It’s been such a difficult time for the Panufnik Scheme over the past two years, with the 2019 group of composers having to wait a full year before their pieces were performed last March – it was remarkable that the LSO was able to do this at all, let alone so successfully. The 2020 group had hardly got started when everything ground to a halt, and with the Projects Manager, Tom Lovatt, on furlough for around 6 months, Christian Mason and I did what little we could to keep them going. I was able to organise a small-scale recording scheme for them in December 2020, which was released as an NMC download. We gradually got back to something like normal during 2021, and their pieces will finally get to be be played at St Lukes on March 31.
So it was a great relief that, with our fingers firmly crossed, we were able to welcome a new intake of 6 composers – chosen from no less than 270 submissions – earlier this month. We are organising a full schedule for them over the year; and here we all are in St Lukes for what we call the ‘Reality Days’ that kick off the programme. From right to left, Edwin Hillier, Robin Haigh, Litha Efthymiou, Christian Mason (Composition Support), Joyce Lam ( Projects Manager), Rob Crehan, Lara Agar, Errolyn Wallen (Composition Support, zooming in from her Scottish lighthouse), Rafael Marino Arcaro, Sarah Quinn (LSO violinist), Lady Camilla Panufnik, CM.