PLUG 2021: Meet the BMus 3 and 4 Composers

PLUG Festival is the launch pad for all the exciting and experimental ideas bouncing around RCS. In 2021, we are celebrating its 15th birthday with over 60 new pieces from 31 composers, performed by electrifying ensembles and guest artists, and all available for free online.

To help you get to know our fantastic composers and introduce you to their exciting new work, we’ll be highlighting each year group in a series of blogs.

Our BMus 3 and 4 composers have created work that ranges from the traditional to the experimental with vast and diverse influences. Bringing these unique compositions to life are incredible performers including the RCS Composers Ensemble, RCS Brass, GAIA, Red Note Ensemble, Calum Huggan, Angela Wai Nok Hui, and Daniel Pioro.

Black and white photo of composer Dominic Adelio.

Dominic Adelio (BMus 3)

During the Covid-19 pandemic, composer Dominic Adelio has shifted his focus from performance to sound design and production. His pieces for PLUG explore the idea of reworking musical material with novel production techniques such as sampling and playing with the acoustic qualities of pre-recorded and live instrumentation. “ript.wav”, performed by Dominic and Catriona Mackenzie, samples “Ballard to the East” from Oscar Peterson’s Canadia Suite, while “Java”, performed by Kenneth Lyons, explores rhythm and metre.

Image of composer Zeo Fawcett's face with yellow lines overlaid.

Zeo Fawcett (BMus 3)

Multimedia artist, composer and performer Zeo Fawcett explores their interest in interpersonal relationships, DIY culture, both virtual and physical intimacy, and the fluctuations of the status quo through music. He enjoys collaboration, working with performers including the RCS Composers Ensemble on three pieces for PLUG: “Reckless Social Experiment”, “We Can Still Grow, You Know” and “IWISHIWASANORMALSCORE”.

Composer Mingdu Li smiling on a beach next to the ocean.

Mingdu Li (BMus 3)

Mingdu Li’s piece “Beyond”, performed by RCS Brass, was inspired by idyllic oceans in Mauritius. Having previously studied mathematics, the composer has received many accolades including a second-place prize at the Golden Key Piano Composition Competition.

Composer Isaac Phillips holding a hoover.

Isaac Phillips (BMus 3)

Composer and new media artist Isaac Phillips approaches creation with a sense of humour and absurdism. His contribution to PLUG, entitled “Ghost Hands”, takes its name from a condition in which a person’s limbs act seemingly on their own. The piece, performed by GAIA, explores the disentanglement of thought from action.

Composer Evan Bailey looking off camera.

Evan Bailey (BMus 4)

Evan Bailey combines contemporary practice with historical influences in his work. In “A Collection of Short Pieces”, performed by Red Note, he pulls from different time periods, while in “Concrete” and “The Eruption of Pompeii” he works with vocalist Seumas Begg to create atmosphere and emotion.

Composer Sean Callaghan smiling into camera in front of a cityscape.

Sean O’Callaghan (BMus 4)

Australian-Irish composer Sean O’Callaghan has a style that uses classical concepts within a contemporary musical framework. Sean’s keen interest in orchestration and arranging has helped him in developing this style, which is evidenced “Glazed Over” performed for PLUG by Calum Huggan and Angela Wai Nok Hui. The piece embodies the state of mind that comes about when one’s eyes glaze over.

Composer Erin Thompson smiling with a sunset behind her.

Erin Thomson (BMus 4)

Although originally from Glasgow, composer Erin Thomson’s piece “Divided Light”, performed by Red Note, takes inspiration from a photograph of the Northern Lights over Edinburgh. Her second piece for PLUG, “Linger to Sea”, performed on solo violin by Daniel Pioro, is a “sea-scape” which translates a natural sequence of events into music.

Composer Gillian Walker smiling in a park.

Gillian Walker (BMus 4)

There are clues hidden within Gillian Walker’s “XO”. Follow the performers’ hands and see. Calum Huggan and Angela Wai Nok Hui expertly bring to life the composer’s exploration of images, the visual, and the suggestions of lines and movements. Walker’s work is concerned with the theatrical and socio-political, and attempts to reflect the people, spaces, and immediate community around them.

Plug will run until 30 August. All performances are available to watch now for free on the Plug Festival website.  

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