National encore for Julian’s Glyndebourne opera

Julian Philips

Composer Julian Philips, whose Glyndebourne-produced youth opera Knight Crew was the subject of a BBC TV series and which won rave reviews in the national press in 2010, graduates today (Wednesday morning, 18 July 2012) with a DPhil in Musical Composition.

Julian’s three-year residency at Glyndebourne Opera House formed part of his Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded collaborative doctorate supervised by Professor Nick Till in the University’s Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre.

The residency culminated in a new work, The Yellow Sofa, performed at Glyndebourne in 2009. Now The Yellow Sofa  is to be revived by Glyndebourne this summer, followed by a tour that will take in a performance in the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House, London, in November.

Julian says: “The fact that this opera, written as part of my DPhil, seems to be entering the repertoire is a very positive message all round.”

The offer to work on the Knight Crew project, part of Glyndebourne’s education programme to introduce opera to a wider audience, followed on from Julian’s residency. It involved a chorus of 60 school pupils from Ringmer, six professional opera singers and Military Wives choir master Gareth Malone. Their progress was filmed for the series Gareth Goes to Glyndebourne.

Julian’s score for Knight Crew was based on a modern-day urban version of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table written by Brighton writer Nicky Singer.

Julian said of the residency: “It was an extraordinary opportunity to engage with opera in theory and practice. I’ve been able to absorb myself in this complex art-form and develop my own creative response.”

Professor Till said: “Sussex and Glyndebourne have collaborated closely on this project, which investigated the potential for a composer to develop new operatic works that are both challenging and accessible for contemporary audiences and has demonstrated the value of academic and professional organisations working together.”

Julian’s residency at Glyndebourne, in partnership with the University of Sussex, was made possible by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) collaborative doctoral award and funding from the Alan and Karen Grieve Charitable Trust.

Last updated: Monday, 16 July 2012