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Pupils tune up for Music Prize with sounds of Bali
April 25th, 2007

Aberdeen school pupils drummed up interest in the Aberdeen Music Prize today by getting a taste of the sounds of Bali.

Youngsters from Dyce Academy banged on the bronze gongs, chimes and double-headed drums of the University of Aberdeen’s Balinese Gamelan – a unique orchestral ensemble that is one of only four in the UK.

Learning how to compose on the Gamelan is part of a series of Voyage of Discovery workshops taking place on Saturday as part of the packed Aberdeen Music Prize weekend (April 26-29). Other sessions will offer primary and secondary pupils the chance to try out Steel Pans, manipulate everyday sounds to make music, and learn to sing using the Kodaly method.

“The Gamelan is a fantastic ensemble to compose music on,” said Dr Paul Mealor, Director of the Music Prize and overseer of the Gamelan workshop. “It offers young people interested in music to get to grips with the wonderful sounds of Bali while experiencing a different, but terrifically enjoyable approach to music-making.

“The other workshops are just as interesting,” added Dr Mealor, “but more importantly, they’re also guaranteed to be great fun for anyone thinking of coming along on Saturday.”

The Music Prize weekend, which is run by the University of Aberdeen in association with the BBC, kicks off on Thursday with the AIYF Compose Concert featuring the Hebrides Ensemble. Friday sees the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra take to the stage of the Music Hall, while Sunday features the twin highlights of the Judith Weir Composer Portrait at King’s College Chapel and the centrepiece of the weekend, The Aberdeen Prize Gala Concert at Cowdray Hall.

Hundreds of composers from around the world submitted compositions for the Aberdeen Prize – but only five will have their work performed by members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the Gala Concert on Sunday night in front of a live audience. Judges John Casken and Judith Weir – two of the UK’s most highly distinguished composers – will announce the winner of the Aberdeen Prize. The successful composer will be awarded £5,000 in the form of a commission to write a full piece for orchestra to be premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Dr Mealor said, ”This is truly going to be a wonderful, engaging and enriching weekend of music-making, and a real opportunity to see how musical composition is put together and see inside the composer’s head!

“The fun-packed Gala concert will showcase the very best in composition from the finest young composers working anywhere in the world. And we are especially excited to welcome Judith Weir – born in Aberdeen and one of the world’s leading composers – to judge our music prize.”

Tickets are still available for many of the Music Prize weekend events, including the Voyage of Discovery workshops. To book, or for more information on the full programme visit www.abdn.ac.uk/musicprize. Alternatively call Karen Weiniger on 01224 273874 or email aberdeenmusicprize @ abdn.ac.uk

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