In partnership with the ORA Singers Composer Competition
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Blogger in Residence: Rory Johnston

Rory Wainwright Johnston is a conductor and composer from Bradford-on-Avon, based in Manchester. He joined ORA Singers as our one of our ‘Bloggers in Residence’ in 2018, eager to share his experience of choral writing, singing, directing with the next generation.

About Rory...

Rory is a composer and conductor based in the rainy city of Manchester. Having just finished his Masters in Composition, he is gradually forging a path in the professional world of music.

Growing up within the English choral tradition as a treble at Bath Abbey, Rory’s musicianship was formed by composers like Howells and Byrd. Luckily having been played plenty of Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers on cassettes in his parents’ car as a kid, his taste broadened to encompass more than just the classical sphere. Nowadays, Rory enjoys listening to Renaissance polyphony and contemporary art music alongside R&B and 90's hiphop.

Rory is passionate about encouraging people to engage with contemporary music, opening their ears to new possibilities and sound worlds. He admires the ORA Singers for their commitment to new music and is thoroughly looking forward to working with them.

Tips for writing for amateur singers

For most of us, our first forays into writing choral music will come in the form of opportunities with ensembles we are associated with, whether that’s a school choir, a church choir - or even a children’s choir if you’re some kind of Mozartian genius…

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ORA Singers
Exploring musical textures

The voice is one of the most versatile of instruments. Aside from the standard singing of words on a melodic or harmonic line, there is plenty that a singer can do to create interesting sounds…

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ORA Singers
Behind the words

Leading on from the exciting prospects of Stephanie’s piece and the beautifully evocative poetry she is working with, I’d also like to bring us into the New Year talking about text, and how to decide what to do with it.

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ORA Singers