The Composer’s Toolkit

The Composer's Toolkit

Monday 2nd August 2021 - Thursday 5th August 2021
10:30 am - 2:30 pm



We are excited to release the first course of its kind at MusicFest Aberystwyth, The Composer’s Toolkit, four-days of immersive masterclasses, forums and creative collaboration for any and all music creators, with some of the industry’s leading composers and new music performers. Course participants will have the special opportunity of having a masterclass session on their music with Nico Muhly, take a look into the world of cutting-edge electronic experimentalism and create sound art with Jo Thomas, find out what it takes to be a Hollywood composer with Jordan Rees through creative collaboration, to exploring authenticity and improvisation with Simmy Singh. This course is perfect for any music creator, composer or sound artist who wants to explore the broad world of new music making.


About our course leaders

Nico Muhly (b.1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and others, he has written more than 80 works for the concert stage, including the opera Marnie (2017), which premiered at the English National Opera and was staged by the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2018. Muhly is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and, as an arranger, has paired with Sufjan Stevens, Antony and the Johnsons and others. His work for stage and screen include music for the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and scores for films including the Academy Award-winning The Reader. Born in Vermont, Muhly studied composition at the Juilliard School before working as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass. He is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes (2006) and Mothertongue (2008). He lives in New York City.
Jo Thomas works as a composer and sound artist. As an artist, Jo is recognised in the UK and internationally. She has worked on public commissions for concerts, radio, galleries, sound walks, privately commissioned work. In her process, Jo works with electronic sound working mostly with glitch, with fine detail. In 2012, Jo Thomas won the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Digital Musics and Sound Art for her work Crystal Sounds of a Synchrotron. Her work has been performed in public spaces across the world. Her work is released by the label Entr’acte, Holiday Records, Naxos, NMC Recordings, The Tapeworm and Soft Apple. She has written electronic music for Vinyl and CD, bespoke instruments and has worked on a combination of very experimental work and commercial projects. Jo has been commissioned to write music for Civic Projects (Ports of Call, Sound Walking in East London). In 2019 the project Ports of Call was written about in The Routledge Handbook of Memory and Place. Jo currently runs a sound walking project in North London with her label Soft Apple. Jo identifies as being disabled and is an advocate fair access in the Arts. She is Vice-Chair of Sound and Music and is a Director in the Ivors Academy.
Jordan Rees’ music is regularly used in blockbuster film trailers by studios including Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and Studio Canal and is used by major television broadcasters including BBC, ITV, SKY, HBO, MTV Channel 4 and Channel 5. Some of his orchestral music has been recorded by the Hungarian Studio Symphony Orchestra, the English Session Orchestra, and the Sofia Session Orchestra. Jordan graduated from the Guildhall School Of Music & Drama in 2017 with a 1st class degree, and received an award for exceptional performance.
Simmy Singh has always been keen to push her career far beyond the classical world and has developed a thriving career as a cross-genre violinist. She is leader of the Kaleidoscope Orchestra – who’s recent success with their ‘lockdown sessions’ series has seen them reach 50,000 subscribers, as well as appearances on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Breakfast. Simmy also co-founded the innovative Manchester Collective. A young classical organisation redefining the experience of the classical concert with eclectic programming of world class classical and experimental works presented in both concert halls and club venues around the UK. Highlights include their 2019 Sirocco tour with cellist, Abel Selaccoe – with performances in Switzerland, Kings Place, CLF Arts Cafe and a sold out performance at the Dora Stoutzker Hall in Cardiff.

Our digital summer school 2021

For 2021, we are committed to providing the world-class, MusicFest experience that you have grown to love. Although we are not able to host our summer school in-person, we are working hard to provide a selection of courses online with our internationally renowned tutors. After your place on one of our 2021 courses has been accepted and confirmed, you will be sent a course pack outlining a detailed schedule, access details for your online sessions, and further information for you to get the most out of these special opportunities.

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.



Date(s) - Monday 2nd August 2021 - Thursday 5th August 2021
10:30 am - 2:30 pm