CoMA during lockdown

Resources to keep you engaged in new music while we all stay at home.

From our chair

First of all: all of us at CoMA send our best wishes to all of you and your families and communities in these extraordinarily difficult times.

Extraordinary, not least, because of the overnight halt to live music-making culture.

But from a CoMA perspective, there’s still so much we will do to continue our work – more vital than ever – of commissioning composers, creating and promoting their repertoire, and finding new ways to collaborate and support musicians.

As the new-music community focuses its creativity on-line, we’ll be there too – and we are looking at how to take ensemble rehearsals/communities/performances on-line are welcome, as well as any ideas about how to work together to create new music-making opportunities for our audiences, from tutorials to performances.

That strength of CoMA’s communities has always been the defining feature of what we do, and it’s needed, creatively and socially, more than ever. Keep in touch

Tom Service, Chair of CoMA

Our position

Our priority, apart from promoting ideas to help us maintain some musical activities and keep in touch with each other, is to support the music directors of our ensembles and all the other musicians whose work benefits CoMA.

You can download more details of our approach.

Our lockdown approachpdf

CoMA ensemble activities

CoMA Glasgow invites all CoMA players to participate in their online composition project You Create .

CoMA London reports on its rehearsals over Zoom during lockdown.

The CoMA Lockdown Ensemble is a new project. It has been set up to research existing and specially devised repertoire that works with, and benefits from, online technology, at the same time using the enforced lockdown circumstances to build stronger connections between our regional ensembles. Led by CoMA Board member Marc Dooley who is head of digital content development at Edition Peters, the ensemble brings together in a working partnership, instrumentalists from the ensembles based in Bristol, Colchester, Eindhoven, Glasgow, London, Maastricht, Nottingham and Truro. Over the coming weeks and months we will be reporting on outcomes from this group, which will be experimenting with a variety of platforms, including Zoom, Jamkazam and Mumble.


You may delay, but time will not

A piece, written by Janet Oates, Director of CoMA Singers, for remote instrument players, based on text attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Players can either record themselves separately and the piece is then assembled or maybe perform together over a livestream. You can download the parts here .


A performance-based composition, devised by Sheena Phillips of CoMA Singers.

We are all like stars, isolated (or in small clusters), separated by great distances – but shining and brilliant (or faint and delicate). Each performer records their own audio, which is assembled into an evolving cosmic soundscape.

The first mix is now available for listening and Dom Golden is collating video to go with the piece and also seeking your contributions.

See here for full details.

Paul Burnell : Single-Page-Minded

Paul is a prolific and thoughtful composer with many pieces in the CoMA Catalogue. He writes “Many of my scores have been written to fit on a single page, and within those are several that can accommodate uncoordinated playing. They are a mixture of text scores, graphic scores and more conventionally notated pieces.” These pieces can all be found in his blog.

Piers Hellawell’s commissioning ‘triangles’

We are looking for commissioners, performers and composers to create and give online premieres of new solo pieces for a range of instruments and levels.

  • Commissioners: the suggested contribution is £50, which would to be matched by CoMA. Commissioners may suggest their own composer or opt for CoMA to choose
  • Performers: the call for players has been extended to those keen to take part without presenting a premiere, but rather leave it to a professional who has worked with CoMA in the past.
  • Composers: interested in being commissioned and being matched up with a volunteer CoMA performer to create the solo work

Mentoring: some younger composers may opt to be teamed with an experienced CoMA composer for advice along the way; likewise, CoMA performers may similarly be ‘teamed’ with professional player, to work on the piece via video where possible.

The project’s Director is Piers Hellawell

To take part in any of the above contact

Gallery view

A second lockdown composition from Janet Oates, Director of CoMA Singers that you can contribute to.

This work is a response to the many Zoom meetings being held by musicians and groups during lockdown – the joy of interaction, the many characters trying to be heard, the activities taking place. You can respond musically by filling in one of the squares.

Gallery Viewpdf

Needed! Vexed pianists...

Audio-visual artist Kathy Hinde, a long time enthusiast of Erik Satie’s Vexations created an amazing rendition of the piece at a CoMA Summer School some years ago.  Right now she is putting together an online stream of the piece, with its 840 repetitions involving as many performers. The intention is to launch the project this coming Sunday 17th May to mark Satie’s 154th birthday, using a new website and software that will randomly choose the next player and leave it going until it reaches 840 repetitions. To realise this project Kathy is encouraging as many pianists as possible to send her a video of themselves playing one cycle by midnight this Saturday so that she can include them in the launch. If that proves impossible for you in such a short time span you can send it after too. More about Kathy and her work can be found at

How to take partpdf

Lessons online

CoMA is committed to supporting all those who work with and have worked with us, not least our past project leaders and Summer School tutors. As starters we now have pianist and composer Rolf Hind offering online classes in meditation, performance or composition at £45 for a 75 minutes 1:1 session.  Similarly, KNM flautist Rebecca Lenton is offering 1:1 lessons (all levels) at £36 per hour (pro rata for shorter lessons. To book, contact in the first instance.

Watch and listen

Many of the professional musicians who work with CoMA have donated a lot of their time over the years and we are looking at ways to support them in this difficult period when many of their income streams have dried up. One way you can help is to buy CDs from them and, of course, you will have a treat to listen to. You might think of it as an alternative use for the money you would normally spend going to concerts.

Darragh Morgan

Violinist Darragh Morgan who has worked with CoMA for many years as a tutor and soloist. You can find out about his CDs here. Many of the works are by composers who have written for CoMA.

Lore Lixenberg's Singterviews

Watch and listen to one of Lore Lixenberg’s unique SIngterviews, this one is with composer Pauline Oliveros and IONE made available excludively to CoMA at  and feel tempted to purchase a DVD of more singterviews for only £15, with all proceeds going to IKLEKTIC arts lab. The DVD’s are available directly from

The context for this and other Singterviews was a one hour show called PANIC ROOM presented by Lore at the IKON gallery as part of its Voice and the Lens exhibition in Birmingham in 2012, with follow up shows at the Riverside Studios and Kings Place.

The show presented the end of civilisation as we know it, set in the culture 4 billion years from now as the sun is exploding into a red dwarf. With CCTV cameras everywhere in the building, Lore spied on the audience in the foyer and sang to them over the foyer tannoy system, from this picking an audience member to be in the PANIC ROOM with her…. read more

Aisha Orazbayeva

Music for Violin Alone by Aisha Orazbayeva was recorded in the first two weeks of the lockdown both as a response to all loss of work and also as a way to be head again. It features new music by Aisha, Oliver Leith, Angharad Davies, James Tenney, J.S. Bach, John Cage & Nicola Matteis. Find out more

Dominic Murcott

Composer and percussionist Dominic Murcott has released an album – 1:3:5:7 Improvised Duos. These explore the infuence of the length of an improvisation on the material in it. Collabators are Laura Jurd, Tom Challenger, Hans Koller and Joe Townsend. Find out more

London Sinfonietta - Lockdown Live

Whilst we can’t go to concert halls at the moment, there are still opportunities to hear new music live. London Sinfonietta, who has partnered with CoMA on many occasions has a series of live solo concerts followed by discussions. The Lockdown Live performances are every Wednesdays at 3pm. More details are available here. One of Edmund Finnis’ cello pieces is playable by amateurs and the music is available to download.

From CoMAFest in Gateshead

Regularly presented by CoMA Chair, Tom Service, BBC Radio 3 New Music Show is providing an opportunity to hear a wide range of contemporary music. On 4 April it included an interview with James Weeks (Artistic Director for the CoMA Partsong project) and him conducting Royal Northern Symphony players for a piece by Joanna Baillie as part of the 2020 Festival of Contemoporary Music for All at Sage Gateshead. Listen here, 58 minutes into the show. On Saturday 18 April, the show included another piece by James/RNS: Malakosha by Egidija Medeksaite, here at 10 minutes into the show. On Saturday 9 May the show Cassandra Miller’s O Zomer! here at 4 minutes and James Week’s Dusseldorf at 1 hour 42 minutes.

Lore Sings Nancarrow!

Loré Lixenberg does the impossible – an album of 10 tracks of some of Nancarrow’s most challenging work is coming out in November with a special launch on November 20th in Rotterdam (coronavirus willing). Produced on the De-Player label this superbly presented collection will be on sale at about £30 in a limited edition of 200. To guarantee owning one email Lore Lixenberg directly at  To get flavour of what to expect try these for size: Study 31, Study 6. An article published in Wire magazine explaining the project and the motivation behind it can be read here.

Cabaret c/o agent Zoë Martlew

“Hello there! Hope yr OK and enjoying the gorgeous sunshine wherever u r!  Just to let u know that my alter ego Margery Fosdike, principal of the 3rd desk of the cello section of the Woking Philharmonic, recently transmitted  a stunning rendering of Saint Saen’s The Swan to the nation on Living Room Live. Join the experience here.” Zoe is a CoMA composer and tutor.


Dr. Montague’s Anti-Virus Home Remedy

Patented & guaranteed to work under most domestic conditions. A collection of drinks, sounds and pensive reflections from Stephen Montague to be carried out in your own home.

Home Virus Remedypdf