What is CERDDWN?

CERDDWN is a radically different developmental opportunity for composers. We want to create a world-leading hub for musical experimentation and innovation in mid-Wales. Working with community orchestra Aberystwyth Philomusica and leading professional orchestra Sinfonia Cymru, composers and mentoring performers will create visionary new works for orchestra.

Learn about CERDDWN

Our goal is to break away from standard educational and practical models relating to writing for the orchestra, give space to experiment with radically new and risky ideas, and to create ambitious and exceptional new music – a starting point for a new legacy of orchestral music in Wales. To kickstart this, we’ve commissioned four composers to write new works, we’ll also be supporting four mentee composers in the creation of ambitious new compositions too.

Four New Commissions

CERDDWN is proud to commission new compositions from Welsh composers David John Roche, Nathan James Dearden, Mared Emlyn, and Jeferson Lobo. Each composer will write a new work for the musicians of Sinfonia Cymru and Aberystwyth Philomusica. These CERDDWN Commissions will form the backbone of this ambitious new project.

Mentorship Opportunities

Our mentorship spaces are open to everyone, from those who haven’t experienced formal musical education, to those with zero experience in writing for orchestra, to practically skilled, road-tested symphonists. Do you want to write something wildly and radically different? Are you from a less traditional musical background? Do current learning models prevent you from testing strange, difficult musical ideas? Do you need hands-on, practical space with an orchestra to experiment, learn the basics, or take significant risks? If so, then CERDDWN is the perfect opportunity for you – this is a place for ambitious, risky, cutting-edge composers. There are no formal educational requirements, there are no genre restrictions – we want to hear your voice. 

This project is generously funded by Tŷ Cerdd, the Arts Council of Wales, and Aberystwyth University.


Mentorship Opportunities

Mentorship Opportunities

Our mentorship spaces are open to everyone, from those who haven’t experienced formal musical education, to those with zero experience in writing for orchestra, to practically skilled, road-tested symphonists. Do you want to write something wildly and radically different? Are you from a less traditional musical background? Do current learning models prevent you from testing strange, difficult musical ideas? Do you need hands-on, practical space with an orchestra to experiment, learn the basics, or take significant risks? If so, then CERDDWN is the perfect opportunity for you – this is a place for ambitious, risky, cutting-edge composers. There are no formal educational requirements, there are no genre restrictions – we want to hear your voice. 

What will selected mentee composers be doing?

4 selected mentee composers (who will each receive £500) will be asked to write for the musicians of Aberystwyth Philomusica and Sinfonia Cymru. Compositions can be for an ensemble of any size, but the performers must be drawn from the pool of players working with Aberystwyth Philomusica and Sinfonia Cymru. Composers will be able to work closely and repeatedly with both orchestras and the program will be tailored specifically to each mentee’s educational needs and requirements. We value ambition, risk taking, and practically minded music making. 

Each mentee composer will also work closely with 1 of 4 mentors (David John RocheNathan James DeardenMared Emlyn, and Jeferson Lobo) in the creation of their work. Support, ambition, and compositional experimentation are at the heart of this project. 

Application process

Deadline for submissions: Monday August 20th 2023 (11:59pm London Time)

Submission requirements:

1. 1-3 examples of music. 

2. 250 words or up to 3 minutes of audio or video briefly describing who you are and why you would like to be part of this project. 

3. An e-mail address or phone number so we can contact you.

Eligibility requirements

1. There are 4 available mentee spaces. 1 space for UK-based and international participants, 3 spaces for Welsh and/or Wales-based practitioners. 

2. There are no other formal requirements, there are no genre restrictions. We support Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles.

Applications will be reviewed by a 3-person panel consisting of David John RocheIwan Davies, and Simmy Singh. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to have a small online chat, feedback will be provided to all applicants. 


Submit your application here or e-mail it to cerddwn@gmail.com or d_roche@hotmail.co.uk

Applications should be in Welsh or English. If there is anything here that would prevent you from applying, then please contact David John Roche at cerddwn@gmail.com or d_roche@hotmail.co.uk– we are also happy to discuss the project via telephone. We may be able to accept late applications, but please contact us in advance. We want to hear from you, we want this project to be as open and accessible as possible.

Composers and Mentors

Nathan James Dearden

Nathan James Dearden is an award-winning music creator, whose work has been described as “hauntingly beautiful” (Media Wales), and performed and featured by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tippett Quartet, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Grand Band, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Fidelio Trio, and Hebrides Ensemble. His music regularly features in concerts across the UK and overseas, including at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Dartington International Festival, CROSSROADS International New Music Festival and Vale of Glamorgan Festival. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Resonance FM, RTÉ lyric FM, S4C and Soho Radio, whilst also released on NMC Recordings and Delphian.

Nathan is also a sought-after conductor, arts advisor, event curator and educator, holding arts advisory roles with several international organisations such. He is currently Interim Director of Composition at Royal Holloway University of London and the Centre for Young Musicians at Morley College.

Jeferson LoboJeferson Lobo 

Meet Cardiff-based Jeferson Lobo, a visionary composer and musician hailing from the vibrant city of Salvador, Brazil. Fuelled by an insatiable thirst for creativity, Jeferson's musical realm comes to life with influences drawn from legends, ancient tales, and the rich tapestry of nature 'sonic textures.

In Jeferson's captivating compositions, you'll discover a delightful mix of futuristic wonders and festive celebrations, infused with the romantic serenades of ancient times. This musical alchemy seamlessly blends baroque idioms, ethnic rhythms, and the infectious spirit of jazz, crafting a sound that is uniquely his own.

Jeferson's melodies dance and flirt, leaving behind traces of haunting enchantment and passionate longing. His compositions have been described as a playful, witty,  and evocative.

Jeferson has written music for Ty Cerdd, Music Theatre Wales, Aberystwyth University,(BACA) Butetwon Arts and Culture Association, NDCW, and SSAP.

Mared EmlynMared Emlyn

A graduate of Bangor University, Mared completed a doctorate in performance on the harp and composition in 2014 with a scholarship funded by the European Union. In 2011, she won the Urdd National Eisteddfod’s Chief Composition medal for her work Perlau yn y Glaw for solo harp, which is now performed regularly at different harp competitions and festivals. 

Mared performs in concerts as a soloist, as part of ensembles and as a member of orchestras. She has received a number of composition commissions, including works for the Wales International Piano Festival, Colwyn Male Voice Choir, a work for the Bangor Music Festival premiered by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and a harp concerto for the Beaumaris Festival, performed by the Welsh Chamber Orchestra, with Mared herself as the soloist. In 2018, she collaborated with musician Gwenan Gibbard and poet Mererid Hopwood on a commission by the Wales International Harp Festival to celebrate the world renowned harpist Osian Ellis’ 90th birthday. Recently, Mared was commissioned by Opera Cymru to write an opera for children and families: Cyfrinach y Brenin, which toured Wales in September 2022.

David John RocheDavid John Roche

David John Roche’s music is direct, determined, and loud. Strongly influenced by heavy metal, lush orchestral music, and his working-class Welsh background, David’s work has been praised for its “passages of intense expressive power” (Thomas Adès), described as “exquisite” (Adam Walton, BBC Introducing), and marked out as “bold, exciting, and beautiful” (Sir James Dyson).

In tandem with a consistent string of international performances and commissions, his compositions have been broadcast, televised, and written about internationally to millions of people (Rai5, Tellebelluno, S4C, NHK, BBC Radio 3, BBC Introducing, London Evening Standard, and many others). He is currently completing commissions for the Tanglewood Music Centre, Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation, and the Vale of Glamorgan Festival (Tredegar Town Band). He is also undertaking research and production work with Meta Arts and Wales Arts Review.

David has completed commissions for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Jan Willem Nelleke and Jose Zalba Smith, Siwan Rhys, Astrid the Dutch Street Organ, Orion Orchestra and Dyson, Brian Ellis, Cambridge University Communications Department, Centre of Cell, Royal Observatory Greenwich, National Library of Wales, British Library, Psappha, Hear and Now in conjunction with Psappha, Ty Cerdd and Hijinx Theatre, NAFTA Ensemble, and many others. He has long, collaborative, developed relationships with festivals and ensembles.

He has been awarded an Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice Grant, a Lithuanian Arts Council Grant, has received an AHRC studentship, undertaken a Tanglewood Fellowship, and was nominated for an award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Overall, he has received more than 30 academic and professional awards.

Workshop Leaders

Samantha MuirSamantha Muir

Samantha is an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London and a recipient of the Madeline Walton Guitar Prize. She is the first person to do a PhD on the ukulele (University of Surrey, Guildford, UK) and is a leading exponent of the classical ukulele style. She has performed and presented workshops at ukulele festivals across the UK and Australia and has given numerous lectures on the classical ukulele style (the International Guitar Research Centre, the Guitar Foundation of America, 21st Century Guitar conference, Dublin Guitar Symposium and the European Guitar Teachers Association). Her compositions and arrangements are published by Schott and Les Productions d’Oz. As well as playing the guitar and the ukulele Samantha also plays the machete de Braga and the rajão - the forerunners of the ukulele from the Portuguese island of Madeira. She is a member of the Cambridge Consortium for Guitar Research at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. 

Katherine ReesKatherine Rees

Katherine is a musician, creative practitioner and social entrepreneur from Swansea. She is the youngest entrepreneur to be supported by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School: Centre For Social Innovation for her business Be Extra - Wellbeing For The Arts CIC. She is also an ambassador for the F-List for Music and the Royal Opera House. As a producer/director she also uses her skill set to mentor musicians and arts companies on short form storytelling through the medium of videos such as TikToks or Reels.

Lillie HarriesLillie Harries 

Lillie Harris is a contemporary classical composer based in the UK. She studied at the Royal College of Music with Haris Kittos and was awarded the Elgar Memorial Prize for her final composition portfolio.

Musical from a young age, her interest in composing grew out of learning instruments, a flair for languages, and a love of creative writing; as a result, narrative ideas and complex emotions are regular features in her pieces. In recent years her twin passions for text and music have come together in the form of new choral and vocal works.

Outside of composition, she writes the user manual for Steinberg’s notation software Dorico, sings with Covent Garden Chorus, and does engraving and copying work for publishers and film, TV, and game music recording sessions.

Orchestras, Adjudicators and Conductors

Sinfonia logoSinfonia Cymru 

Sinfonia Cymru occupies a unique space in the music sector. We are an ‘under 30s’ orchestra, dedicated to championing outstanding young professional musicians and supporting them in the early stages of their careers. Based in Cardiff, we provide exceptional-quality musical experiences for audiences and participants in Wales and beyond. Our projects are designed to nurture the talent of our musicians across musical formats. Sometimes we’re an orchestra in the traditional sense, at other times we work with smaller groups to provide intimate performances in a variety of styles. Importantly, we provide opportunities for musicians to explore their creativity and build a portfolio of skills, through player-led and cross-genre projects. An additional goal is that far more people from a diversity of backgrounds in Wales have access to and attend live classical music. We tackle perceptions, taking music into communities across Wales and visiting village halls, schools and communities.

Philomusica logoAberystwyth Philomusica 

Formed in 1972, Philomusica of Aberystwyth celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022. Originally founded as a "town" orchestra, since the 1990's it has become a "town and gown" orchestra enjoying considerable support from Aberystwyth University, this being achieved when the university appointed a Director of Music to rebuild its music provision following the closure of the Department of Music. Dr David Russell Hulme, who was appointed to the position established the Music Centre and subsequently became Philomusica’s resident conductor and Artistic Director whereby a strong liaison with the University was formed, including the provision of Music Bursaries to attract good student instrumentalists to the orchestra. Now conducted by Iwan Teifion Davies, the orchestra gives, at present, two major concerts a year, in March and December, as well as other occasion events, such as performances at the 2022 National Eisteddfod in Tregaron, and study days. It plays major symphonic repertoire, and recent highlights include Shostakovich's 5th Symphony, Rachmaninoff's 1st piano concerto, Errollyn Wallen's This frame is part of the painting, as well as world premieres by Welsh composers David Roche and Claire Victoria Roberts

Iwan Teifion DaviesIwan Teifion Davies

Iwan Teifion Davies is the Director of Music and conductor of the Philomusica of Aberystwyth. He trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio in London, where he participated in a variety of performances in collaboration with Opera North, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera. He was a staff conductor at the Salzburger Landestheater, where he conducted the Mozarteum Orchester in performances of La Gazzetta (Rossini), The Trial (Glass), Wiener Blut (Strauss), and My Fair Lady. He is Head of Music at the Buxton International Festival, where he has conducted productions of Cendrillon (Viardot), Viva la Diva (Donizetti) and the world premiere of a new operetta using the music of Ivor Novello, The Land of Might-Have-Been. For OPRA Cymru, he conducted the world premiere of Gareth Glyn's Welsh-language opera, Wythnos yng Nghymru FyddFidelioCosì fan tutte and Glyn’s second opera, Un Nos Ola Leuad, with the orchestra of Welsh National Opera. For English Touring Opera, he conducted La bohème and The Golden Cockerel (Rimsky-Korsakov). A champion of Welsh music, he has commissioned and performed new works from Claire Victoria Roberts, Pwyll ap Siôn, Gareth Olubunmi Hughes, Hana Lili, Jefferson Lobo, David Roche, Sarah-Lianne Lewis and Mared Emlyn.

Simmy SinghSimmy Singh

Simmy Singh is an Earth Activist violinist and composer from Wales, born to an English mother and Indian father, who’s mission is to merge the profound power of music and nature connection in order to reconnect people to themselves, each other and the natural world. Simmy believes variety really is the spice of life and endeavours to stay true to this in her career. She co-founded the Manchester Collective and plays with renowned orchestras such as the Manchester Camerata and London Contemporary Orchestra; but her main passion is in merging her classical upbringing with the music of today. She leads the contemporary, crossover orchestras Kaleidoscope Orchestra, Untold Orchestra and Ignition Orchestra. She works closely with artists such as Abel Selaocoe, Bill Laurance, Gwilym Simcock and Portico Quartet and appears on all their latest releases. With her quartet, Amika, Simmy works closely with many leading jazz artists from the UK such as Alfa Mist, Jordan Rakei, Rob Luft and Alice Zawadski.


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