Harmonizing Talents: Six Emerging Composers Join ABRSM’s Prestigious Mentorship Program

Six of the most exciting emerging composers working in the UK today are to join the third edition of ABRSM’s landmark composer mentoring programme.

The six-month Writing for Music Education programme aims to demystify the process of writing for music education, encouraging composers from a broad range of backgrounds to write for exam syllabuses and a range of other educational contexts.

Composers joining the programme include Fraz Ireland, whose brass fanfare was recently performed in St Paul’s Cathedral; Jose Puello, a composer heavily influenced by Latin American music and culture; and Louise Drewett, who has been inspired by the experience of working with community choirs.

They are joined by YouTube host and multi award-winning composer Frederick Viner; Glasgow-based Kassia Bailey, who intertwines contemporary practice with historical styles and influences; and Lillie Harris, who unites her twin passions for text and music through composition of choral and vocal works.

Composers left to right are: Kassia Bailey, Fraz Ireland, Louise Drewett (image credit Chelsey Browne), Frederick Viner, Lillie Harris (image credit Sam Walton), Jose Puello.

ABRSM Partnerships Manager and composer, James Welburn, said: “It’s such a privilege to get alongside composers in the early stages of their careers and to explore with them the exciting opportunities that are out there for composers looking to write music in educational contexts.

“We’re delighted with the programme so far, which has contributed significantly to the rich diversity of music featured in our latest syllabuses and are looking forward to working with this new cohort of composers in what we hope will be a fun and jam-packed six months.”

This year’s cohort of six composers was selected with support from the Ivors Academy, Black Lives in Music and the Musicians’ Union and joins the third edition of the ABRSM scheme, which runs from this month to February.

Musicians taking part will receive dedicated mentoring from composer and educator Sarah Watts, as well as specialist input as they work through a series of compositional tasks, both with ABRSM and with a range of its partner organisations.

Composers Kristina Arakelyan and Shruthi Rajasekar from the 2021 cohort are featured in ABRSM’s latest Piano syllabus and the works of 2022 composer mentees Amit Anand, Florence Anna Maunders, Michael Betteridge and Natalie Bleicher appear in the latest Double Bass syllabus.