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Judith Weir in conversation - Tuesday 28 April 2015


Judith Weir and The Sloop Group at NCEM on 28 April 2015

The Sloop Group at work with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Autumn 2014
On Tuesday 28th April, we warmly welcomed Judith Weir CBE, distinguished composer and Master of the Queen's Music, to the National Centre for Early Music to inspire a new generation of musicians, through workshops and discussions.

During the afternoon, Judith was joined by young people from Castaway Music Theatre, a Goole-based arts organisation that provides music theatre opportunities for adults and young people with learning and physical disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions. Castaway's youth music ensemble, The Sloop Group, supports young people aged 10-25 in developing instrumental, vocal, composition and performance skills. These young musicians have recently been composing solo pieces and have also been studying and developing creative responses to Judith's music. The Sloop Group shared and received feedback on their creative work and also took the opportunity to ask Judith about her writing and life as a professional composer.

Ensemble member, Ellie, described the experience as "Quite brilliant really! And something we didn't get to do before - to talk about composing and ask questions and have Judith answer them for us". Another Sloop Group member, Luke, found the opportunity "Fun. A good day. It was great to see someone we didn't know listen to our music and talk to us as musicians". Castaway Music Theatre founder and director, Jo Glover, also commented that "It was inspirational and very moving to see Castaway Sloop Group young musicians share and talk about their music with 'the Queen's composer'. They have a lot of questions about composing and it was wonderfully encouraging for then to benefit from Judith Weir's listening and insightful comments."

In the evening, members of the public and students from the University of York and York St John University were invited to hear Judith speak in an informal discussion with Roger Marsh, covering her life in music and the role of the composer today, including an emphasis on the importance of high-quality music education.  The hour-long conversation was followed by a vibrant question and answer session.

This event was run association with The University of York.