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Tango composition project, Bow Boys School
April - June 2006

Inspired by Ian Watson's idea to programme Piazzolla for the Spitalfields Festival, the festival education unit returned to Bow Boys School with a composition project based on Piazzolla and tango.

The group was made up of 15 year old boys, none of whom had written music on manuscript before, nor composed music alongside classical musicians in this way. The workshops ran once a week between April and June, with a new area tackled in each session. The boys learnt the principles of chord sequences and rhythms in Piazzolla's tango, working with project leader David Knotts, Stuart King on clarinet, Ian Watson on accordion, Rose Redgrave on viola and Clare O'Connell on cello.

They were divided into three groups and composed a new tango within each group. The CHROMA players then took their compositions and worked on aspects such as dynamics, phrasing and pitching, demonstrating the alternatives by playing the music for the boys, and asking them to make creative decisions about the direction of the music. It was an engrossing and challenging process, with the boys given control over their work, and thus enjoying a great sense of achievement.

This culminated in the three completed tango pieces being premiered at the Piazzolla/Golijov concert performed by CHROMA at Wilton's Music Hall on 12 June 2006 in front of a packed audience. The pieces were introduced by project leader David Knotts, and the boys took a bow in response to enthusiastic applause afterwards.

The boys have bound sheet music versions of their compositions, plus a recording of the performance by CHROMA at the concert.

David Knotts - composer/animateur
Ian Watson - accordion
Stuart King - clarinet
Clare O'Connell - 'cello
Rose Redgrave - viola
Jim Morris - head of music at Bow School

For Spitalfields Festival Education
Philip Flood - Head of Education/Outreach
Rachel Tubby - Administrator

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