Alison Cox – Founder
Alison Cox, PPRNCM, FRSA, OBE is the Founder and Chair of Trustees of The Commonwealth Resounds, and Head of Composition and Outreach at The Purcell School for Young Musicians.
Alison studied composition at both graduate and postgraduate level at the Royal Northern College of Music from 1974-80, where she won a number of prizes and awards including the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Composition. She also spent a year in Australia, working with young film makers at Australia’s National Film and TV School, supported by a grant from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust.
Alison has worked actively with young composers for more than 40 years, especially when she became the first-ever Head of Composition at the Purcell School for Young Musicians in the early 1990s. A few years later, with two of her composition students, Kit Downes and Mica Levi, Alison created an active pupil-led outreach training programme which enabled her to engage with young people in primary and secondary schools throughout the UK. This outreach work continues today.
In the late 1990s, alongside her Purcell School commitments, Alison became Artistic Director of the brilliant professional ensemble, Endymion. She organised many concerts and a number of composer-related projects including ‘Young Composers in Focus’ which drew together school-age composers from all over the UK for workshops and performances at the Southbank Centre in London.
In 2007-8, Alison persuaded the Purcell School to form a new partnership with Sound and Music and Judith Robinson to create the Sound and Music (SAM) Summer School for Young Composers. This now runs annually and every year, 75 young composers from all over the UK take part in a wide range of creative activities and compose new music for professional ensembles, supported by key tutors in film, instrumental, vocal, jazz and world music. This course is frequently life-changing for the young people involved.
Creating a Commonwealth musical programme
In 2005, Alison Cox was invited by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the new Master of the Queen’s Music, to organise a Music Day for 200 children and members of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace. Alison included musicians from the UK’s specialist music schools, conservatoires and different cultural groups in a dazzling programme of cross-cultural music, which was greatly enjoyed by the young audience.
As a result of this very significant event, later in 2005, Alison Cox created The Commonwealth Resounds (TCR) with partners from Malta, Trinidad, Ghana and India, because at this time there was no other musical organisation linked to the Commonwealth. Between them, they ran a spectacular cross-cultural music festival on a financial ‘shoestring’, supported by the Maltese hotels, Government ministers and community partners. TCR continues to flourish, and over the years has worked with thousands of musicians and musical partners in many Commonwealth countries.
TCR is now an officially accredited Commonwealth musical organisation and a registered charity, and has been recently shortlisted in the 2019 Charity Governance Awards.
Pan-Commonwealth projects involving composers, which have been created and organised by Alison and partners from TCR ‘A Commmonwealth Pianorama’ for CHOGM 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago. 53 short piano pieces were written by composers representing every Commonwealth country. The pieces were first performed at the University of Trinidad and Tobago and later in London and Edinburgh.
In 2015, Alison and her TCR Trustees created another project, ‘Panorpheus’ for CHOGM 2015 in Malta, where 53 composers wrote short pieces for flute and harp. The pieces were performed at the St James’ Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta.
In 2018, when the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings came to London, Alison and TCR ran five different events. One of these was a spectacular intergenerational, cross-cultural drumming performance in partnership with Rotary London and The Purcell School for more than 1,000 people at the Meeting of the Four Forums at the QE2 Centre. Also for CHOGM 2018, Alison created the world’s first Commonwealth Music Forum at the Royal Over-Seas League, and a new Music Award in partnership with the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, and two major concerts involving young people and new music.
Since 2017, Alison has frequently collaborated with the London-based Commonwealth organisations to produce cross-cultural music via TCR for different events at Marlborough House, Westminster Abbey and elsewhere.
Alison has discovered from her visits overseas that very few young people in different countries are being taught to compose their own music. This was also a view shared by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. As a result of this, the Commonwealth International Composition Award has been created.
It will also help to celebrate the Commonwealth’s 70th Anniversary.
In 2013, Alison was awarded the OBE for ‘Services to the Community in the UK and Overseas’ .
Sam Buttler – International Competition Manager
Sam Buttler (b. 1996) is a composer who embraces many musical styles and idioms. He graduated in 2017 with a BA in Music from St Peter’s College, Oxford. He then received a Distinction in his MMus in Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London with Aaron Holloway-Nahum, John Traill, and Chris Whiter in 2018. He is currently Associate Composer with The Ripieno Players.
In 2016, his work Flight from Ashes was premiered at Trinity College of Music by Grace Buttler (violin) and Irina Lyakhovskaya (piano). Sam has participated in workshops at Royal Holloway and his works have been performed around the UK and Europe. In 2018, he was selected as one of eight composers commissioned for Royal Holloway’s Distant Voices, Current Drifts project with the Royal Holloway New Music Collective. He also recently recorded a trio of choral works in St Peter’s College Chapel, Oxford with Joe Davies (conductor) and singers from the University of Oxford. Also in 2018, he was chosen to participate in the 2018 Etchings Festival with the ECCE Ensemble. Recently, he has been selected as one of the Emerging Composers at the Ludlow English Song Weekend. He has upcoming projects in London, Manchester, Oxford, and Birmingham.
In addition to his composition work, Sam is a talented oboist. He has studied with John Anderson at the Royal College of Music and performed both regionally and internationally. He was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales from 2012 to 2017, and was principal oboe of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales in 2015. While studying at Oxford University, he performed with the Oxford University Orchestra, Oxford University Philharmonia, St Peter’s Chamber Orchestra, and Oxford University Wind Orchestra. Most recently, he was the featured soloist with the Oxford University Wind Orchestra in 2017, performing Weber’s Concertino in C.
He currently works as Composition Assistant and Commonwealth International Composition Award Manager at The Purcell School.
Feel free to contact Sam at email@example.com