As part of Contemporary Music for All (CoMA) Festival 2020, Devon Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO) will be collaborating with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) to put on an immersive concert of new music. The concert will take place across the whole museum, comprising solos, chamber groups and large ensembles performing to bring historic artefacts alive with music. In addition, excerpts will be presented at RAMM's "Lates" and at workshop events for family audiences.


DPO is offering an exciting opportunity for 4 emerging composers (current students or those who have graduated from their formal studies within the last 3 years) the opportunity to write 5-minute pieces for small ensemble (exact instrumentation is open to discussion). Specifically, the musicians will be members of the Devon Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus which is a high calibre amateur ensemble. The compositions must relate in some way to the artefacts in the museum. For example, a composition might take inspiration from one of the fossils on display and therefore the piece will be performed next to the artefact in question.


Each composer will receive a £125 bursary which includes the printing of all performance materials and the composers’ attendance at the final rehearsal and premiere on 7th March 2020. As part of the bursary, composers will receive two one-hour sessions with DPO’s Music Director and award-winning composer Leo Geyer. Composers will also receive a professional audio recording of their work which will also be used for RAMM’s archive and learning and participation programmes. New compositions will also be considered for CoMA’s library catalogue http://www.coma.org/catalogue/

The schedule will be as follows:


6th January 2020 – Deadline for Applications

13th January 2020 – Commissioned composers announced

14th - 31st January 2020 – 1st session with Leo Geyer to take place in either Exeter, Oxford or London

1st – 16th February 2020 – 2nd session with Leo Geyer to take place in either Exeter, Oxford or London

17th February 2020 – Performance materials delivered

23rd February 2020 – Rehearsals commence

7th March – Premiere performance

DATE TBC – RAMM “Lates” event

2nd April – Family Event


Pieces will be performed in each of the museum’s galleries. Examples of objects in each of the galleries are given below. This list is not exhaustive.

Gallery: Down to Earth - Geology

Examples of objects on display:

  • Formation of Devon

  • Fossils (including ichthyosaur)

  • Display of hand axes used by prehistoric people

Gallery: Making History – history of Exeter and Devon

Examples of objects on display:

  • Seaton Down Hoard – buried hoard of coins from across the world

  • Medieval Puzzle Jug – poking fun at the clergy

  • Grandfather clocks


Gallery: Case Histories – iconic RAMM objects

Examples of objects on display:

  • Gerald the Giraffe

  • Harpsichord

  • Elephant

  • Tiger

Gallery: Finders Keepers

Examples of objects on display:

  • Chinese gown

Gallery: World Cultures

Examples of objects on display:

  • ​Tahitian mourner’s costume

  • African masks

  • African beadwork

  • Statue of Ganesh

  • Samurai armour

  • Totem pole

Gallery: Egyptian tomb

Examples of objects on display:

  • Egyptian mummy

Gallery: Sladen’s Study

Examples of objects on display:

  • Starfish and sea urchins

Gallery: In Fine Feather

Examples of objects on display:

  • Birds from around the world

Gallery: Fly on the Wall

Examples of objects on display:

  • Insects from around the world

To apply composers must submit the following;

  • CV

  • A proposed idea for the composition, including how it will relate to the objects on display in the museum. Applicants are advised to either visit RAMM or look at the museum’s website https://www.rammuseum.org.uk/collections/. Please note that not all the objects in the museum’s collections are on display, and composers should select from those which are on display. Applicants should stipulate what ensemble they would like to write for, comprising of 5 – 15 musicians from any combination of instrumental and choral forces that can be found in a large symphony orchestra and chorus. Alternatively, composers can write for flexible open-score. Proposals with modest electronic components will also be accepted.   

  • A portfolio of two score of works with accompanying recordings (computerised is acceptable). Applicants are requested to submit at least one work for amateur or student musicians so that playability can be assessed.

Please send applications to: devonphilorchestra@gmail.com

© Copyright 2019 Devon Philharmonic Society 

Registered Charity No. 1064282




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