ROSL launched its brand new Composition Award in March and despite the upheaval the world has seen since, our period of enforced isolation could prove creatively rewarding for entrants. Composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad, one of the judges for the award, discusses where she gets her inspiration from and the importance of nurturing young talent.
As I sit down to write this article, about a week after the UK went into lockdown as a result of COVID-19, I am just starting to get some semblance of a concentrated work routine back. I am in an exceptionally lucky position: I have work to be getting on with over the next few months, I am used to working at home for long stretches by myself, and I am in good physical health. But, like many others who work in the arts, I’ve found it very hard to be creative recently: despite best intentions, I’ve found myself glued to the news channel, caught up in alternative waves of despair at the tragedy unfolding in front of my eyes, and determination to use time productively and for creative good.
For those of us lucky enough to not be directly affected by the virus, there is ample time to reflect. Why compose at all? What are the conditions that you really need in order to be at your most productive, and does it matter what inspires you? I am sure, in the coming year, we’ll see a range of artistic reactions to this global pandemic: some artists will engage directly with what has happened, others will steer clear of writing music that is ‘about’ anything.