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Resonance: Opera North's residency for BAME music-makers returns

We’re seeking applications from music-makers and composers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds living in the north of England for our second programme of Resonance residencies, supported by the PRS Foundation.

Launched in 2017, Resonance offers professional artists working in all genres the opportunity to develop new performance ideas. Successful applicants for the new round of residencies will receive up to a week of free rehearsal space in central Leeds in March and April 2019, a grant of up to £3,000 to cover fees for those involved and other costs, support and advice from technicians, producers and other specialists, and an optional ‘work in progress’ performance.

This March, four artists selected from an open call took part in the first full residency programme at Opera North, collaborating with performers from other disciplines, telling stories and pushing their work in new directions:

Director Moji Kareem developed her new opera fusing the stories of the Pied Piper of Hamelin and the disappearance of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria, with her collaborators, composer and singer Juwon Ogungbe and librettist Olusola Oyeleye. Moji commented:

“Resonance gave us five amazing and very productive days of development in the studio. Together with my collaborators, I was able to work with performers, to respond in turn to the ensemble as the piece took shape, and to deepen our collaboration through spontaneous exchange and experimentation. The creative team have all come away with a tremendous amount to think about.”

The Pied Piper of Chibok received its latest staging at London’s Grimeborn Festival this month.

The Pied Piper of Chibok sharing performance, Opera North, March 2018 © Smart Banda

Thandanani Gumede, who used his residency to develop a new song cycle with collaborators including pianist, vocalist and composer Dave Evans, bassist Kenny Higgins, and members of his group, Ubunye, said:

“Until now I have had to separate the languages of Zulu music, jazz and gospel in my work, but under the conditions of our residency we could do everything as one, seamlessly weaving our way from one style to the other. It was beautiful. Through this project, I got to produce a more complete version of my art. It’s been wonderful to see, and a privilege to hear those songs fill the air when they did not exist a short while before. I am looking forward to continuing what we have started with my collaborators.”

Christella Litras and Battledream II writer/director Alain Bidard during their Resonance residency, Opera North, March 2018 © Tom Arber

Singer-songwriter, producer and composer Christella Litras spent her Resonance week working on her soundtrack for the sequel to the award-winning animated sci-fi film Battledream Chronicle with Martiniquais writer-director Alain Bidard, singer Rob Green, and Indian classical musician Vijay Venkat. Christella commented:

“We had a week to just be artists, to just be creative, to just be expressive without pressure or restrictions. This rare opportunity has brought together some amazing artists and extended our skills to another level across different art forms. My advice BAME artists is to not be afraid to apply for Resonance, be honest with your idea and place no restrictions on the concept. I shared a rehearsal room for a week with an artist I dreamed of working with and who lives across the globe! Anything is possible.”

Shortly after this year’s residencies, Opera North celebrated its selection as one of 40 PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners for 2018-19, enabling the next round of Resonance residencies. The UK’s leading funder of new music and talent development, PRS Foundation supports organisations working at the frontline of talent development with a broad range of individual music creators. This reflects PRS Foundation’s commitment to supporting composers and songwriters of all backgrounds and genres, through direct investment or by helping organisations which nurture artists and promote their music.

To apply for a residency as part of Resonance 2019, artists should fill in the short form and submit it by 10 am on Monday 8 October 2018. To qualify for consideration, the lead artist must be a professional composer, musician or music-maker from a BAME background, aged 18 years old or over and living in the north of England.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss making an application, please feel free to email


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