Composition Concert & Masterclass with Jeffery Wilson

Date Posted: Thursday 01 June 2023

On 25 May 2023, notable musician and Teacher of Music at New Hall Jeffery Wilson  led a masterclass and concert for Year 9 student saxophone players. The young musicians were encouraged to compose and showcase their creative and original pieces, giving them a whole new sense of confidence in both their instrument and musical ambition. Mr Wilson has a profound and extensive background in professional music composition and performing, having had residencies across Europe with the likes of Jazz Composers Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; he has even written dance scores for the Royal Ballet School, as well as musicals, including one Opera, The Way to Glory. Mr Wilson has always advocated musical education and has served on many advisory bodies, such as the Music Education Council and Incorporated Society of Musicians; not to mention having been a lecturer, examiner and mentor throughout the years. It was an honour to have such a heavyweight of musical society join us at New Hall and our students were delighted to receive both the praise and invaluable advice he had to offer.

Read what Mr Wilson wrote about his masterclass:

“Three New Hall students put their creativity to the test in the writing of new music for Saxophone and Piano.

The performers are creative artists themselves and so were able to offer some insights into the world of musical composition. Issues such as notation, intention and idiomatic instrumental writing were covered. Mr Christopher Weston (a New Hall piano teacher) and I had great fun rehearsing and then presenting this new music and our audience in the Chapel were generously forthcoming in their own thoughts on the effects of the world premieres.

Isabella P was first up with her music for Soprano Sax and Piano which was a fluent and jazz inspired Waltz allowing for some improvisation from the performers. Isabella really understood the style and was confident in her creative decisions when questioned about the tricky subject of transposition. Bravo, Isabella!

Harry W offered a piece for Alto Sax and Piano called Autumn Jazz which was both idiomatic and had a melodic/rhythmic ‘hook’ that stays in the mind long after hearing. Mr Turner suggested that the music had some media relevance such was the attractive nature of the melody.

Yohji L was generous enough to offer two pieces of widely differing content and musical language. His swinging piece Happy Time was both immediate and quirky, bringing a smile to the listeners present. His more challenging music called Crush was an exercise in tonal freedom and dramatic gestures that even tripped up the performers in terms of the geography of the music. Order was restored after consultation with the composer.

My own music Arioso followed to reveal a simple enough melody and accompaniment approach that allows for the vocal qualities of the Saxophone to shine forth. Mr Weston’s recent publication Impressions was also featured with two contrasted pieces that currently sit on the Trinity College London music grade syllabus.

Perhaps one day some original music from New Hall composers will grace the graded music examination world. After this workshop I feel this is a distinct possibility.”