Meet the Composer – University of West London

December 2021: I gave a talk to an audience of composition students studying music for film, the stage and the concert hall at the University of West London.

December 2021: I gave a talk to an audience of composition students studying music for film, the stage and the concert hall at the University of West London. This was something of a trip down ‘memory lane’ because UWL (or Thames Valley University as it used to be known) was where I first started my teaching career, first in adult education, then A Level, then finally as a part-time lecturer working with undergraduates and masters students.

Given the title of the talk and the fact that I am hardly a household name, I decided to take a broad approach that introduced me and my music as well as giving some sense of the context in which I compose. So, I started with my background at York, played some early(ish) pieces and then went on to discuss my music of the last decade or so alongside the pleasures and pressures of working in a university. I finished by discussing some of my ideas around musical borrowing in recent projects, namely The Gramophone Played and Brontë Antiphons.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable ninety minutes; I have to confess this is partly because I like talking about my music but it was as much to do with the attentiveness and engagement of the students who asked me a good number of questions and appeared un-phased by the range of music I played them. Huge thanks to Simone Spagnolo for inviting me and Litha Efthymiou for hosting me so hospitably, i.e. taking me to the pub afterwards!

You can view a 45 minute extract of the talk here.

Author: Tom Armstrong

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

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