Call-Out For Opera North’s Resonance Workshop Residencies For Minority Ethnic Music-Makers

Opera North is seeking applications from music creators from minority ethnic backgrounds for its next Resonance residency programme.

Part of PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partnership supported by PPL, Resonance was launched in 2017 to offer professional musicians and composers based in the north of England and working in any genre the opportunity to develop new ideas, to collaborate with performers from other disciplines, and to take their work in new directions.

Xana, Laura Erby, Keisha Thompson, Yvonne Shelton, and Cherie Johnson at Keisha’s Resonance Sharing, Opera North, May 2021

Five successful lead artists will receive up to a week of free rehearsal space in central Leeds between January and April 2022, a grant of up to £3,500 to cover fees for those involved and other costs, and support and advice from technicians, producers, and other specialists. There are also options for a short film to document the project, and a work in progress performance or live stream.

Alumni of the scheme have gone on to create major commissions for Opera North, including Arya, a concerto for sitar and orchestra by Jasdeep Singh Degun, and the writer, theatre-maker and beatboxer Testament’s Orpheus in the Record Shop, filmed earlier this year for BBC Four’s Lights Up season.

Having adapted to virtual workshops for a special Lockdown Edition last year, Opera North brought Resonance back in person in 2021, with projects including a vocalist and a poet creating new music based on ancient Tamil metre, and a composer exploring the construction of identity through music, soundscapes, and performance.

Manchester-based writer, performance artist, and producer Keisha Thompson worked with singers and a sound designer and poet to develop her new play The Bell Curves, an ambitious look at the ethics of DNA-hacking, taking in religion, politics, science, and gospel music. “The Resonance commission has been a true blessing”, says Keisha. “I cannot explain how uplifted I have felt throughout the whole week. To be given the space to hone my practice has helped me to see things a new way and I cannot thank Opera North enough for inviting me into the family.”

Live-loop musician, sound designer and poet Xana at Keisha Thompson’s Resonance sharing performance, Opera North, Leeds, May 2021 05

Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North, comments:

Resonance supports incredibly rich encounters with artists working across the widest range of genres and styles: from Indian classical music to beatboxing and rap, we welcome all musicians who want to try something new and collaborative. We’re looking forward to receiving more pioneering proposals for this latest round of residencies.

The Resonance scheme has been enabled by Opera North’s membership of the PRS Foundation’s network of Talent Development Partners supported by PPL. The UK’s leading funder of new music and talent development, PRS Foundation supports organisations working at the frontline of talent development with a broad range of individual music creators. This reflects PRS Foundation’s commitment to supporting composers and songwriters of all backgrounds and genres, through direct investment or by helping organisations which nurture artists and promote their music.

To apply for Resonance 2022, artists should fill in the short form via the Opera North website and submit it by 10 am on Friday 10 September 2021. To qualify for consideration, the lead artist must be a professional composer, musician, or music-maker from a minority ethnic background, aged 18 years old or over and living in the north of England.

Previous Resonance artists Camille Maalawy and Thabo Mkwananzi will join Opera North Projects on the selection panel. All entrants will be notified of the outcome of their applications within three weeks of the deadline, and shortlisted artists will be invited for an informal meeting to discuss their project.

Opera North is keen to attract the widest possible range of talented artists for the scheme. The entry form is available in alternative formats, including Easy Read, Braille, hard copy, and audio, and submissions can be accepted via audio or video. To discuss any additional needs or overcoming further barriers to applying, please contact kathryn.gasic@operanorth.co.uk

For more information and an application form, visit operanorth.co.uk.

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