Meet the LPO Young Composers

Four unpublished composers are chosen each year to take part in the LPO Young Composers programme.

LPO Young Composers 2016/17

Stef Conner

Royal Philharmonic Society Prize-winning composer and singer Stef Conner (b. 1983) draws on ancient poetry and traditional song in creating contemporary music infused with sounds from the distant past. She graduated with a starred first in music from the University of York in 2005, before joining the Mercury Prize-nominated Northumbrian folk band The Unthanks, and performing at such venues as the Barbican, Covent Garden, Glastonbury, Womad and the BBC Folk Awards, and supporting artists like Adele, Ben Folds and Billy Bragg. The group’s raw yet delicate approach to musical storytelling made a deep impact on her style.

In 2009, she returned to York to complete a PhD in composition with Bill Brooks, developing creative responses to questions concerning the relationship between music and language. Performers of her work include the Esoterics, the Renaissance Singers, Queens’ College Choir, Dark Inventions, the Kreutzer Quartet, The Ligeti Quartet, The Dr K Sextet, Juice, John Potter, the Nieuw Ensemble and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Two of her pieces premiered at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and she has received performances in York Minster, Waltham Abbey, the Royal Festival Hall, Peterborough Cathedral, Queen's College (Cambridge), and Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, as well as numerous broadcasts on BBC radio.

She was fortunate to be the first Composer in Residence with Streetwise Opera, a charity that uses music to help homeless people make positive changes in their lives, and her debut opera with the organisation premiered at Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival in 2015. In 2014, she was named, in the ‘Music-Makers’ category, as one of the Evening Standard’s ‘1000 Most Influential Londoners’. She currently performs with The Lyre Ensemble, whose independent debut CD ‘The Flood’ received well over a million online listens after its release in December 2014, with performances on BBC Radio 2 and 3. She is looking forward to starting a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Huddersfield in January, in which she will be attempting to ‘recompose’ ancient Mesopotamian music.

Discover Stef's work at stefconner.com

Nathan Dearden

Welsh-born composer and conductor Nathan James Dearden (born 1992) is currently a Postgraduate Research Scholar at Royal Holloway University of London under the supervision of Mark Bowden and Helen Grime. Notable performances include riffs for piano trio at The Boilerhouse, London (Fidelio Trio), 24. Juni. Hamburg., supported by Help Musicians UK (Carla Rees), ecstasy swept over me at Dartington International Summer Festival, supported by The Hinrichsen Foundation (The Heath Quartet),  blind bells, cry out: drones and chorus for eight instruments at Royal Holloway University of London (CHROMA; Mark Bowden) and hafan: diptych for orchestra at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre (BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Jac van Steen). Nathan was also an inaugural Young Composer-in-Residence with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales in 2013.

Currently the Performance Manager at Royal Holloway Department of Music and Conductor of the New Music Collective, Nathan has also recently been awarded an Early Career Public Engagement Grant from the Institute of Musical Research

Listen to Nathan’s work at soundcloud.com/nathan-james-dearden

Yvonne Eccles

Yvonne Eccles (b.1983) was born and raised in rural Lancashire and is now based in London. A composer who has studied across the country, from her undergraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the University of Bristol (with first-class honours), and the University of Manchester for her Masters degree, where she is currently in the final stages of PhD study with Kevin Malone. Her research has led to many commissions including for the Belgian-based Quatuor Danel and contemporary ensemble Psappha. Last year she was chosen to compose a piece for the University’s First World War centenary commemoration.

Earlier this year Yvonne was selected to take part in a project directed by researchers at the University of Bristol, working with the Kokoro ensemble, resulting in Revelation. Around the same time she had her piece Relentless Continuum performed on BBC Radio 3 by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by a interview on Hear and Now as part of the North West New Music Festival 2016.

As well as a composer she is also passionate teacher of theory and composition theory and an examiner for Trinity.

Discover Yvonne’s work at yvonneeccles.com

Alex Paxton

Alex Paxton (1990) is a composer of chamber, orchestral and theatre music as well as music for children and opera. He holds First Class Honours degree from the Royal Academy of Music where studied composition and jazz trombone, and a Master of Music Composition with distinction from the Royal College of Music where he studied with full funding as the Ian Evans Lombe Scholar. Recent premiers include Bel and the Dragon as part of the Tête à Tête opera festival and For the Love of Thorstein Shiver commissioned by Helios Opera Collective.       

His writing has a wide range of influences including prose, visual arts, jazz and rhythmic music. Much of his work is interested in exploring the inherent musicality of written language in order to winnow away its semantic meaning and feast upon the fertile musical grist beneath.

Listen to Alex's work at alexpaxtonmusic.com