Making music at Phoenix School

This term we’re working with the fantastic students from Phoenix School, who for the first time, will be joining other students from Tower Hamlets Arts & Music Education Service (THAMES) for the Platform event this Summer. Rus Pearson has been working with the students and tells us more about his experience.

Phoenix School

As part of this year’s Summer Festival, members of the Spitalfields Music team led by Julian West, will be working collaboratively with seven music students and staff from Phoenix School to devise, compose and premiere a brand new 5 minute work in the THAMES Platform eventOne day like this…” at Shoreditch Church.

“Not only have the group discovered each other as musicians, but also as people.”

Many of the participants will be leaving Phoenix at the end of this academic year and our project aims to provide them with the opportunity to create a work that celebrates their experiences and to showcase their unique talents through a collaborative process of high quality music making alongside members of the musician team.

Student at Phoenix SchoolThe group is nearly halfway through the workshop process and has spent time exploring the rich array of musical and artistic interests that it represents. From classical music to grunge to beatboxing, Israeli folk songs to Jazz and Japanese contemporary music, these diverse musical genres have provided fascinating sources to draw upon when devising the piece.  Not only have the group discovered each other as musicians, but also as people. A really strong sense of community has emerged from the time spent together and Wednesday afternoons now feel like a group of old friends coming together to make music, there is an atmosphere of trust and certainly no shortage of laughter!

In order to devise the new work the group have being exploring various methods and techniques of music making including sound painting, improvisation, cryptography, conducting, electronic processing, sound art, representing sonically various atmospheres, locations and emotions through solo and group performances.

The group has amassed a huge amount of music that exists in various forms as either single ideas or concepts for improvisation, notated scores, lyrics and recorded material. Currently the ensemble are at the stage of orchestrating, editing and arranging all of this amazing musical material into a 5 minute work, in preparation for further rehearsals.

The project has created an atmosphere of exploration and experimentation, with the group discovering new sonic possibilities and the exchange of creative ideas. This is a really exciting point in the project as the work evolves and the group grows together to create a fantastic musical happening. This is a performance not to be missed. To find out more about the event, visit our website.

Tickets are free but booking is required – so don’t miss out on this Summer’s hot ticket!

The musician team:
Julian West – Workshop Leader, Oboe
Amelia Jones – Violin
Rus Pearson – Double Bass/Electronics
Alice Howick – Violin, Music Animateur Apprentice
Sally MacTaggart – Saxophone, Music Animateur Apprentice
with support  from Cathy Birch

Rus Pearson


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