Rebecca Rowe – composer
is passionate about bringing contemporary music to new audiences in a way that is exciting, challenging, yet meaningful and accessible. She is interested in presenting music in new ways, and in new spaces, particularly interdisciplinary projects involving musicians, artists, film-makers and writers.
Rebecca has composed soundtracks for animated films and theatre productions, and she has worked collaboratively with directors and poets in setting their images and words to music.
Born in South Yorkshire in 1970, Rebecca's musical training began as a cellist and pianist; early inspiration and interest in harmony and composition came from her studies with Sybil Pentith. Formative orchestral experiences were important, during her time in Rotherham Youth Orchestra; then enjoying somewhat of a golden-age during the 1980s.
Rebecca studied at Hull University, gaining a BMus(Hons) specialising in composition and orchestration, where she studied with Alan Laing who proved to be another tremendous inspiration. It was at Hull that her first commissions and collaborative work in theatre and film began.
In 1992, Rebecca relocated to Edinburgh, studying at the University with Nigel Osborne, for a MMus in Composition. Having begun her studies on the viola da gamba in Hull with Alison Crum and Graham Sadler, Rebecca became a founder member of The Squair Mile Consort of Viols, and is a former Artistic Director and conductor of Edinburgh University Contemporary Music Ensemble.
Rebecca has received great acclaim for her orchestral, chamber and choral work, enjoying many commissions from artists as diverse as The Dunedin Consort, Cappella Nova, The Hilliard Ensemble, recorder virtuoso John Turner, contemporary music ensemble ONE VOICE, Northern College Aberdeen, singer Steven Griffin, The Allegri String Quartet and the innovative ensemble Chroma, to name but a few. Rebecca received an award from The English Poetry and Song Society, for the 1994 work No Sad Songs, a setting of a Christina Rossetti poem.
Hugely interested in the immense power of music and image combined, Rebecca has composed soundtracks for animated films and theatre productions, and she has worked collaboratively with directors and poets in setting their images and words to music.
In 2005 Rebecca was invited to be a panel-member at StAnza, (St. Andrews Poetry Festival) where she took part in an illuminating debate on Words and Music.
Between 2010 and 2012, she worked on a series of multidisciplinary projects with film-director Alastair Cook.
The 2015 collaborative project ’Turning the Elements’, resulted in the commission ‘Three Pieces for Soprano and Clarinet’, for Frances Cooper and Joanna Nicholson. For this endeavour, new poetry was also commissioned from prominent Scottish poets Jane McKie and Stewart Sanderson, which formed the texts of the songs. This project, also involving visual projections, was unveiled at Aberdeen’s prestigious SOUND Festival as well as in Jedburgh for Scottish Book Week and at the StAnza Poetry Festival in St. Andrews in March 2016. In 2017, Rebecca’s new work Kaleidoscope for chamber sextet was premièred by the Chroma Ensemble in London. 2018-9 saw performances of Rebecca’s work in the innovative ‘The Night With…’ sessions taking place around Scotland, as well as an exciting new work for the group Fliskmahoy!, which premièred in Edinburgh in 2019. A new work for viola da gamba also appeared on CD and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Rebecca’s work has been broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 3 and The BBC World Service. Short films which she scored have been broadcast on STV and bought by BBC TV.
Known also as a skilled conductor and interpreter of contemporary music, she has conducted chamber orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and large choirs, ranging from children’s school choirs through to University ensembles.
Rebecca has been passionately involved in Music Education, working both in Adult Education as a music tutor for ten years, and as a teacher specialising in Primary Music Education since 1996. She has a wealth of experience as a conductor of young choirs and is currently undertaking research on musical creativity and critical-thinking in young children.
Rebecca is passionate about bringing contemporary music to new audiences in a way that is exciting, challenging, yet meaningful and accessible. She is interested in presenting music in innovative and creative ways, and in new spaces, particularly interdisciplinary projects involving musicians, artists, film-makers and writers.
© Rebecca Rowe Edinburgh 2019