Angela Elizabeth Slater is a UK-based composer, Illuminate Women’s Music Director and Professor of Composition at London Performing Academy of Music, having previously taught at Cardiff University. She has an interest in musically mapping different aspects of the natural world into the fabric of her music.
Recent significant achievements include being selected for the RPS Composer programme for 2021-22, 2020-22 Tanglewood Composition Fellow, and a 2017-18 Britten-Pears Young Artist through which Angela worked with Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews and Michael Gandolfi, developing Soaring in Stasis which received its premiere at 2018 Aldeburgh Festival. Her work Eye o da hurricane (for string quartet), was shortlisted in the British category ISCM world music days in 2017. Angela was the New England Philharmonic’s 2018 call for scores winner resulting in the world-premiere of her orchestral work Roil in Stillness in April 2019. Angela also became the 2018 Young Composer of the Year for the London Firebird Orchestra, leading to a new work, Twilight Inversions, which received its world-premiere on 11th June 2019. Angela was the 2019 Mendelssohn Scholar resulting in her furthering her studies with Michael Gandolfi at NEC in 2019.
In 2019 Angela had further exciting performances including New-York based Hildegard National Sawdust ensemble performing Shades of Rain for piano trio, followed by a world-premiere of her work Of Spheres by the Semiosis quartet as part of the IAWM conference at Berklee College of Music (Boston). Angela has also recently attended the prestigious Choreographer-Composer Lab at Phoenix Dance Theatre with the intention of furthering her artistic ambition and collaborative practices with other artforms. In 2021 she wrote a new work called Beyond Yourself for Orkest de erepri as part of Young Composer’s Meeting in Apeldoorn, two new works for Royal Scottish National Orchestra, alongside six new solo works for the Connected skies project funded by Arts Council England. Across summer 2021 she has written new works and had performances at JAM, SCBA, INMF and Fresh Squeezed Opera.
Looking ahead to 2021-22, Angela is looking forward to the performance of her piano concerto Tautening skies supported by PRSF and Ambache Charitable Foundation. She will also be developing a new accordion concerto working with accordionist Kamila Olas through Arts Council England’s DYCP fund, and composing new works for the RPS Composers programme and LPO Young Composers scheme 2021/22.
Eye o da hurricane for string quartet (2017)
This work was written for the Magnus Festival in Orkney and was subsequently nominated for the ISCM World Music Days in 2017. The piece takes inspiration and imagery from Christian Tait’s poem ‘Fae da Journal o a Crofter’s Wife’. Listen to ‘Eye o da hurricane’ performed below by LSO players at LSO ST Luke’s.
The Louder the Birds Sing (2021)
The Louder the Birds Sing was written for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and explores the themes of strength and fragility. It is a reflection of the emotional turmoil that the pandemic has provoked and how it has exposed both our strength and fragility. The title refers to the phenomenon people observed during lockdown where the birds seemed to be singing louder. This was, in fact, more to do with our own noise pollution being hugely reduced than the birds changing volume. The piece is inspired by an original poem by the composer.
Connected Skies – six solo works (2020-21)
Connected Skies: Solo Series Challenge was an Arts Council England funded projected in which Slater set out to write six new works for double bass, cello, flute, accordion, percussion and mezzo soprano between October 2020-May 2021. All the pieces are reflective of the difficult times of 2020, drawing on her own poems. The solo pieces work almost as a song cycle with themes and musical material being re-presented and referenced in the later works of the series.
Watch the first work in the series, The Aching Space, written for double bassist Maggie Cox.
Ways of Looking at a Blackbird for soprano and string quartet (2019)
Ways of Looking at a Blackbird sets a selection of Wallace Stevens’ haikus from Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. The set is permeated by references to the musical contours and gestures of the Blackbird song. Three Minds makes particular reference to blackbird song, with references to three different types of call – the song, alarm and flight calls – musically referencing the imagery of three minds and three blackbirds from the poem.
My composing journey started through writing small piano pieces and songs in my teenage years. I later developed an interest in the possible dialogues between science, visual arts, dance and politics, and the ways these can be expressed musically. My work regularly explores these and engages with the natural world, musically mapping specific concepts and phenomena as a key part of my artistic expression. These help to shape the architecture of my pieces, informing contours of gesture, melody, rhythm, harmony, and colour. Timbre is also a hugely important aspect in my work as an expressive extension of a musical line, a way of shifting the colour and bringing a new insight to the material.Angela Elizabeth Slater
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