Royal College of Music student’s composition selected to be premiered by the RSNO

RSNO’s fourth innovative composer-nurturing scheme yields new piece to be premiered in February 2020

A Royal College of Music student has won the chance to have one of their latest compositions premiered by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO).

South African born Allan X. Chen, who currently studies at the Royal College of Music in London and is a graduate of Boston University – where he won the Orchestral Composers Competition and the Wainwright Prize – will have his work Semblance premiered by the RSNO in February with conductor Teddy Abrams as part of its 2019:20 Season.

Chen composes not only contemporary classical music, but also film music, music for dance and movement, and electroacoustic sound design – using instruments in unusual ways. His piece Semblance was inspired by a short experimental film written and directed by his twin brother, Bill Chen, which shares the same title.

Five UK composers were selected to benefit from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s RSNO Composers’ Hub – the fourth 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. Allan X. Chen’s work will receive its first public performances, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Friday 7 February and Saturday 8 February respectively.

The RSNO Composers’ Hub panel that selected the work for performance by the orchestra comprised RSNO Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler, RSNO Assistant Conductor Junping Qian, Composers’ Hub mentor Stuart MacRae and Composers’ Hub workshop mentor Tansy Davies.

RSNO Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler: “This year’s RSNO Composers’ Hub yielded five extraordinary new pieces for orchestra and we are delighted to have selected Allan Chen’s work, Semblance, to appear in February, 2020 as part of our 19:20 Season, and will be conducted by American conductor, Teddy Abrams.

Allan’s piece is an imaginative work bursting with new ideas and colourful orchestration. The Composers’ Hub continues to be a thriving cradle of creativity and we are proud to support this next generation of young composers.”

RSNO Composers’ Hub participant Allan X. Chen: "The opportunity to work with the RSNO throughout the 2018:19 hub Season has been incredible. The experience of real-time feedback and collaboration has always been an invaluable part of being a composer that I’ve enjoyed and been passionate about. I’m extremely grateful for the support and kindness of Bill Chandler, the guidance of Stuart MacRae and Tansy Davies, as well as the level of performance from the members of the RSNO. It was great to see the musicians play with depth and humour, bringing each of the workshop pieces to life under the baton of Junping.

Having had the opportunity to experience this with the RSNO has been amazing, especially with the camaraderie of my fellow hub composers. I was really impressed with everyone’s pieces, so I’m absolutely overwhelmed and honoured that my piece, Semblance, has been selected to be premiered in the RSNO’s 2019:20 Season.”