This September 2018, CoMA celebrated 25 years of enabling amateur musicians to participate in the creation and performance of new music. It all started with a Summer School in 1993 to bring together like minded people and this led to the establishment of amateur contemporary ensembles around the country. CoMA has built a library of over 900 works suitable for mixed ability groups, including commissions from established, emerging and student composers. We have participated in festivals across the UK and collaborated with leading professional ensembles. In 2016 we established a biennial Festival of Contemporary Music for All which has grown to 21 locations and over 50 partners in 2018.
On Saturday 22 September we were at St John’s Smith Square. As part of Open House, our rehearsals were open to the public. The lunchtime concert featured performances by CoMA Maastricht, CoMA Sussex, CoMA Singers, CoMA London and KNM Campus Ensemble (Berlin). In the evening, CoMA Singers sang Stephen Chase’s partsong and all joined together to perform some of CoMA’s larger commissions by Roxanna Panufnik, Tanst Davies, Diana Burrell, Andrew Toovey and concluding with Nigel Osborne’s 2018 commission I am Swimming.
On Sunday we moved to Kings Place as part of their Time Unwrapped series. During the day there were workshops led by Marc Dooley, Rebecca Lenton, Dominic Murcott, Kerry Andrew and Chris Brannick. At lunchtime Janet Oates performed Tom Johnson’s A Time to Listen and in the afternoon there was a chance to experience Ligeti’s Poem Symphonique pour 100 metronomes. The weekend concluded by a concert by the CoMA Anniversary Ensemble and CoMA Singers conducted by Gregory Rose, playing music from the CoMA catalogue by Michael Finnissy, Michael Levinas, Ruta Vitkauskaite (new commission), Howard Jones and Philip Cashian.
The music performed over the weekend demonstrated the variety of scale and style of the CoMA catalogue. Reflecting CoMA’s ongoing commitment, half the pieces performed were by women.