Virtual Ukulele Ensemble

May 2020: for the last month I’ve been working with a new ukulele ensemble on Shadow Variations.

May 2020: for the last month I’ve been working with a new ukulele ensemble on Shadow Variations. As most of the world remains in lockdown players are working in isolation and sending in audio files to Samantha Muir whose idea the ensemble was. We’ve just completed editing together Theme in the Form of a Chorale and A Simple Quartet and plan to complete the full set of ten pieces, then do an online performance with video of the kind that have become so familiar (and often moving) during the coronavirus pandemic. The ensemble comprises players in the United States, Europe and Australia and includes teachers, workshop leaders, ukulele specialists, composers and retirees. For around a decade now I’ve been composing scores in which performers have broader creative agency but this is one of the few occasions on which the potential of these kinds of scores has been realised. I must thank Sam for her leadership and enthusiasm that is giving people the confidence to experiment with the music. Watch (or listen to) this space for the results!

Author: Tom Armstrong

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

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