Congratulations to Purcell pupil, Lauren Marshall, who has not only been appointed Principal Composer in the National Youth Orchestra (NYO), but has also delivered an extraordinary original piece, Suspended between earth and air, to open the NYO’s 2017 Winter Concert tour.

Lauren has studied at The Purcell School since 2009 under Simon Speare for composition, Andrew Ball for piano and David Fuest for clarinet. In Year 10 she secured a place with the NYO as Composer-in-Residence, before being elevated to Principal Composer. Alison Cox OBE, Head of Composition at The Purcell School, describes Lauren as ‘an outstanding, modest, generous young composer’ who for which ‘we are absolutely delighted has been given such high accolades and special opportunities by the National Youth Orchestra’.

Lauren’s commission for the NYO’s Winter Concert Tour, took inspiration from nature and particularly Chinese nature poetry. She explains in an interview for the NYO website that the idea grew from a one page sketch which experimented with a single musical line, played slightly differently by each instrument of the orchestra. The resulting sound ‘blossoms organically’, and it is from this foundation that she created Suspended between earth and air. Lauren illustrates this is a poignant drawing above.

Suspended between earth and air was premiered in Theatre Royal, Nottingham, and performed thereafter in Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London in early January 2017. It was also broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 6th January 2017. Reviewer, Roderic Dunnett, attended the Symphony Hall recital and greatly praised Lauren’s ‘largescale yet compact, beautifully argued piece’, referring to it as a ‘miracle of inspiration’. He further explains that ‘the work as a whole seemed both masterly in its vivid contrasts and the imagination with which the full orchestra was deployed in a series of dramatically counterpointed passages’. Roderic Dunnett’s full review is available here.

For more information about Lauren and the journey of her incredible score, please visit the NYO website.