• Tue. May 28th, 2024

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Sunderland composer on point for proms

A music graduate’s winning orchestral composition celebrating the history of Wearmouth Bridge will be performed at a popular annual concert this month.

Cyprus-born Andreas Poupazis only graduated from the BA Music degree at the University of Sunderland in the summer, but already his very first orchestral composition ‘Wearmouth Stories’ has won this year’s entry of the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra (SSO) competition.

The orchestra will now perform the premiere of Wearmouth Stories at its annual promenade concert at The Point in Sunderland on Saturday, October 12 at 7pm.

While studying his degree, Andreas also completed a documentary film composition under the guidance of Lord David Puttnam after being selected as one of seven Puttnam Scholars during his degree. This is an opportunity to be mentored by the Oscar-winning film producer benefitting from his vast experience and learning about all aspects of the movie industry.

Explaining the inspiration behind Wearside Stories, Andreas, 27, said: “The composition is based on the Wearmouth Bridge, built in 1927-1929. Standing on it, a singular thought came to mind, the ability of the bridge to connect the people of Sunderland. This is not only in terms of, from one side of the river Wear to the other, but to connect them to their past. Therefore, my source of inspiration was to reach into the past to revive the forgotten stories of Sunderland and give them sound to be heard in the present.

“In the piece there are various sections, the main theme acts as the flow of the river. The melody suggests the steady look over the bridge, honouring and watching everything. This is highlighted by all its glory and joy enriched by the sound of the horns connoting the ships.

“Taking into consideration the complex history of the bridge there is a taste of sadness in the music itself suggesting the sense of falling.

There is a repetition in the music to represent how the bridge is a testament of time. The music transcends the audience to different periods in time through the sound of chimes suggesting the building of ships.

“Beyond its troubles the bridge stands the test of time proudly connecting the two sides but more importantly connecting the past, the present and the future for the people of Sunderland.”

Andreas added: “I am honoured that my piece will be performed by an orchestra. It is a first-time feeling for me and I am really excited about it. I believe the feelings will intensify during the live performance at

Proms at the Point.”

John Kefala-Kerr, Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Sunderland, said: “It’s really gratifying to see the first fruits of the University’s musical association with Sunderland Symphony Orchestra. The composition competition provides a concrete focus for BA Music students to respond to the specific demands of writing for orchestra and to engage with the various artistic and technical challenges that presents. Andreas’ artistry, inventiveness and diligence have resulted in a piece of music that invites listeners to make an imaginative association between the musical patterns and motifs in his score and the Wearmouth Bridge structure, river narrative and industrial heritage of Sunderland.”

Proms at the Point takes SSO to the City Centre as a part of its ‘Coming of Age’ Project, supported by Arts Council England (ACE).

Conducted by SSO Musical Director, David Milner, the concert will include ‘Flaming Tutti Celli”, a group of six local cellists, the Jarrow Choral Society performing North East Sea songs, and the choral arrangements of Phil Jackson’s “Sunderland”, a celebration of Sunderland’s heritage.

The ‘Coming of Age’ project enabled SSO to run its annual orchestral composition competition in partnership with the University of Sunderland, won by Andreas.

“The SSO composition competition is a great opportunity for SSO to develop its creative partnership with the University,” explained Mark Greenfield, SSO Co-Founder and Vice President.

“Andreas’s winning composition captures and reflects the flow of the River Wear through different times, with evocations of industry and ship building. We’re so pleased with the outcomes of our association with the University through new compositions enriching our repertoire with modern work and the avant-garde.”