Composers’ Hub work selected for Season premiere

RSNO Composers' Hub member Daniel Kidane

RSNO’s second composer nurturing initiative yields new piece to be premiered in November

An emerging British composer has won the chance to have one of their latest works premiered by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO).

Five UK composers were selected to benefit from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s RSNO Composers’ Hub - the second annual initiative to develop the talents of individuals in the early stages of their careers – and were subsequently asked to compose a short work for Orchestra about the subject of conflict. One work, by Guildhall School of Music and Drama doctoral student Daniel Kidane, has been chosen to receive its first public performances, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall this November, a programme presented in partnership with Poppy Scotland.

Named after the Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa, Zulu brings to life the formidable fighting spirit of the Zulu people. Clannish regiments, known as Impi, marked their bravery and militaristic prowess in battles with invaders such as the Boer Commando and the British Empire. The vigorous nature of the piece, characterised by ever-present percussion and an unwavering drive, reflects the essence of the Zulu people.

When asked to write a piece reflecting on the idea of war, Daniel wanted to highlight an epoch in world history where colonialism was rife. The European colonial conquest period was the era from the 16th century to the mid-20th century, when several European powers established colonies in Asia, Africa and the Americas. It is hard to measure the complete damage that the practice of acquiring political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically for the mother country, had on these regions – no doubt the repercussions are still being felt today.

RSNO Composers’ Hub is also an opportunity to develop a meaningful collaboration with the RSNO and the other hub members over a sustained period and to get to know the Orchestra, staff and its audience, receiving guidance from different artistic and business areas.

RSNO Composers’ Hub participant Daniel Kidane: “I’m very much looking forward to further collaborating with the RSNO and hearing my piece Zulu come to life in their 2017:18 Season. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Conductor Holly Mathieson and the energetic RSNO, who did a grand job of work-shopping five excitingly unique new pieces. Such opportunities are vital for younger composers and I'm glad that the RSNO are in their second year of this wonderful scheme.”

RSNO Executive Producer Manus Carey: “Our five composers have produced an awe-inspiring selection of works and it was a difficult decision to select one, though I’m delighted that Daniel’s composition will be performed by the Orchestra in November at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. My thanks go to all participants and RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson who has provided such valuable support to the Composers’ Hub.”

To apply for RSNO Composers’ Hub, applicants were invited to submit a CV, one-page letter explaining why the scheme would be suitable, and two examples of their own compositions (preferably at least one for full orchestra), with scores and sound samples.

The RSNO is supporting new music with the performances of newly-commissioned and co-commissioned works including those by former Composers' Hub composer Jay Capperauld, as well as newly written works by Oliver Searle, Sally Beamish, Martin Suckling and Gerald Barry. The Season will also feature performances of other contemporary works written in recent years. For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit www.rsno.org.uk.