Reid Allan as Apprentice Composer-in-Residence for its 2018-19 season.

The Scottish composer’s new role will see him work closely with BCMG over a period of ten months writing new works and immersing himself in the ensemble’s activities. Part of BCMG’s ongoing commitment to nurturing young and emerging talent, the residency offers an unrivalled opportunity to become embedded in the workings of one of the world’s foremost new music ensembles. In addition to writing two commissioned works and being supported by composer-mentors, Robert will observe and participate in the broader artistic, learning and audience development activities of BCMG. He will work closely with the BCMG team to enable a truly collaborative experience, gaining insights into all aspects of the ensemble’s work from performances, rehearsals and workshops to administrative decisions.

Cross-genre collaborations will be a major focus of the residency with Robert's first commission exploring the connections between music and visual art. He will also write a new work for young performers as part of BCMG’s innovative learning and participation programme.

A Scottish composer and pianist based and working in East London, Robert Reid Allan creates visceral, innovative and hard-hitting work touching on themes of violence, sexuality and politics. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he has worked with performers and ensembles including Ensemble Modern, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Psappha, Red Note Ensemble, EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, percussionist Joby Burgess and cellist Oliver Coates, and has had his work performed across the UK and in Europe. Robert worked with BCMG earlier this year as part of the ensemble’s Wilde Lieder Marx.Music project for which he wrote Terry Helenson’s Revolutionary Dreams, a BCMG Sound Investment commission for soprano and ensemble.

Robert Reid Allan comments: “I’m really pleased to be appointed this year’s Apprentice Composer-in-Residence with BCMG. I’ve already been fortunate enough to have had one commission from BCMG this summer, and I’m really excited to be writing two new pieces on this residency. The ensemble is so fantastically open-minded, forward-thinking, friendly and supportive and I’m very lucky indeed to have been given this opportunity.”

Stephan Meier, Artistic Director, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, comments: “As a champion of both established and emerging composers, showcasing the music of today and nurturing the music of tomorrow has always been central to BCMG’s identity. We’re excited to welcome Robert into the musical life of BCMG to write new works and to also participate in the ensemble’s wider activities. The scheme provides a young composer with a unique development opportunity but also brings to BCMG a valuable and enriching chance to build lasting relationships with some of today’s most promising young creatives. Having worked with Robert earlier this year through our Wilde Lieder Marx.Music project, we know what a brilliant talent he is and are looking forward to working with him more closely. I’m particularly excited about Robert’s plans for cross-genre collaborations and how this will open up new creative paths for both him and the ensemble, allowing us to further explore the ever-changing landscape of contemporary music.”

Robert Reid Allan takes the reins from Korean-born composer Donghoon Shin whose residency with BCMG culminates in the world premiere of his specially-commissioned Sheng Concerto to be performed by world-renowned Sheng player Wu Wei on Thursday 21 March 2019.

BCMG’s Apprentice Composer-in-Residence scheme is generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust.


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