Project Remix: The music of Netflix

Project Remix

Four Composition students were given the opportunity recently to take part in Project Remix, where young musicians are mentored by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) players before performing in a concert at Symphony Hall.

The theme for Project Remix this year was ‘From the Small Screen’, and four student composers Vinicius Motta, Ella-Rose Rayner, Katherina Hristova and James Sharif selected the theme tunes from Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’, ‘Wednesday’, and ‘The Witcher’ for their arrangements.

Brazilian-English fourth-year student Vinicius arranged Squid Game’s ‘Pink Soldiers’ song. He maintained the motif’s repetition, while adding more elements to the work. These included dynamic changes in timbre, a rich harmonic language, and a gradual layering of instruments.

Vinicius said: “This arrangement served as the opening piece for the concert at Symphony Hall, marking my debut at this prestigious venue.

It was a memorable experience, not only because my work was being performed by brilliant young musicians, but also because it was my first time at Symphony Hall, and I was opening the concert. The orchestra nailed my arrangement! “I am thankful to CBSO and RBC for providing me with this opportunity, as it allowed me to expand my knowledge of composing and arranging for performers of varying skill levels while having the chance to hear my work being performed at a world-class venue.”

Third-year student Ella-Rose portrayed the mysterious and eerie atmosphere of ‘Wednesday’, composed by Danny Elfman, in her arrangement. Ella’s approach to writing typically comes from improvising on flute and piano.

Ella-Rose said: “As there are many motifs throughout this work, I decided to keep the original length of the piece (one minute), rather than extending it to maintain the original atmosphere. For my first orchestral arrangement, it was special, as it’s a Danny Elfman piece and I really enjoy his work.”

Fourth-year student Katherina kept her arrangement of ‘The Witcher’ close to the original, while also including some creative and unexpected turns.

As a composer, she likes to connect to the audience through her harmonic and melodic content, which is why the calmer sections in combination with a lighter orchestration were used to incorporate more lyrical ideas in the arrangement.

Katherina said: “The score peaks at the end, when it picks up full pace, is high on energy and is moving towards the last chord where it finishes boldly.”

Third-year student James loves the music from ‘The Witcher’. He arranged ‘The Wolven Story’ with the goal of using a large ensemble to convey their growth. The piece starts with a solo but gradually builds up until the full ensemble is in full swing.

James said: “On hearing I was going to be orchestrating ‘The Wolven Storm’ (Priscilla’s Song) by Marcin Przybyłowicz, I was over the moon! The original song is about the love between Geralt and Yennifer, and it represents the strong connection they’ve developed throughout their story.

“I’ve had an amazing time working with conductor Mark Goodchild and everyone at Project Remix. It’s been so inspiring to hear these talents.”

Head of Composition Joe Cutler said: “It's very exciting to see our composers collaborating with CBSO's Learning and Participation Team on this fantastic project. It's so important that our talented composers have the opportunity to work with and inspire the next generation of musicians from the region, and it was thrilling for them to hear their music performed to such a large audience at Symphony Hall.”

Pictured: Student composer James Sharif

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