A leading Scottish new music organisation is banging the drum for fair access for composers. Aberdeen-based sound, which runs the award-winning soundfestival, is one of the first eight organisations from across the UK to have signed up to Sound and Music’s Fair Access principles which aim to make sure all composers have an equal opportunity to benefit from commissions, development opportunities and performances.
Two years ago soundfestival had a major focus on female composers which highlighted the historic inequalities in commissions from male and female composers, and since then they have annually commissioned more than 50% of new works from female composers. Last year they co-organised with composer Ben Lunn a get-together of composers on the autism spectrum including Joe Stollery who has collaborated with sound on a number of projects. The 2020 soundfestival will build on this event raising the profile of disabled composers and the particular struggles they have in getting full access to commissions and performances. The festival will showcase new compositions commissioned from talented disabled composers including Ben Lunn, Rylan Gleave, Amble Skuse and Siobhan Dyson and has applied for funding to organise a Conference bringing together disabled composers and new music promoters.
“Historically there have been serious inequalities in the commissioning of new works, and in both the way development opportunities are devised and in their selection processes,” says Fiona Robertson, Director of sound. “This is something that we are committed to addressing both through both our year-round activities and our annual festival of new music,”.
“As we were already in the process of embedding fair access in both commissions and development opportunities, we are delighted to be one of the first organisations to support this important initiative by Sound and Music.”
“The industry is currently not built for disabled people - be it as performer or composer - despite having a history of disabled composers like Holst, Beethoven, Smetana, or arguably Satie,” says Ben Lunn, who is himself autistic.
“It’s important to Sound and Music that the composer’s voice is central to everything we do. We believe that by setting out these Fair Access Principles we can work to ensure that all composers have an equal chance to participate in opportunities and to have their voices heard,” says Hannah Bujic – Co-Head of Artist Development at Sound and Music:
The first eight organisations to have signed up to Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles are: Drake Music Scotland, Opera North, Sage Gateshead, soundfestival, Tŷ Cerdd, Snape Maltings and PRS Foundation and Unlimited.
Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles can be found here:
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