JANET OATES
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Richmond New Music Collective (RNMC)

Formed in 2014 by Janet with Rob Percy, the Richmond New Music Collective produces a yearly concert of newly written music, created for the professional performers who vary each year. We have worked with the Jubilee string quartet, Michael Regan and Tom Armstrong (composers); with Louise Fegredo and Nancy Johnson (oboes); TableMusic piano trio, Matthew Schellhorn (piano); the Durufle Trio, and Martin Pyne (percussion).

Duets from the Shed
Our project for 2021 sees Janet and Rob, with guest composer Dominic McGonigal, writing duets for student instrumentalists to play with their teachers.

Duets are immensely enjoyable to play – for the student, they can take the pressure off the learning of pieces and scales, and feel like playing ‘real’ music together, less exposed than solo or accompanied work. For the teacher, playing duets affords a chance to emphasise and develop different musical skills. Moreover, contemporary music, with its fascinating sound-worlds and unconventional techniques and notation, is not often available to students below advanced level. The RNMC decided to do something about this!

The first stage of the Duets from the Shed project saw us working with Tina Bowles and Hazel Correa, two wonderful violin teachers and performers. We discussed the need for the duets, and where there were gaps in the repertoire, for early and intermediate-stage students. We talked about how some ‘extended’ techniques were actually very accessible and fun for students to try! Each composer produced a set of short pieces, which were workshopped with the performers.

At the end of May 2021, these pieces will be introduced by the composers and performed by Hazel and Tina, in Tina’s home studio (the ‘shed’!). We hope to have these duets published and available for teachers to use.

The duets will also be adapted for viola and ‘cello, and a planned extension of the project will see new pieces written for lower grade strings, and for flute and trumpet students.

A short introductory video for the project can be found here.

Hazel Correa, violinist Tina Bowles, violinist

Composers in the ‘Duets from the Shed’ project:


November 2019: This event saw us working in the heart of the Richmond community, with our project Age/less, a multimedia evening on the theme of age and transformation. Using texts written by the Richmond U3A writing for pleasure group as a basis, and involving photography, dance, film and craft, the curated evening of words and music raised money for the Portcullis Trust, which gives support and bursaries to students with learning disabilities. The theatre at RHACC was full of an appreciative audience, including the writers and artists, and the event was such a success that the Collective is thinking of ways to take it to other venues. Thank you to all who came.

Live knitting projected during Rob's piece, which included fragments of text from all the writers, creating a mosaic of ideas.

This is the Collective all performing in our jointly-written piece, with the score shown on the screen. Here we are joined by Anne Warrington, who during the piece recited the wonderful poem 'My Two Daughters' by the late Bob Steed.

The final bows - the composers and their collaborators, with the U3A writers.

The line-up of composers for 2019 was:

©2021 Janet Oates. All rights reserved.

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