Composers announced for WeCompose 2023 – 24

13 Oct 2023

After a successful pilot, WeCompose moves into the first full year of delivery across our South Yorkshire home, the wider north of England region and with our longstanding collaborators in Portsmouth, Milton Keynes and Barking & Dagenham. This year, WeCompose is delivered in collaboration with the Ligeti String Quartet.

We have recruited a fantastic team of composers who will be visiting schools across the country to help develop the composition work of KS3 and KS4 students and support their teachers. Students get to experience working with professional musicians and are supported in developing compositional and collaborative skills, which they will use to create group and individual compositions. Students will then get to see their work being performed by professional musicians in a culmination concert towards the end of their academic year.

We are delighted to welcome:

Ed Driver
Ed Driver is a British composer and performer currently studying for a master’s degree in composition with Kenneth Hesketh and Dai Fujikura at the Royal College of Music, where he is an H R Taylor Charitable Trust Scholar and has held a Vaughan Williams Bursary. He won his first composition prize, the Howard Greenwood Composition Award in 2017. Upon graduation from the University of Birmingham, where he studied with Michael Zev Gordon and Ryan Latimer, Ed was awarded the COMPASS Composition Prize in association with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He has also collaborated with other leading contemporary ensembles, having written music for Britten Sinfonia, The Hermes Experiment and the Fidelio Trio. Fascinated by aesthetics, his recent music often aims to intertwine the logic of social-philosophical concepts with a vibrant sense of humour. He has previously held a role in a school music department, where he worked extensively with young people aged 13-18, teaching GCSE and A-level composition and curriculum lessons; running composition clubs and mentoring sessions; and directing and composing for a wide variety of ensembles. He is keen to continue to share his excitement for music-making with young people of all backgrounds and to promote its accessibility.

Yuen Po Hang

Yuen Po Hang has received countless commissions and collaborative opportunities from leading soloists and ensembles, including the Avanti Chamber, BBC Philharmonic, Britten Sinfonia, PHACE, Psappha, Sofia Philharmonic, and Trio Immersio. His piano trio Triptych has recently won the third prize in the professional section of the “The New Melodies” II International Composers Competition. The music was published by Dmitry Danilov Music Agency LLC and performed in St. Petersburg, at the Whitehall of the Polytechnic Institute. This July, his newest ensemble work, “Cosmic Embrace”, received its world premiere in Porvoo, Finland, as a part of the Avanti Summer Sounds Festival.

Emily Hazrati

Emily Hazrati is a composer and performer based in London. Her music is spacious, immersive, and environmental; with a focus on storytelling, collaboration, and global politics, as well as ideas around breath, ritual, and circularity. Emily has worked with ensembles and organisations including BBC Singers, Royal Opera House, Oxford International Song Festival, Ligeti Quartet, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Oxford Philharmonic, Psappha, Thames Philharmonic Choir, and CHROMA Ensemble, amongst many others. In 2022 she developed her second chamber opera, TIDE, which received its first, sold-out performances at the Aldeburgh Festival 2022. She was a Britten-Pears Young Artist 2021-22 and a Junior Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she learned with Julian Philips and Hollie Harding.

Alex Mackay

Alex Mackay is a musician whose practice spans composition, performance, production and education, incorporating a range of creative, technical and aesthetic approaches. Alex’s composition work has included concert works and collaborative projects with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Red Note, Glasgow New Music Expedition and Ludi Quartet Kernow; as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with artists working in film, theatre, dance and visual art. As a solo artist, he incorporates approaches from experimental compositional practices and contemporary electronic production to create recorded and live works, and has been presented through releases, performances and residencies across the UK and Europe. Alex studied composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and music production at the University of York, and he currently teaches music and sound recording at the University of York.

Laurence Osborn

Laurence Osborn is a British composer currently based in London. Laurence Osborn’s music has been commissioned and/or programmed by the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Britten Sinfonia, The Riot Ensemble, Manchester Collective, 12 Ensemble, GBSR Duo, Ensemble Klang, and Ensemble 360, among others. He has also written for solo performers Sarah Dacey, Mahan Esfahani, Bartosz Glowacki, Zubin Kanga, Lore Lixenberg, Michael Petrov, and Agata Zubel. His music has been programmed throughout the UK, at venues such as The Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Royal Opera House, Symphony Hall (Birmingham), The Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, LSO St Luke’s, St Martin- In-The-Fields, Milton Court, Wilton’s Music Hall, Britten Studio (Aldeburgh), The National Portrait Gallery, The Holywell Music Room (Oxford), The Crucible Theatre (Sheffield), Kettle’s Yard (Cambridge), and at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (where he was an International Showcase Artist), St Magnus International Festival, Music in the Round, and Ulverston International Music Festival. His music has also been programmed throughout Europe, such as at Festival Présences (Paris), Alteoper Frankfurt, November Music Festival (Den Bosch), The Georg Solti Hall (Budapest). Laurence’s music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, Resonance FM, and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. His music has also been released on NMC, Resonus Classics, Rubicon Classics and Coviello Contemporary.

Helen Papaioannou

Helen Papaioannou is a composer and performer based in Leeds, UK. Helen’s work ranges from her solo project for electronics and baritone saxophone (Kar Pouzi), to ensemble compositions, music for moving image, and improvisation with a range of collaborators. Across her work, she gravitates towards a minimal sound palette, with persistent grooves and a textural focus which revels in drawing out a lot from a little. Helen has a fascination with the dynamics of group interaction, collaborating with a variety of artists and ensembles, and leading workshops in a variety of settings.

Marcus Rock

With a background in film making, Marcus made the decision to pursue Composition seriously in 2018, earning himself a place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on a scholarship (beginning 2019). In his first year studying music seriously, he was selected to collaborate with and write a String Quartet for Quatour Bozzini and to compose music for the Cheltenham Music Festival (2021) Working closely with Chineke! players and mentored by Composer Daniel Kidane. He was invited to participate in the festival the following year where he has written a piece for violinist Fenella Humphreys and Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. He has written a mixed ensemble piece for BCMG. He has written a string duo for members of Fidelio Trio: Darragh Morgan and Tim Gill (2022). He was selected as a Composer on the Britten Pears young artist Programme (2022-2023) receiving one to one tuition from Composers Colin Matthews and Mark-Anthony Turnage and is also a London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Composer of 2023-24. His work has been conducted by Jonathan Berman, Daniele Rosina and will be Conducted by Francois Xavier Roth. Since being programmed alongside George Lewis (18/11/22) He has received an invitation to be mentored and study with him at Columbia University. He has won the 2022 Echo from the Old Times Chamber Music Commission, meaning he will have work performed by students of the China Central Conservatory of Music.

Ellen Sargen

Ellen Sargen is a composer, performer and researcher based in Manchester. She is currently studying for a PhD in long-term composer-performer collaboration at the RNCM with Larry Goves and Steven Daverson. Her recent work has included projects with House of Bedlam, Ensemble Recherche, Riot Ensemble and Psappha as well as with long-term collaborations with soloists up and down the UK. Recent work has been performed at Ensemblehaus (Freiberg), Bishopsgate Institute (London), Firth Hall (Sheffield), RNCM Concert Hall (Manchester) and featured by OperaVision, Lost and Found (Sydney), RNCM Future Music Festivals, RNCM PLAY Festivals and Incognito Manchester in the concert hall and in audiovisual formats. Commissions have included those from National Opera Studio, Music in the Round and Classical Sheffield and Ellen’s recent piece ‘Lost in your whole world’ was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Andrew Smith

Andy is a Manchester based composer with experience of working with many of the country’s leading orchestras, theatres and production companies.  His music spans multiple genres, and in recent years he’s focussed on composing music for children and family audiences. As an arranger, he specialises in orchestral and choral writing, including pop music mash ups, multi-ability arrangements for youth/amateur ensembles, and remixing of classical works into modern orchestrations and genre. He also collaborates with upcoming and renowned artists to add flavours of the orchestra onto their tracks. He’s also very passionate about composing and arranging for music education and outreach purposes, with the aim of creating high quality, artistically valued projects and performances that have ‘participation’ at their core.


WeCompose is funded by Arts Council England, Mayfield Valley Arts Trust, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust, Sheffield Grammar School Exhibition Foundation, Vaughan Williams Foundation, Sheffield Town Trust, Earl Fitzwilliam Charitable Trust, Sheffield Bluecoat and Mount Pleasant Educational Foundation and Freshgate Foundation, Three Monkies Trust and R Walker Trust. The project is also supported by Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley Music Hubs.

Thanks to generous funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation the project is now confirmed as covering Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 around the country until at least 2026.