CoMA Sussex

Photo Will Perrett
Photo Will Perrett

We’re an instrumental group that rehearses once a month on a Sunday at the University of Sussex, near Brighton and gives public concerts.

New members – whatever their instrument – are always very welcome. At the moment we are particularly be in need of a pianist with good sight reading and ensemble experience. Your first rehearsal is free of charge. (See below for full details and our email address.)

Since we started in 2005 we’ve played at the East Sussex Music Centre and Lancing College, and have taken part in 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.

Steve Dummer 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.

You can hear some of our performances here.

We had a busy 2018 …

In March we were key players in the Chichester events of the Festival of Contemporary Music for All, collaborating with CoMA South, students of the University of Chichester and professional group The Riot Ensemble.

We made a return visit in April to Hove’s lively music venue The Brunswick.

We performed in St John’s Smith Square, London, as part of CoMA’s 25th Anniversary celebrations in September. 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, we collaborated with New Music Brighton to give first performances of four new works, Veilings 1 by Phil Baker, CoMA 128 by Ric Graebner, Last Tango in Brighton by John Hawkins and Open by 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.

… and 2019 is proving just as busy …

We have had an exciting session collaborating with independent film-maker John Crix this summer and look forward to seeing the edited result! We are hoping to take part in two concerts in the autumn: one of these is confirmed – a lunchtime concert at the Adur Arts Live festival in Shoreham-by-Sea at 12 noon on Saturday 23 November 2019.

Looking further ahead we are planning a local event in Brighton as part of CoMA’s Contemporary Music for All Festival on 7–8 March 2020 (see Upcoming Events below).

We’re also delighted to have had an invitation for CoMA Sussex members to take part in Rachel Fryer’s project ‘Variations down the line’ (successfully crowdfunded here): five composers will be commissioned to make 21st-century responses to the chords and bass line of Bach’s Goldberg Variations which it’s planned will be performed in a rural festivals tour of Sussex and Kent, with our members involved in presenting these new variations to a wider public in workshops.

We’ll be rehearsing on the following Sundays at 2:30 p.m. in the Recital Room in Falmer House (near the Students’ Union Shop) at the University of Sussex. See here for directions to the University.

  • 22 September
  • 6 October (provisional extra rehearsal)
  • 20 October
  • 17 November
  • 15 December

There will be a late morning rehearsal (time tbc) on Saturday 23 November at St Mary de Haura Church, before our lunchtime concert there.

Many thanks to the Music Department of the University of Sussex for their support.

A nice momento of our former MD Adam Swayne rehearsing us at St John sub Castro, Lewes
A nice momento of our former MD Adam Swayne rehearsing us at St John sub Castro, Lewes

Membership of CoMA Sussex costs:
£75 per year (£55 concessions), paid annually,
£8 per month by standing order (£6 concessions)
£12 per rehearsal (£8 concessions).

Members must also become a CoMA Friend (annual subscription £36 standard, £24 concessions).

Music Director: Steve Dummer

Chair: Paul Scruton

Secretary: Lluís Heppell; email

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @CoMA_Sussex

Upcoming events