Guide to Survival in Urban Environments

Saturday, 22nd June 2024

A day of rehearsals, workshops and an informal performance open to everyone

The Old Dioarama, 201 Drummond Street, London NW1 3FE. Starts 10:30 am.

Join CoMA Singers and CoMA London for a day of rehearsals, workshops and an informal performance, open to singers and players of any acoustic instruments, of any ability. There is no need to have taken part in CoMA events before.

We will be playing music written especially for the event by Robert Crehan and leon clowes.

This is a chance to explore exciting, thought-provoking contemporary orchestral music in an open, supportive environment.

Start time: 10.30am

End time: 4pm

(Main image by It’s No Game, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

CoMA London and the CoMA Singers. Photo by Dawid Laskowski
CoMA London and the CoMA Singers. Photo by Dawid Laskowski

About the music and composers

Robert Crehan

Robert Crehan (b. 1991) is a British composer originally from Luton, Bedfordshire. His current work focuses on guided improvisation and how it can be used as a creative tool for professional musicians and non-classically trained musicians as part of a deeper exploration in accessibility of contemporary classical music in music education. He has had work performed both within the UK and internationally by ensembles including the EXAUDI vocal ensemble, Plus-Minus ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs, the London Chamber Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Robert has had pieces showcased in venues including Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, the Barbican Centre, and St Paul’s Cathedral.

GUIDE TO SURVIVAL IN URBAN ENVIRONMENTS, VOL.1 offers a visceral exploration of urban life that is largely based on my experiences of growing up and living in post-industrial towns and cities. Stylised as an album, this large-scale single-movement work navigates through the gritty aspects of working-class life. Starting from a place of fear and anger, the work gradually reveals the hidden compassion and hope found beneath the rough, hard surface. Each section, akin to tracks in an album, is titled poetically, reflecting thematic shifts in perspective; where initial darkness gives way to unexpected beauty, all while maintaining the dissonant, unpredictable rhythm that characterises the world it seeks to portray.

(Please note that part of this piece involves text from news reports about violent crime)

leon clowes

leon clowes is an older white working-class queer musician-composer and multidisciplinary artist who lives well with mental health issues and in maintaining recovery from addictions and abuse. Since 2020, leon’s artworks have featured in/been commissioned by SPILL and Deptford X arts festivals, Frieze Art Fair, Cafe Oto, WORM Rotterdam, Queer Art Projects, Disability Arts Online, Margate Pride, Queer Contemporaries, Datscha Radio Berlin and Britten Pears Arts/Snape Maltings.

Taking the words from an internet list of 11 things not to say to someone with mental health issues, what not to say has been written for the CoMA singers from what leon calls his ‘head’ melodies. These are tunes that appear in his head in the middle of the night or when taking a walk. leon sings these ‘head’ melodies into his phone, squirreling them away for use one day – this day, the CoMA open workshop day. what not to say is an insight of what it’s like in leon’s head, each singer breathing a multi-layered life into these hidden ‘head’ melodies.


Tickets are pay what you can, with a suggested donation of £5

For more information and to register, please click here.

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