Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Gillian Walker

Ahead of the Cumnock Tryst 2019, we are asking some of the artists involved a few questions to get to know them better ahead of this year’s festival. First up in this series is Gillian Walker, a young composer who worked with us in 2018 on The Chronicles of Cumnock project and whose work will hit an international platform for the first time as part of the Tryst.

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Hi Gillian, could you tell us a little about your background in music? Why have you decided to be a composer?

I began my music education at the Junior Conservatoire of Scotland during my last years of secondary school, and was then offered a scholarship for the RCS summer composition course after having lessons for a time. Due to this experience, I became obsessed with writing music and creating my own pieces.

You worked on the Chronicles of Cumnock composition project at last year’s festival. What did you take away from the experience and why do you think such projects are important?

The Chronicles of Cumnock was an amazing collaborative project as I was able to work with an array of very talented people across different disciplines. The highlight of which was teaching composition to a class from Doon Academy, whose pieces were played by the Edinburgh Quartet.

I don't think that there is enough of these intensive music projects happening in Scotland, and projects such as the Chronicles of Cumnock are invaluable and critical to pupil's all round education. Having access to high quality music making should be available to all, as I have seen first hand the impact that it has on young people's well-being and confidence, in addition to providing them with valuable skills to carry into the future. 

You have a world premiere of a new commission at this year’s Tryst – what can audiences expect from the piece? What were the inspirations and themes behind it?

The piece that has been commissioned is called White Room and is for clarinet and string trio. It is, thematically, inspired by the loss of the Glasgow School of Art and the cultural and personal memories which have been destroyed by both fires.