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Handel House, Music Study Visit Review

On the 26 November students joined OCA’s Carla Rees at Handel House in London. Some of the students in attendance review the day…

John Napier recalls; “A very enjoyable and informative study day organised by OCA and the staff of the Handel House Museum. As a new student to OCA it was really nice to get out and meet other students, to meet Carla and to meet real composers producing new contemporary music. Carla took the time to show us the different types of flute she uses (baroque, micro-tonal) and stressed the importance of composing for specific types of flute. I am interested in electronics in music so was keen to see how their setup worked in performance and how the flute and electronics/radio worked together as an ensemble.

The performance was excellent – a great mix of music including flute, micro-tonal flute, electronics and radio. A highlight for me was Piers Tattersall’s fascinating piece combining flute with radio, which he rightly asserted is best appreciated in live performance. While his composition is fixed the particular radio station is chosen by Piers at the time, which gives each performance a unique character.

In addition to the rehearsal and the performance we were also treated to a guided tour of Handel House and the composer-in-residence Edwin Hillier talked to us about his installation music piece in Handel’s bedroom.

An excellent day of music all round.” 


“The visit was a fantastic opportunity, to meet current composers and performers, and to see a live electroacoustic and instrumental programme being set up and performed, in an inspiring venue. I have had little previous exposure to the world of microtonal music, and minimal experience of electroacoustic composition, so it was really informative. The performers talked to us about how some of the effects were achieved, particularly in recording and manipulating flute samples, and I’ve found this interesting when subsequently listening to music. The concert was both moving and immersive. It was also really good to meet fellow students and Carla. Thank you very much, and I really look forward to further study visits.”  Alice Simmons, OCA Music Student.

Another student in attendance Nigel Sanders writes; “I went to see the performance organised by the OCA at Handel house. This featured Carla Rees from the OCA. We were privileged to spend time prior to the performance in a rehearsal session where Michael and Carla who both discussed their performances and compositions. We were then given an excellent tour of Handel house and spoke to the composer in residence about his current installation. We were then invited to see the performance of the music. The whole experience left me a really inspired to compose with a whole range of new ideas and ways of revisiting past works by great masters. In other words re interpreting them to the 21st-century. The whole experience lasted four and a half hours with a one hour concert. Thanks must go out to the OCA for such an excellent workshop.”

To find out more about music study visits please see the blog post here.

Posted by author: Joanne
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