Janet is one of the composers selected for our Opus 1 scheme for 2023. Here she takes the Opus 1 Q&A challenge.
How did you get into composing?
There were frequent opportunities to compose at Junior Guildhall and at school where I wrote incidental music and songs for a performance of Under Milk Wood. The excitement of being involved in bringing it to life for the performance was addictive. That was a long time ago now, but It also made me realise the value of a good deadline, and I’ve pursued them ever since.
What sort of music do you like to write?
I like to write any piece once I’m happy I have made a viable start! Up until that point every piece feels like uncharted territory. I’m particularly interested in creating distinctive textures and satisfying structures for my music, and there is usually a strong melodic element. I also enjoy counterpoint.
What excites you most about being part of Opus 1?
Compositionally I’ve been most in my comfort zone when setting words to music, but recently I’ve also been getting more into writing instrumental music. Opus 1 is a fabulous opportunity to build on that and compose for superb musicians of Britten Sinfonia – with their input and guidance. I’m especially looking forward to sharing the experience with a group of other composers and hearing their work.
What 3 pieces of music would you have to have on your desert island?
Frank Martin: Mass for Double Choir (my favourite choral piece to sing and conduct)
Bach: Goldberg Variations – played on the piano by András Schiff
Egberto Gismonti: Maracatu from Sanfona
What's the best snack
Has to be hummus - well-laced with garlic.
Janet read music at Cambridge, studying composition with Robin Holloway. After running a school music department she joined BBC Schools Radio as music producer for eight years. Since then, she has specialised in composing and conducting, mostly working in choral music. Her compositions include commissions from ORA Singers, NYCGB, Sonoro, Papagena, LFCCM, Lincoln’s Inn and Ely Cathedral. Film Noir, written for Onyx Brass in 2021, won the JAM president’s award. Her music is heard in many cathedrals and college chapels and has been sung at the Three Choirs Festival, and by BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus on BBC Radio 3.
Find out more on Janet's website.