Being a NYJO Composer: An Interview with Charlie Bates

Are you a large ensemble composer keen to develop your skills and have your compositions performed by the UK’s leading young professional jazz orchestra?

Although all members of NYJO are encouraged to compose and arrange for the band if they wish to, last year we introduced an official NYJO Composer Chair to our Jazz Orchestra. We are currently accepting applications for new composers to join NYJO for our 2020 intake.

We spoke to our outgoing and inaugural Jazz Orchestra composer chairholder Charlie Bates about his experience over the past year as our resident composer:

 

 

What was it like being the first official NYJO Composer Chairholder?

It has been a really enjoyable and rewarding experience. It has given me the opportunity to hear NYJO playing my original compositions and arrangements, from which I have learnt loads about where I can improve as a writer.

 

What’s involved in being the composer for NYJO?

You have the opportunity to contribute your originals to the NYJO library, as well as being given particular arrangements to do for the singers in the band – which I have particularly enjoyed.

 

How did you decide what to write/arrange for the band this year?

I wanted to contribute some of my original pieces to the pad, so I focused on that in the first couple of months. Since then I have written a number of arrangements for the singers in the band, which we would discuss together beforehand.

 

What was it like hearing your composition(s) performed by NYJO?

I learnt a lot from it. Mark would let me lead the rehearsals of my pieces too which allowed me to really get the pieces sounding how I envisaged. It was nice to debut one of the pieces on the Three Nations Under One Groove tour earlier this year too.

 

What would you say for anyone interested in applying for the NYJO Composition Chair?

Do it! It’s so hard to get a big band together to play original music these days, so having NYJO is a mega opportunity for anyone who enjoys composing for jazz orchestra.

 

 

For more information about applying for our jazz orchestra as a composer, click here.

To have a read of our FAQ’s, click here.

Deadline for Applications: Monday 21 October, 10am

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