Emerging Professional Artist programmes

The National Youth Choir exists to provide exciting and inclusive creative opportunities for all young people. 

As part of this remit, our Emerging Professional Artists programme, supports young singers, composers and conductors as they emerge into the professional world. It aims to address inequalities in the music industry by creating professional development pathways for those who are under-represented in choral music. Participants in our Emerging Professional Artists programmes work closely with the National Youth Choir (18-25 years) and our other choirs.

NYCGB Young Composers 2019-20: Nathan James Dearden, Amy Bryce, Lisa Robertson, Joe Bates.

Photo: Ben Tomlin

Nathan James Dearden

Nathan James Dearden is a composer and conductor, whose music has been commissioned, performed, featured and workshopped by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tippett Quartet, Genesis Sixteen, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, The Heath Quartet, Grand Band, the Fidelio Trio, Hebrides Ensemble, CHROMA ensemble, Carla Rees and The Dunedin Consort. His music regularly features in concerts across the UK and overseas, including at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Dartington International Summer School and Festival, International Young Composers' Meeting, CROSSROADS International New Music Festival and Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music.

Upcoming projects include a song-cycle collaboration with composer and pianist Michael Finnissy, a new work for pianist Mary Dullea as part of an album project with the Ty Cerdd Label, an outreach collaboration in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Swansea receiving city status with the Welsh National Opera, plus a commission from National Youth Arts Wales for a new work for National Youth Choir of Wales. Based in South East England, Nathan is currently Performance Manager, Visiting Lecturer in Music Composition, Conductor of the New Voices Consort and New Music Collective and Postgraduate Research Scholar at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

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Joe Bates

Joe Bates is a composer and curator making music at the edge of genres. His first musical love was for the orchestral classics of the Twentieth Century; he spent his teenage years aping idols like Bartók and Ligeti. At university, he became more involved in rock and pop, playing in a drag band and running a mixed-genre music night, Filthy Lucre. Joe's music is born in the collision of these influences, embracing both orchestral music and synth-heavy electronics. He writes both for himself, as solo electronic performer, and for others, using classical notation. His music shows the influences of composers from Saariaho to Scelsi and artists like Fiona Apple, D’Angelo and Animal Collective.

Joe's music blends the riffs and harmonies of rock with structures and instrumentation drawn from contemporary classical music. It combines intense, still riffs and drifting synth sounds with notes that fall through the gaps of the traditional Western scale. If you're looking to get an overview of Joe's music, you could start with his EP, Flim Flam, or his work for SANSARA Choir, Ceasing. From there, you could check out his works for small ensemble, like A Noise So Loud or Us Alone. Alternatively, you could watch Paul Vernon’s Film, Hildegard, which features his adaptation of Hildegard's songs.

Amy Bryce

Amy Bryce is a composer-performer living and working in London. She first found success following her acceptance onto the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Composer’s Scheme in 2016, where her work was featured in a public workshop by the orchestra, under the baton of François-Xavier Roth. Since then, she has received an LSO Artist’s Commission which saw her work premiered by the Community Choir in November 2017. This year, Amy is working with the 2020 Festival de Música de Setúbal in Portugal on an interdisciplinary work with their Youth Ensemble.

Last year, Amy received an International Grant to work as Composer-in-Residence for the Stiftung Kunst und Musik für Dresden, where she spent four months writing and curating independent projects in Dresden, Berlin and Leipzig, as well as participating in the TONLAGEN Festival in Hellerau. She features as an artist frequently in the UK and abroad, most notably with Tête-à-Tête Opera, at the Darmstadt Musikinstitut, Musiikin Aika (Finland), and at the Leeds Lieder, Bloomsbury and Cheltenham Music Festivals. In 2018, she was a participating artist on the Estalagem Ponta do Sol Residency for Contemporary Music and Electronics in Madeira, and had her work premiered at the 'Classic Winds' International Clarinet and Saxophone Competition in Hamburg. 

Amy graduated from the Royal College of Music in July 2017 with a first class honours bachelor’s degree in composition, having studied with Dai Fujikura and Kenneth Hesketh. She also received first prize in the RCM Contemporary Music Competition with her performance of ‘Vulnerable’ by Bertram Wee.  Other notable commissions include the Estorick Collection, the Scordatura Collective and performances with WeSpoke New Music at the Café Oto (London) and the Centre Dürrenmatt (Switzerland), along with work at the Lilian Baylis Theatre in association with Sadlers Wells.

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Lisa Robertson

Lisa Robertson is a composer from the West Highlands of Scotland interested in combining sounds from nature and folk music; examining relationships between people and the land and highlighting environmental concerns.

Upcoming performances of her pieces include by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Thomas Dausgaard and the Slovak Sinfonietta. Previously, her pieces have been performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Red Note Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, Cappella Nova, Rolf Hind, Lucy Schaufer, and Huw Watkins, among others, and in festivals including Cheltenham Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Sound Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and on BBC Radio 3 as well as performing her own solo violin piece at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2019. 

Awards include shortlisted for the Scottish Awards for New Music 2019 Dorico Award for Small / Medium Scale Work, joint-winner of the West Cork Chamber Music Festival Composers’ Competition and runner-up in the Cappella Nova Composers’ Competition and the Walter and Dinah Wolfe Memorial Award.

Lisa is currently undertaking a PhD at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Emily Doolittle and Bill Sweeney and has also gained influence from masterclasses with Brian Ferneyhough at the Ferienkurse Darmstadt, Sir Harrison Birtwistle at Dartington International Summer School, Sir James MacMillan and workshops with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bozzini Quartet and Ligeti Quartet. 

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Programme Digital Partner: NMC Recordings


Programme Innovation Grant Sponsors:

Steinberg Media Technologies (Technology Partner) and Stainer & Bell (Publishing Partner)


Supported by The Garrick Charitable Trust, RVW Trust, The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation, Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust and PRS Foundation's The Open Fund for Organisations.