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Commentary on a portfolio of original compositions.

Lane, Liz. 2009. Commentary on a portfolio of original compositions. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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I had considered the possibility of studying for a PhD for many years, but never seriously thought it could be a reality until a chance meeting with Professor Anthony Powers on a train to London, who mentioned that I might be interested in the new PhD in Composition at Cardiff University. Anthony was one of my composition tutors when I was an undergraduate and along with Professor Stephen Walsh, had encouraged my work as a composer at a time when I was unsure if this was the direction I wanted to take. Since graduating, I had established a professional music career but after thirteen years, felt I lacked focus and direction; I had also kept in touch with both Anthony and Stephen and it was these reasons, amongst others, that led to my decision to undertake the course. I am very grateful to Cardiff University School of Music for giving me a scholarship to enable me to pursue my studies without financial burden and for believing in me as a composer. The wealth of experiences during my period of study has been extensive, ranging from performance opportunities, workshops, concerts (many featuring twentieth and twenty-first century music), seminars and lectures, to being part of a lively and vibrant postgraduate community, all of which I have greatly valued. I am also indebted to Professor Anthony Powers, for his help and encouragement and to Professor Stephen Walsh and Professor Judith Weir, who kindly gave up their time to look over this Commentary. Writing about my music has been one of the greatest challenges of this PhD. Whereas composing music is a skill I have developed over several decades and studying for a PhD in Composition has, in some respects, been a continuation of this, analysing my approach to composing music and the music itself has been a new, and surprisingly rewarding, experience. Being first and foremost a composer who writes intuitively with little recourse to planning, at first I wondered how I would gather together enough information to write about my music, let alone articulate this in an appropriate way. However, I found that, after a while, I had not only amassed more written material than I needed but that the exercise was both enlightening and beneficial, giving me an interesting perspective on how and why I approached certain aspects of composing. The instinctive approach to my work has changed during the last few years. Looking back I see a gradual progression, both stylistically and visually, of the music I have written, and this is not just because I have become more aware of the mechanisms which drive the creative process but because I have taken on board a wealth of musical experiences and applied these to my composing, teaching me to question what I write and to find new and different ways of achieving sounds which I would not have previously considered. In this way, and many others, my PhD studies have provided a platform both academically and practically which has initiated, and continues to initiate, professional opportunities, both as a composer and within the academic community. Not only have I accrued an extensive collection of music which I can offer for performance but the music itself is often eclectic. Most recently, the list of works and soundclips on my website has attracted a commission and several proposed performances, both in this country and America. I have always known that a composer's life is seldom straightforward and never predictable, hardly ever financially rewarding in itself. Sometimes I question what it is that makes me want to continue writing music in a tough and competitive profession. However, the opportunity over the last few years (and perhaps in many ways, the luxury) of being able to write music intensively, study that of others and learn from a wide variety of sources within a supportive environment has been invaluable and it is this, which, together with my own underlying personal motivation, has given me the further skills to continue with and develop my future career as a composer.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study
ISBN: 9781303189586
Funders: Cardiff University School of Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:29

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