We are getting there. Slowly. Reading Phoenix Choir have recently started rehearsing together again in person, albeit outside.

We have sadly been unable to perform any concerts this season at all.  Hopefully that will all change come September.

As a result of all the restrictions we have still been unable to announce the winner and perform the world premiere of the winning piece from the 2020 Walter Hussey Composition Competition. We will make an announcement about that as soon as we know exactly what will be happening. In the meantime we would like to introduce you to the remaining finalist.

Abbi Chow (b.1997)

Entry title:  Bethlehem
Text from Psalm 2:12

Abbi enjoys experimenting with sounds and depicting stories with music. One of her latest pieces – the Lone Howl – narrates the story of the Assyrian invasion during the time of the prophet Isaiah. In this piece, Abbi combined the use of found sounds and elements of Arab music. Apart from composing, Abbi serves as a keyboardist in her church band, and teaches music and English in an elementary school.

Comments on the Competition:

‘Being able to make it to the finals is a great blessing. As an amateur composer, it is always a joy when my composition is able to reach the ears of another, even more so to know that they enjoy it. My favourite element of this competition is the flexibility of the Reading Phoenix Choir in terms of its configuration, which gave me the opportunity to explore the world of a cappella.’

What our judges said about Abbi’s entry:

  • Attractive original ideas
  • I find it has a good energy, simple construction, a clear climax and way home
  • Interesting usage of “alternative techniques”
  • Interesting, non-traditional choral writing with effective use of the aleatoric whispering around a drone
  • Good text to fit the brief
  • Good sense of build up and fall
  • A good variety of things for us to get our teeth into (e.g. rhythmic effect)
  • The human voice is extremely versatile, and I particularly enjoyed how this piece uses the voice in a number of different ways to show off this versatility; from vowel colours, percussive consonants, whispering and talking. Whilst there is some harmonic interest the main excitement in the piece comes through the constant changing rhythmic motifs.  Each voice part has its own moment of rhythmic interest.  It is therefore not only an interesting and exciting piece to listen to but also to sing.

To find out more about Abbi: