Samuel Messer, composer

News & updates

15/11/2021 - Some pictures from Mixtur Festival. I left Barcelona exhausted, inspired and with a lot to think about.

Composer Sam Messer sits on the left, with Patrick, a composer from Ensemble Garage, standing to his right, playing the trombone.

An image of Gaudi's string model; a huge number of pieces of string are suspended, with flower-like paper templates hanging from them, in the image of an upside-down building.

A crowded lecture room at Mixtur Festival 2021, with composer Beat Furrer in the distance in front of a flipchart.1. READING SESSION, ENSEMBLE GARAGE; 2. STRING MODEL, ANTONIO GAUDI; 3. BEAT FURRER LECTURE, © ruvebal 2021

07/09/21 - Having sat on the news for a little while (the pandemic making it hard to plan anything with any certainty) I'm delighted to say that I'm travelling to Barcelona at the end of this month for the Mixtur Festival's 'Sound Experimentation' workshop series. In June I took a little time out from working on my main focus - a piece for Carla Rees' microtonal alto flute - to finish 'candle / rain-light', a short work for solo trombone, which will be navigating the various border-check & nasal-swab hurdles with me. I can't wait to travel to this beautiful city & sit in on what looks like a remarkable festival.

08/04/21 - I had a really hard time composing last year, but the first few months of this year have seen a few things coalesce: last month CHROMA Ensemble workshopped two, undertone (or five as aura), a piece for five performers inspired by the ambient sounds of empty rooms. It was unbelievably special to work with these fabulous players, and to hear music being made in real life again; like waking from a dream.

The project for the year is same forest, a substantial piece for solo alto flute & ensemble which has been in the pipeline since late 2019, undergoing a number of formal & material redevelopments in the process. I hope it will mark something of a crystallisation of my recent preoccupation with performer agency - in this piece the decisions of the soloist & others create delicate, far-reaching inflections in the form & character of the work.

01/05/20 - A bittersweet feeling at completing thanksong, an 8' work for small orchestra for Royal Northern Sinfonia - the performance of this has been shelved until further notice, though it seems the least of anyone's worries for now. Wishing all at Sage Gateshead & RNS the best for the future.

19/03/20 - On 12th March 2020, Royal Holloway's New Music Collective premiered a new work of mine, Three Phases for David Berman, in an event attached to CoMA's 2020 'Festival of Contemporary Music for All'. The piece marks my second engagement with the 'Open Score' format, the first being soliloquy, etc., a piece written for participants at the CoMA Summer School in 2013.