Composition with John Pickard

Composition with John Pickard

Saturday 23rd July 2022 - Saturday 30th July 2022
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Reserve Space(s)

This composition course with leading composer, John Pickard, will be limited to eight participants, who should be over the age of 18 on July 1st 2022 and, typically, already studying composition. There is no upper age limit.

The course focusses on the composition of fully notated ‘art’ music. Within that framework, there is no restriction on style. A Grade 8+ standard of musical notation is required as a minimum.

This is a practical course, offering composers the chance to work closely with first-rate performers, developing and refining their ideas as they go along. Each composer will have the opportunity to write two short pieces to be performed in informal workshop settings during the course: one for a solo instrument to be played by one of the instrumental tutors on the course, and one for either string quartet or for small chamber orchestra, to be played in workshops by the Solem and Sacconi Quartets and by Sinfonia 21.

All composers will be expected to arrive at the course having made a start on both pieces. They will then develop and complete their works during the week under guidance from John Pickard

Study spaces, with keyboards, will be provided, but composers need to bring with them a laptop with music-processing software (ideally Sibelius) as they will have to produce scores and instrumental parts quickly.

From Sunday through to Friday, composers will usually work on their pieces during the mornings, with tutorial guidance from John Pickard. After an early lunch break, participants will have the opportunity to attend a free lunchtime recital in the Great Hall.  Later in the afternoon, the composers will gather to discuss their ongoing work and to participate in workshop sessions facilitated by John Pickard.

In the evenings there will be further concerts to which all Summer School attendees have free access.

On the final Saturday there will be Showcase Concerts including some of the compositions written during the course. Most students, guest artists and tutors return home on the Sunday morning (31st July).

In order to ensure that the course is suitable for you students wishing to be considered for admission to the course will be asked to submit two fully notated examples of their work no later than 1 July. The scores do not have to have been previously performed but should be submitted in PDF form only. A URL for submission of scores will be provided on receipt of the application.

About your course leader

John Pickard is one of the leading British composers of his generation. His music has been performed by some of the world’s finest orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony and the Nagoya Philharmonic in Japan. In the UK, all the BBC Orchestras have performed his music and over 40 of his works have been commercially recorded.

John studied composition at the University of Bangor with William Mathias and at the Royal Conservatory in the Netherlands with Louis Andriessen. He is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Bristol, where he has taught composition for almost 30 years. John has composed over 70 works, including six symphonies, six string quartets and much choral, vocal and instrumental music.

Recent premieres have included his Sixth String Quartet by the Alberni Quartet, his Mass in Troubled Times by the BBC Singers and a short orchestral piece commissioned by the BBC and played at the 2019 Proms by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. In 2021 his album of chamber music The Gardener of Aleppo, played by the Nash Ensemble, won the prestigious Gramophone Contemporary Award.

John’s new Clarinet Quintet Night-Spells, a MusicFest 2022 commission, will be given during the festival by David Campbell and the Sacconi Quartet.

Fees and your stay

The tuition fee for this course is £595.00, excluding accommodation, which includes a pass to all concerts during Musicfest. Early bird discounts are available on all courses booked and paid for in full before 30th April.

Self-catering and en-suite accommodation is offered at a discounted rate for Musicfest students in University halls of residence, or you can book your own accommodation outside the University.  See the accommodation page for further details.

Financial Support

Musicfest Aberystwyth welcomes bursary students from all over the world and prides itself on offering high-quality, intensive training for music students, graduates, and music professionals. We do not wish finance to be a barrier to attending our Summer School so our bursaries (funds towards the cost of fees) are available to help students, graduates and young musicians attend our courses. Friends of MusicFest provide bursaries towards MusicFest Aberystwyth course fees for students in full-time education. The number of bursaries available is limited, so it is essential you apply as soon as possible.  For more information and how to apply, please visit our Fees and Bursaries page.

For more information about financial support, please visit our Fees and Bursaries page.




Request a space on this course

You can request a space on this course here. Applications will be reviewed, and if accepted we will send full information on course joining and fee payment via email. We aim to respond within 7 days to your reservation request.

If you are booking more than one place, you will need to fill in application details for each potential student. Mandatory fields are marked with *

Ticket Type Price Spaces
Standard £595.00

Date(s) - Saturday 23rd July 2022 - Saturday 30th July 2022
9:00 am - 5:00 pm