Radiotip: Charlotte Bray

Op de website van de in 1982 geboren Engelse componiste Charlotte Bray lezen we een complimenteus citaat: She began composing only eight years ago, when 21 years old, but has already bagged an impressive series of commissions and emerged as one of the outstanding composing talents of her generation.” Terecht? Op zondagavond 22 juli horen we een werk van Bray in het Avondconcert op Radio 4. Oordeelt u zelf!

De nog jonge Charlotte Bray heeft zich al bewezen als een zeer opmerkelijk talent: opdrachten van het Verbier Festival, een nieuw werk tijdens de BBC Proms, en de liederencyclus Verre de Venise tijdens het West Cork Festival (te horen op 22 juli op Radio 4) zijn daarvan enkele bepaald niet stille getuigen. Bray studeerde bij Joe Cutler in Birmingham, deed haar Master bij Mark Anthony Turnage aan het Royal College of Music, studeerde in Tanglewood, won inmiddels talloze prijzen, en haar werk wordt inmiddels tijdens festivals en in concerten in heel Europa uitgevoerd. Begin augustus gaat een opera in première tijdens het Tête à Tête Opera Festival in Londen. Een eerste CD met louter werken van Charlotte Bray is in de maak. Op haar blog schrijft ze:

I began composing in 2003, when I was 21 years old. And this happening was pure chance…

As a cellist I went to study at Birmingham Conservatoire. As part of the undergraduate course in my second year at the Conservatoire, we were asked to compose. I spun the piece by my flat-mate at the time who was a composer. He commented that it was “really quite good”. I pondered over how much I had enjoyed composing this little piece – more than I had enjoyed practicing in the past 6 months put together! 24 hours later I was in a meeting with the head of composition and had decided to change course. The process took a couple of months but the decision really did happen overnight. But that was it: the fixation had begun. Call it intuition, fate perhaps – whatever it was I’m thankful every day that it happened.

For the first 18 months my tastes remained very conservative. Then in 2005 I attended a concert that changed everything. The CBSO were performing a programme of 20th-century English music: Elgar, Britten, and Turnage. I was totally dumbfounded to hear ‘Three Screaming Popes’, written by the man who a little over a year later I would be studying with. Things suddenly dropped into place for me. I felt the vigor and individuality of Mark’s music, the potency and raw energy he creates. At that moment I realised exactly what contemporary music could be and how it can affect you.

In the space of three years, I went from writing my first composition when I knew nothing about contemporary music, to studying fully funded at the Royal College of Music under the man who had changed my view of being a composer forever.