Imaginative contemporary classical music will be composed and performed as part of a revolutionary new project led by Aberystwyth University.

CERDDWN will create a world-leading hub for musical experimentation and innovation in mid-Wales by connecting up-and-coming composers with orchestral musicians, allowing them to test out experimental concepts, and hone their music-making skills.

Funded by the Arts Council of Wales and Tŷ Cerdd, the project will give composers the opportunity to work closely with Aberystwyth orchestra Philomusica, and leading professional chamber orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru.

Aberystwyth University’s Director of Music, Iwan Teifion Davies, said: “This is a really exciting project which will cultivate some of the untapped talent that exists in Wales, and give an opportunity to those who may not normally have the chance to work with musicians.

“The project will break away from standard approaches to writing for the orchestra, by providing hands-on opportunities for composers to work with orchestras throughout every stage of the compositional process. This career-defining opportunity will give these emerging composers the space to experiment and evolve their work, test radically new and risky ideas - to fail, retry and improve.”

Harpist and composer, Mared Emlyn, is part of the project
Harpist and composer, Mared Emlyn, is part of the project (Picture supplied)

Following an open call, four emerging composers have been selected and awarded a bursary. Gerard Cousins, Heledd Evans, Michelle Maddock, and Kian Ravaei will experiment with the orchestras while receiving mentorship from an established composer.

In a second strand to the project, the four established composers providing mentoring are also being commissioned and supported to compose new works of their own.

Chamber compositions have been commissioned from Brazilian-born Cardiff-based musician and composer, Jefferson Lobo; harpist and composer, Mared Emlyn; and award-winning composer and conductor, Nathan James Dearden.

Composer and conductor, Nathan James Dearden
Composer and conductor, Nathan James Dearden (Picture supplied)

Finally, the project will commission a ground-breaking and substantial orchestral piece from Tredegar-born composer David John Roche, the world premiere of which will be performed by Philomusica.

Composition Co-ordinator, David John Roche said:

“The project is testament to the quality and ambition of arts organisations in Wales. CERDDWN will nurture new audiences, grow talent, and be a starting point for a new legacy of orchestral music in Wales.”