CoMA Sussex

Photo Will Perrett
Photo Will Perrett

About us

Founded in 2005, we’re an instrumental group, directed by Steve Dummer, that rehearses once a month on a Sunday afternoon at the University of Sussex, near Brighton, and gives public concerts.

New members – whatever their instrument – are always very welcome. Your first rehearsal is free of charge. (See Membership and contacts below for full details.)

Here are four videos of us playing, recently made by independent film maker John Crix and sound engineer François DeVille:

Veilings 1 by Phil Baker  12:53

Three Conjugations by Patrick Harrex  6:20

Pachamama by Diego Monsalve  8:23

Open by Guy Richardson  5:35

Image John Crix/West44 Productions
Image John Crix/West44 Productions

We’ve been busy recently …

In September 2018 we performed in St John’s Smith Square, London, as part of CoMA’s 25th Anniversary celebrations. As well as having our own spot we had great fun playing along with ensembles from Berlin, Maastricht and the UK.

At the Friends’ Meeting House in Brighton in November 2018, we collaborated with New Music Brighton to give first performances of new works by Phil Baker, Ric Graebner, John Hawkins and Guy Richardson, all of which we’d previously workshopped with the composers. We also played pieces by two members of our ensemble, Patrick Harrex and Diego Monsalve, and by other composers associated with the collaborating groups.

Out of this came the exciting video collaboration with John and François in summer 2019.

In October 2019 we had a lovely time giving a lunchtime concert at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, an amazing place, hosted by composer in residence Mary Hampton. To suit the location we focused on pieces that related to the visual arts, including two receiving their world premieres. A month later we gave a lunchtime concert as part or the Adur Arts Live festival in the lovely Norman Church of St Mary de Haura in Shoreham-by-Sea.

Our big achievement this March has been a weekend of contemporary music making at St Mary’s Church, Kemp Town in Brighton as part of CoMA’s Festival of Contemporary Music for All. Other amateur musicians joined us in rehearsing and performing alongside members of professional contemporary music group The Riot Ensemble. There were four public concerts – two given solely by CoMA Sussex and two involving all the amateurs and The Riot Ensemble. Several pieces written specially for our ensemble and several commissioned for the festival were played.

… and looking ahead we’ll be just as busy …

We planned to return to West Dean College in June but Covid-19 prevented that. We hope we can reschedule the event when performances become more straightforward.

Looking to a future possibility, we’re pleased to have been approached for CoMA Sussex members to take part in workshops that would, subject to funding, follow on from Rachel Fryer’s ‘Variations down the line’ project, in which five composers have been commissioned to make present-day responses to Bach’s Goldberg Variations (more details here).

We like playing in varied venues and enjoy collaborating …

Over the years we’ve played at the East Sussex Music Centre and Lancing College, and several times as part of the Adur Arts Live Festival in Shoreham-by-Sea. We’ve given concerts in partnership with the lively student contemporary music group at Chichester University and workshops in collaboration with Worthing’s Revolutionary Music Group. In 2012 we collaborated with the Southampton Concert Orchestra in Gavin Bryars’s epic The Sinking of the Titanic at Southampton Guildhall.

You can hear some of our earlier performances here.

Rehearsals

We once a month on a Sunday afternoon. We are planning to rehearse this term on the following dates. 20 September will be a pilot rehearsal to get us used to Covid protocols, with a limited number of players in the Large Hall, St Mary’s Kemp Town, Brighton, starting at 2:45 p.m. with doors open at 2:30. Please return to this space for details of the subsequent rehearsals.

  • 20 September
  • 18 October
  • 8 November
  • 13 December

 

Our MD Steve Dummer studied clarinet with Jack Brymer at the Guildhall School and conducting at the Royal College of Music and Dartington. He directed us in our early days and after several years away, during which he’s built up an extensive conducting portfolio, we were delighted to have him return as our MD in 2017.

Photo Will Perrett
Photo Will Perrett

Membership

Membership of CoMA Sussex costs:
£76 per year (£56 concessions), paid annually,
£8 per month by standing order (£6 concessions)
£12 per rehearsal (£8 concessions).

Members must also become a CoMA national Ensemble Member (monthly subscription £3 standard, £2 concessions, £1 full-time students).

Contacts

Music Director: Steve Dummer

Chair: Paul Scruton

Secretary: Lluís Nadal; email sussex@coma.org

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Upcoming events

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