LSO Soundhub

About the scheme

What is it?

LSO Soundhub provides a flexible environment where composers can experiment with new ideas, while benefiting from access to vital resources and support from industry professionals, LSO musicians and staff.

The scheme is composer-led: it is designed to respond directly to the needs of those using it, by offering a supportive framework for artists to try out new ideas, develop existing work and benefit from peer-to-peer networking and support.

The aim is to allow composers to explore and develop their practice. Their time on the scheme does not necessarily need to result in a finished product; the focus is on demonstrating learning and development through the creative process.

LSO Soundhub is generously supported by Susie Thomson and The Garrick Charitable Trust.

'I’ve had a great time on the LSO’s brilliant Soundhub Scheme. It has been a joy to work with LSO musicians and a privilege to be able to try out new ideas with such patient and helpful players.'

Alex Ho, Phase I 2018/19, Phase II 2019/20

Phase I Showcase, July 2019 © kevinleighton.com

Phase I Showcase, July 2019 © kevinleighton.com

How does it work?

Over the course of about a year, Members of the scheme experiment with their artistic ideas, all while learning from a designated mentor, LSO staff and musicians, and each other.

There are two phases to the LSO Soundhub scheme, which run in tandem with each other: Phase I, with four composers brand new to the scheme, and Phase II, with two of the previous year's composers (in other words, two of the old 'Phase I' composers).

Phase I Showcase recording, February 2021 © kevinleighton.com

Here's how an LSO Soundhub year usually looks:

Information and Networking Day
The scheme begins in October with a launch day at LSO St Luke's, where new Members meet each other and existing Associates (more about Associates later … ).

Research and development
October to July: this is when the hard work happens! Members use the time to explore and develop their practice, and receive workshop time with musicians, mentorship, technical support and resources and access to spaces at LSO St Luke’s.

Phase I Showcase Concert
In July, all four composers are given a 15–20 minute slot in the LSO Soundhub Phase I Showcase concert. This is their opportunity to share the work they have created during the scheme, whether it is completed or a work-in-progress.

Phase II Showcase, February 2020 © kevinleighton.com

Evaluation and Phase II
Phase I of the scheme is wrapped up with a final evaluation, then Members can choose whether to apply to Phase II, an extension of the scheme for two of the four Members.

Phase II Showcase Concert
In February, the two composers who have been selected to progress to Phase II showcase their latest work, the product of those extra months of mentorship and workshops.

A composer with score and mixing desk

Phase I Showcase recording, February 2021 © kevinleighton.com

Phase I Showcase recording, February 2021 © kevinleighton.com

Chamber musicians play in a dimly lit hall against the backdrop of a projected image of a lone dancer in a vast landscape

Phase II Showcase, February 2020 © kevinleighton.com

Phase II Showcase, February 2020 © kevinleighton.com

'Working with LSO Soundhub gave me the opportunity to realise my work with artist Ben Zamora, which up until now had been a dream bound to the realm of words.

Ben's light sculpture became the figurative fourth member of the quartet in my composition, Outrenoir II.

Jamie Man, Phase I 2018/19

Lighting installation: bright white bars of light in a pitch black room
A percussionists plays polystyrene with a double bass bow

Phase I Showcase recording, February 2021 © kevinleighton.com

Phase I Showcase recording, February 2021 © kevinleighton.com

Where did it all start?

LSO Soundhub was launched in January 2012 with support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and ran as a pilot with nine Members and nine Associates.

Did you know…?
One of the pilot year Members, Christian Mason, now coaches composers on the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme.

Since then six composers have been appointed Members each year: four brand new Phase I Members, and two who have moved on to become Phase II Members.

Phase I Showcase recording, February 2021 © kevinleighton.com

What are Soundhub Associates?

There is a wider community of composers as part of LSO Soundhub: the Soundhub Associates. Any composer who takes part in one of the LSO's three composer schemes (Panufnik, Soundhub, Jerwood Composer+) automatically becomes an Associate for two years after completion, and sometimes Associates are recruited after an application process.

Performing Three études for piano and flower pots by Soundhub Associate Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade at the Phase II Showcase, February 2020 © kevinleighton.com

As well as supporting each other, Associates get a range of benefits including technical support, rehearsal space, access to LSO rehearsals and events, and ad hoc calls for work and commissions.

One musician plays plant pots with percussion mallets next to another playing piano

Performing Three études for piano and flower pots by Soundhub Associate Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade at the Phase II Showcase, February 2020 © kevinleighton.com

Performing Three études for piano and flower pots by Soundhub Associate Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade at the Phase II Showcase, February 2020 © kevinleighton.com

'It’s rare to get the opportunity to write for whatever you want and however you want to and have your piece slowly realised by talented people who believe in you and your work.'

Donal Sarsfield, Phase I 2018/19

Phase I Showcase, Jul 2019, image © kevinleighton.com

Phase I Showcase, Jul 2019, image © kevinleighton.com

SOUNDS OF TODAY

Over the last 15 years the LSO has nurtured more than 150 young composers through our three composer schemes: Panufnik, Soundhub and Jerwood Composer+.

'Sounds of Today' is a collection of more than 80 videos capturing just some of the experimental works by these composers, recorded live at LSO St Luke's.