Press Release: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation announces first Composer-in-Residence
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation announces Mary Hampton as the first ever Composer-in-Residence at the College. Throughout the year, Hampton will be curating Salon Imaginaire, a series of seven concerts at the College.
Hampton, a composer, lyricist, musician and singer, will be deferring her studies at West Dean for two years to pursue this opportunity.
Speaking about the Composer-in-Residence opportunity, Hampton says "I'm honoured to have been selected the first ever Composer-in-Residence at West Dean College and I'm looking forward to developing new work in response to the College's vibrant cultural heart."
Hampton's first performance as West Dean's Composer-in-Residence will be at Salon Imaginaire #1 on the 12th of October. The live concert, the first in a series of seven, will be held in West Dean's historic wood panelled Oak Hall and features performances by four mesmerising musicians and composers. The event is supported by the PRS Foundation and will be introduced by Matthew Scott - former Head of Music at the National Theatre.
Hampton says: "I am especially looking forward to curating the Salon Imaginaire series. It's a unique chance to draw on Edward James's cultural legacy; his enthusiasm for bringing together experimental approaches and facilitating collaborations, and a great opportunity to trace the ongoing journey of Surrealist ideas through the work of music-makers at work today. Salon Imaginaire is a fresh space for collaboration and performance from some of the most talented and interesting acts operating on the UK music scene and I can't wait to be involved."
Described by The Times as "…very unusual, and proof that if you want to make art, you just have to ignore debilitating forces and get on with it", Hampton's own practise is grounded in folk song and turn-of-the-century chamber music traditions. She sets these influences alongside her own compositions to draw out the dynamic tensions between the past and the present, and the ordinary and extraordinary.
Hampton was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composition in 2017 which recognises the talent, tenacity and achievement of artists and musicians by providing three years of funding to support their practise. The award has allowed her to undertake this significant opportunity at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation.
The College's inaugural Composer-in-Residence programme provides musicians with the opportunity to research, reflect and experiment in order to develop the possibilities of their own practice. The Composer-in-Residence will enrich the learning environment for the College's arts and conservation students.