Catherine Cheung | 张瑛瑶

Pianist | Composer

Catherine Cheung is a pianist, composer and teacher based in London

Collaborating with composers

A lot of people wonder and ask the same question: "what do you actually DO in a music conservatoire?!" I assume they all think we either just practice all day... or don't practice all day and laze around. The fact is though that most, if not all, music conservatoires have an extensive list of 'optional subjects', and we must choose to study at least a couple of them each year. Some of these subjects are tailored towards our principal study/instrument.

In this post however, I will be talking about one of my options: 'Contemporary Music in Action'. It's led by Haris Kittos (one of my former composition professors!) who is the most optimistic and cheerful man I know. So, I suppose now is the moment I explain what the module consists of.

Basically it's less like a 'subject' and more like a 'project'. Just like in real life, student composers and performers in the college collaborate with the end result being a performance of a newly written contemporary work. In this instance I am the performer, not the composer. I chose this subject, specifically because I wanted to develop my skills in learning and performing contemporary music, and also I wanted to experience what it was like to be a performer in this scenario, as I had only ever experienced this from a composer's point of view. I'm lucky enough to be collaborating with two composers, Nicola Monopoli and Alistair Robertson.

So far, it's been one of the most interesting, inspiring and challenging things I have done. I've been given some scary looking scores to learn over Easter break, and hopefully everything will come together in time for two concerts that will take place so we can perform these new works! 

For more information about the concerts, just browse the 'Concerts & Events' page on this website.

© Catherine Cheung 2015