Music Composition with Nathan James Dearden

Music Composition with Nathan James Dearden

Saturday 29th July 2023 - Saturday 5th August 2023
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Aberystwyth SY23 3DE

Reserve Space(s)

We are excited to bring back our composition course at Musicfest Aberystwyth and we are equally excited to invite Welsh composer Nathan James Dearden to lead this course. The aim of this 8-day course is to provide music creators with a host of opportunities that can kickstart the next stage of their career and to discover a toolkit of skills to support their development. The course will include:

  • A workshop opportunity for solo harp with acclaimed harpist, Catrin Finch;
  • A workshop opportunity with some of our world-class Musicfest tutors and students for works for a combination of violin, viola, and cello;
  • A day-long practical session on the art of being a composer-performer and the world of improvisation with guest tutor, composer and violinist, Claire Victoria Roberts;
  • A collaboration with postgraduate vocalists on the MusicFest Vocal Course to create a collection of songs for voice and piano, and receive valuable feedback from operatic superstar Fflur Wyn;
  • A creative walk around Aberystwyth’s wonderful cultural spots to explore found sounds and devise electro-acoustic compositions;
  • A series of lecture and seminar-based sessions to share ideas on contemporary music composition techniques, interesting new repertoire, and the industry more broadly;
  • Several opportunities for one-to-one lessons with Nathan.

Composers may choose to do as many (or all) of these opportunities as they feel they capable of throughout the course, but there will also be time built into the schedule for ‘free composing’ and individual creative time.

This course is aimed at composers who have received formal training in music composition at undergraduate level and above, but we recognise that pathways into the industry are diverse and varied. If you feel you have the necessary skillset to be part of this course and would like to take part, please do not hesitate to contact in the first instance.


Your course leader

Described as “a champion of his generation” and whose music is “hauntingly beautiful’ (Media Wales), Nathan James Dearden is an award-winning Welsh composer, conductor, and educator. He has been performed and featured by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Tippett Quartet, Genesis Sixteen, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Heath Quartet, Grand Band, Fidelio Trio, Hebrides Ensemble, CHROMA, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, and Dunedin Consort. His music regularly features in concerts across the UK and overseas, including at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Dartington International Summer Festival, International Young Composers’ Meeting, CROSSROADS International New Music Festival and Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Resonance FM, RTÉ lyric FM, S4C and Soho Radio, and has been released on NMC Recordings and Delphian.

Recent notable performances and projects include: anthem, commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; love songs for the broken with saxophonist Robert Burton, as part of the Magnum Opus Residency with Britten Sinfonia; a Welsh tour of Everything about us in collaboration with poet Rufus Mufasa, commissioned by the National Youth Choir of Wales; and First Service as part of a live BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong broadcast (Choir of Royal Holloway).

A champion for bringing audiences and communities diverse and exciting programming, Nathan is also a sought-after conductor, arts advisor, event curator and educator. He is currently Interim Director of Composition and Lecturer in Music Composition at Royal Holloway University of London, Lead Composition Tutor at Centre for Young Musicians (Guildhall), Associate Artistic Director at MusicFest Aberystwyth, Conductor of the New Voices Consort and New Music Collective, and holds arts advisory roles with several international organisations.

More information can be found at

Fees and your stay

The tuition fee for this course is £650 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 *

Bookings are closed for this event.

Date(s) - Saturday 29th July 2023 - Saturday 5th August 2023
9:00 am - 5:00 pm