At the RAM

January 2021: I delivered a paper to performance and composition research students at the Royal Academy of Music this month.

January 2021: I delivered a paper to performance and composition research students at the Royal Academy of Music this month. I was asked to use some of the material from my paper ‘Picking up the Pieces‘ on autoethnography that I delivered in Glasgow last year as well as talking about my compositional process in various recent works. As I was putting the abstract together it occurred to me that I’ve been working as a practitioner-researcher in a university for just over a decade now and so I decided to take a bit of a sweep through that decade, from my early thoughts on collaboration in Capriccio and Morning Music to my use of filtering and erasure techniques in JPR, Distant Beauties and Tänze. Getting to grips with being a composer in a university has had its ups and downs but looking back on my experience so far was nevertheless heartening and exhilarating – my music has changed in ways I couldn’t have foreseen and, more often than not, for the better. So I tried to convey a largely positive assessment of the experience to the students without, I hope, giving the impression it had all been plain sailing.

Author: Tom Armstrong

Senior Lecturer in Music, University of Surrey, Guildford UK. Freelance composer.

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