Composers hail Wild Plum Songbook workshop success

The new scheme offers women composers career development and commissioning opportunities, with the initial workshop producing a new commission for Lisa Robertson.

Wild Plum Songbook was created in partnership with PRS for Music, Wild Plum Arts and Cheltenham Music Festival and the inaugural work shop took place at the PRS Kings Cross offices from 8 to 9 March.

The selected composers for the initiative are Ella Jarman-Pinto, Janet Oates, Kate Marlais, Lisa Robertson, Rose Miranda Hall and Sarah Lianne Lewis and their works were workshopped by mezzo-soprano Rachael Lloyd and pianist Lana Bode, receiving feedback from mentor composers Errollyn Wallen and Joanna Lee.

The composers took their cue from from texts by Dr Julie Carter, Kim Addonizio, Lila Palmer and an 8th-century Irish Gaelic poem, translated by Lady Augusta Gregory, as well as their own words.

The days also featured workshops including, Promotion, Networking and Goal Setting with vocal coach Lucy Heyman, Managing Rights and Royalties with Harriet Wybor, PRS for Music, Funding with Tina Speed, PRS Foundation, and Recording New Music, with Anne Rushton, NMC Recordings.

Following the workshops Wild Plum Arts and Cheltenham Music Festival have co-commissioned Lisa Robertson’s work Speak Up for the Wild Plum Songbook, which will be premiered by Lucy Schaufer and Huw Watkins at Cheltenham Music Festival’s Composium on 10 July 2019.

The work will also form part of Wild Plum Art’s All About the Women season, which will also feature commissions by Zoë Martlew and Emma Ruth-Richards.

Wild Plum Songbook composer Ella Jarman-Pinto said of the workshops: ‘At the moment my baby’s only just starting on solids, I can’t really leave her at home. It meant a lot that I went to PRS and said, “thank you for selecting me, but I need to bring my child,” and PRS didn’t bat an eye.

‘To raise the profile of female composers you need to put things in place to allow us to do that. And this was a fantastic way to enable me to take part.’

Watch a trailer for the workshops below.