It is common these days for composers to be described as a “unique voice”, or as “having found their independent voice” as if their work was the expression of an isolated ego creating music in a vacuum. The reality is that each composer draws their ideas from the people, and the environment, which surround them.Friends and Influences draws on experiences and specific musical ideas taken from the context in which I am working. Some of the ideas are borrowed from friends of mine in the Forum London Composer’s Group, or from pieces which I have taken part in performing as a member of the London Contemporary Music-making for Amateurs Ensemble. At one point the old melody, Dona Nobis Pacem, is used. I first encountered this as a player in a beginners’ violin class.While I have borrowed the musical ideas from these sources, the responsibility for the way I have used them lies entirely with me – or maybe with the way the context in which I exist leads me to shape ideas. Oh dear! Do I really exist as a separate person, or only as part of a wider context? Do I mind?The piece does not seek to answer these questions. It is in three movements. It was written especially for Carson P Cooman.