Supporting the development of talented disabled composers
Raising the profile for disabled composers and developing their audiences
Signposting music creators to other opportunities
TDP Artist Profile: Clare Johnston
We’re delighted to be working with disabled composer and musician Clare Johnston (pictured above centre image) who is one of our Talent Development Partnership artists.
Clare is a wheelchair user with hearing impairment and lives near Edinburgh. She works mainly in Classical and Traditional Scottish Music genres and has a special interest in using new technologies to push the boundaries for these genres and the sound of the instruments that traditionally play them. Before our support, Clare had begun to work on some composition ideas but had not had pieces commissioned or performed.
As a result of being part of our Talent Development Partnership we commissioned Clare to write a new piece for iPad Ensemble which has been performed in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Norway. The piece showcases Clare’s world-leading work exploring and developing the iPad as a new musical instrument for disabled musicians. As well as creating a new notation system, Clare is supporting disabled musicians to develop performance techniques. For example, using bigger gestures to help make ‘playing the iPad’ as expressive and visually stimulating for the audience to watch as traditional instruments such as the guitar, drum and keyboard.
The challenges Clare has experienced of travelling across the UK to the live TDP performances have also greatly informed both Clare and Drake Music Scotland’s logistics and planning process. For example, allowing for more overnight stays before performances to ensure any travel disruption does not leave musicians tired and under pressure from rushed sound checks etc.