Perihelion / Aphelion

Members of the LPO and Foyle Future Firsts, conducted by Sir James MacMillan.

I have been working on a new orchestral piece, Aphelion, for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Composers’ Hub. It is one of two pieces that take the idea of orbits as their inspiration (the second is Perihelion for the LPO Young Composers’ Programme).
The Aphelion is the point of an orbit furthest from the sun; the Perihelion (alas, not a deliciously spicy chicken dish) is the point closest. Both have similar material but one explores the ‘dark side’ and the other the light.

The RSNO did a fantastic job last month of workshopping Aphelion, led magnificently by conductor Hollie Mathieson. I was really pleased they were so open and engaged wholeheartedly with some of the more unusual challenges the piece presented. There were other excellent pieces by my colleagues, Anna Appleby, Nick Morrish Rarity, Michael Cryne and Daniel Figols-Cuevas.

It was rather surreal to have both Stuart MacRae and Sir James Macmillan listening on. When I was growing up these were two composers that I looked up to, though not really in the belief that I could emulate them as their CDs and performances seemed so distant to me.

Nevertheless, I suppose subconsciously there was no barrier to my thinking there was a possibility of being a (Scottish) composer with these role models – an important point when thinking about less-represented-people’s aspirations.

It was a real pleasure getting to know the artistic and administrative side of the RSNO’s operations over the last year and I hope to keep in touch with the orchestra.

Now, to find someone who might be willing to give Aphelion a full performance…

Originally posted
Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Return to ntsmusic.

Published by N.T. Smith

Composer + Researcher

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