Middlesex University: Orchestra in Residence

Since 2013 London Firebird Orchestra has been Orchestra in Residence at Middlesex University. This partnership enables the Orchestra to perform in a range of concerts and workshops each year.

There is a large-scale, annual concert at which the Orchestra accompanies soloists from the University Music Department and the University Chorus. Compositions by the University’s composers are explored in orchestral workshops and also in smaller, chamber-sized workshops involving players from the Orchestra. There is also a conducting masterclass given by one of Firebird’s conductors, and chamber ensembles comprising Firebird players perform at University events.

Residency Project 2019

The composition workshop is the first stage of the Middlesex University Chamber Orchestra Composition Prize. This annual event is a key part of the Firebird Orchestra’s residency at Middlesex University.

The second stage is a performance of the winning piece (chosen by Middlesex staff and Firebird personnel) at the annual Spring showcase concert at St Pancras Church, which is accompanied by London Firebird Orchestra.

For Middlesex University student composers, this represents an invaluable opportunity to hear their pieces workshopped. For the winner there is the added bonus of a public performance by a professional chamber orchestra. This is a rare offer for undergraduate students within UK university music departments.

The 2019 project took the form of a student composition workshop which centred around new works for chamber-orchestra compositions with Firebird’s Michael Thrift.

Working in partnership with

Middlesex University

This culminated in the annual SPRING CONCERT on 28 March with the , London Firebird Orchestra, Middlesex University Choir and Michael Thrift and Jonathan Rathbone as conductors.

The programme included performances of choral music by Monteverdi, Handel and Fauré along with concerto movements (with student soloists) by Alkan, Piston and Séjourné. The concert also featured the premiere of the winning piece from the Middlesex University/Firebird Orchestra Composition Prize.

Meet the composers

We take a look back at the composers from the 2018 project and learn a bit more about their work.

Vivaswath Rao
(BA Music, Third Year)

Vivaswath is an opera singer, Hindustani classical vocalist and composer from Mumbai, India. He is currently in his final year of undergraduate study as a performer and composer at Middlesex University, having previously studied at KM Music Conservatory, Chennai.

Clara Fiedler
(BA Music, Second Year)
The Passage

Originally from Germany, Clara worked in music management and journalism before moving to the UK in 2015 to begin her studies at Middlesex University. She is involved with various choirs and ensembles, as a chorister and soloist, and also works in music education for people with learning disabilities.

Bernardo Gonçalves
(BA Music, Second Year)

Bernardo completed a music production degree in Lisbon before moving to London to continue his studies at Middlesex University. His interest in music and the arts is wide-ranging, but his main focus is composition. He has written soundtracks for films and short cues and, after graduating, plans to enter the film industry as a composer.

Sukanyan Sunthareswaran
(BA Music, Third Year)
A Wicked Love Song

Originally from Sri Lanka, Sukanyan studied at KM Music Conservatory, Chennai, before entering directly into the third year of Middlesex University’s BA Music degree course. He is an active composer, writing music for films, television commercials, documentaries and mobile apps, and in 2015 was shortlisted for Nokia’s ‘Sounds of the World’ ringtone project.