April 08, 2022

Young tunesmiths the focus of NYPBS Emerging Composers project

The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland is launching the second year of its “Emerging Composers: 20 Years Young” initiative, designed to develop tune-writing skills for music creators 18-25, as well as a special category dedicated to under-represented pipers who identify as a person of colour, disabled, woman, or LBGTQ+.

Successful applicants in the two categories will receive paid commissions for “creating exciting repertoire from new perspectives for pipe band.”

Each composer will receive funding to £2,000 and support from NYPBS staff and mentors from the piping community.

Applications are not limited to pipers; music creators from outside the close-knit piping world can also have the chance to compose for the NYPBS, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. The plan is for the band to learn and perform new works as part of its concert repertoire.

A total of five spots will be awarded, two for “experienced piping artists and/or alumni of the NYPBS program,” and three places for under-represented groups.

“The compositions will be artistically free to the composer’s interpretation,” said Steven Blake, director of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland. “One of our goals is to create space for new ideas and perspectives in the pipe band concert context. However, we plan on a very structured support for the composers where we will make sure they are informed to create music that is adventurous but also accessible to the NYPBS participants.”

“First drafts” of new pieces will be performed at the 2022 Piping Live! festival in August “with a bespoke band featuring professional musicians alongside our emerging composers and a project band of NYPBS players.”

“It’s our responsibility to explore new possibilities for pipe band concert repertoire and work out what the most effective way using our ensemble is in a concert hall setting.” – NYPBS Director Steven Blake

Applications are open now and will continue until May 5th. You can apply here.

“As a dedicated concert ensemble with artistic freedom beyond any competitive restraints, it’s our responsibility to explore new possibilities for pipe band concert repertoire and work out what the most effective way using our ensemble is in a concert hall setting,” Blake continued. “We should be putting in as much effort into this context as Grade 1 bands put into the outdoor competitive one.”

The NYPBS applied to Creative Scotland’s YMI Youth Arts Bursary and successfully gained funding for the initiative.

The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland doesn’t compete. It’s designed to put an accent on musical performance, creativity and camaraderie, and recently embarked on a campaign for applicants to audition for the group, which operates three separate regional national bands in Scotland.

Blake added: “Supporting this type of composition not only empowers young people by giving them a voice and ownership of the material, but also creates visibility for emerging artists by providing a platform for them to properly realize their ideas. Our New Horizons program is all about exploring both creative and social change. Opportunities like this encourage and facilitate both.”



National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland applications open
March 31, 2022





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