An award winning composer, whose works have been described as ‘evocative’ ‘obsessive’ and ‘otherworldly’ Ben Lunn is a composer who tries to draw upon his own political, spiritual, personal, and ideological worldview within his works. He has had the pleasure of working with ensembles like OeNM, Music Theatre Wales, Ensemble Synaethesis, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Soloists and he has featured in international festivals like TCML, Vale of Glamorgan, Crossroads, and Occupy the Pianos.

 

What drew you to a career in music?

I grew up playing in Brass bands, particularly feeling at home in colliery bands. Around my late teens I started to find I had a bit of a knack for composing, I was particularly intrigued by the imagination of Berlioz and Ligeti, so from there I tried to explore everything I could. What really awoken the idea of being a composer was encountering the music of Radulescu, Feldman, and Scelsi. I was fortunate enough to get into RWCMD for my bachelor’s and I started studying with Peter Reynolds, and as they say the rest is history.

How would you describe your work? 

It is always hard to say what I sound like, but I can easily point out what is driving me currently. Since coming back to Britain, I have been particularly eager to explore that notion of identity and nationality. While studying in Vilnius, the question of national identity and ‘Lithuanian sound’ were and are still very common. But I know I do not fit to the international stereotype of British/English because it has rarely had working class lads define the stereotype or the nation. So I am eager to find ways of connecting to that working class history of Britain, like the Red Clyde, Merthyr Rising, Tolpuddle Martyrs, Luddites, Charterism, Peterloo and so on. I am also eager to just connect on that universal level of solidarity amongst my class. Its hard to say how this is done musically but it is there, increasingly so.

What positive and negative aspects have you found lockdown has had on your work?

Personally, not too much has changed, my work is quite reclusive so there are many days hiding indoors normally. However, it has been sad seeing the number of things having to be dropped by the wayside. However, as a result two things have been able to take centre stage for me. Firstly, I have had plenty of time to dedicate to a new work for Royal Northern Sinfonia. Secondly, I have had ample time to read which is feeding my work for my upcoming stay at the Cosy Nook thanks to the Britten Pears Foundation. This new piece is going to be quite a daring work for piano quartet and chamber orchestra, which I am writing for my dear friends in Latvia.

 

Ben was an award winner at this year’s Scottish Awards for New Music. 

Diversions was the result of a unique collaboration between Drake Music Scotland, Hebrides Ensemble and the Queen’s Hall, aimed at addressing some of the barriers facing autistic or neurodivergent people who want to attend live music events.

Ben curated the event, which was inspired by the idea that autism-friendly programming should “change the space, not the content”, proving that artistic integrity and accessibility are not mutually exclusive.

Diversions won the ISM Prize for Collaboration as well as the RCS Award for Making it Happen. 

Find out more about the Scottish Awards for New Music here.

Listen to Ben’s piece Symphonies For Instruments (2019) below.

 

Listen to Ben’s recent work for cello and electronics, performed by Georgina Aasgaard: 

In November just passed my recent work will we… was premiered. This work for cello and electronics was premiered in the Imperial War Museum North in Salford, and in short tried to come to terms to this global revision of history we are witnessing. The title, is a simple rebuttal to the famous Remembrance Sunday declaration ‘we will remember them!’ do we really remember them? Or just remember those who conveniently support our ideology? Do we remember all of them? Do we honour all of the efforts to remove the stain of Fascism from our globe? 

          (Ben Lunn, 2019)

 

The score for this piece is available from the SMC shop. 

Buy here

 

Keep up to date with Ben’s work via his website 

Visit Ben’s Website

 

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