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Composer creating bespoke tunes to help musicians get through Covid-19 lockdown

University of Southampton

By Ben Mitchell, PA

A music lecturer is creating bespoke compositions to help stuck-at-home musicians make the most of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Dr Matthew Shlomowitz, from the University of Southampton, has invited music lovers to send in requests for tunes for all types of instruments.

He has so far written 19 pieces for a range of instruments from recorders to cellos and piano.

The associate professor of composition in music said he came up with the idea after he began writing tunes for his own family to play during the lockdown.

He said: “We see all over the place that the lockdown is leading both to social kindness and new forms of creative projects that make sense at this time.

“As people have time and are looking to keep busy in a nice and meaningful way, I am also thinking a lot about how the pieces can be challenging for the musicians in a way that can be realistically achieved.

“I have been delighted with all the requests, getting more than I expected. Getting the video performances is the best part.”

Describing the variety of his compositions, Dr Shlomowitz said: “I’ve been contacted by a mother who wanted a very hard duo for her sons, playing bassoon and trombone, to keep them busy.

“I’ve also done a piece for violin, viola, cello, piano, and a piece for a professional cellist and her boyfriend – a beginner pianist who she is teaching – so the compositions are quite different and varied.”

Explaining that it was a different challenge from his normal composition, he said: “It’s different in the sense that the pieces I am writing for people at home are often for children and I want the kids to enjoy them so I am composing in styles I wouldn’t usually, although I always try to tweak those styles in my way.”

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