In the second half of 2014, Platform 4 (our Sheffield-based composers’ group) decided to expand beyond the small chamber music we have written and performed in past seasons, and have a jolly good go at writing for a larger ensemble.

WINDS was a project that invited amateur players from the area, as well as more experienced performers, to assemble for Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. We built a concert around this beautiful but little-performed work, and also around Lutoslawski’s cartoonish Chain I (yes, I know it has some strings in, but only a few…).

The three main aims of this project were:

1. To promote the performance and appreciation of new and new-ish music to local players. Many amateur players never get a chance to tackle modern chamber repertoire (and of course a lot of it is waaay too hard), and therefore haven’t had a chance to experience the rich variety of pieces out there that are rewarding to play and listen to.

2. To write for, and experiment with, a larger ensemble and a greater “palette” of sounds.

3. As always, to keep reaching new audiences who might find that one piece of new music that changes their listening habits forever.

The concert programme was the following:
WINDS Promo flyer

It was a successful concert, with an appreciative audience (many concert “newbies”!), and with all the performers wanting to do more in this line of playing.

We will be blogging over the next couple of months about our own individual pieces, with score extracts for those nosey folks that like that sort of thing (me!). For the time being, all our videos can be found on our YouTube channel

A second large concert is currently being planned (STRINGS) and will build pieces around Ligeti’s Ramifications, amongst others, with works by Chris Noble and Jenny Jackson.