Meet the Composer: Emily Pedersen

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Hear Emily’s composition in The Clements Prize final at Conway Hall on 17 October 2021!

Find out more / book tickets here.


I started writing music after I moved to England, when I was 12. After winning my county youth orchestra’s composing competition, I got more serious about composition, and I started to get some mentoring and lessons, and get involved with more competitions. This all made me love writing even more, and I’m now at the Royal Northern College of Music studying composition.

When I was thinking about writing for string trio and the aesthetics of the instruments, I remembered reading somewhere that the shape of string instruments is reminiscent of the female body. Reflecting more on this, I thought about the relationships people have with their bodies. I wanted to hear more people’s thoughts, feelings and stories on this topic, so I conducted an anonymous online survey. The responses largely fell into three categories, which make up the three movements of the piece. The first, “Beauty Vlogger Syndrome” depicts the fake, Instagram-perfect, artificially sunshiny version of their bodily relationship that many people try to show the world. “Skin Box,” the second movement, dwells on the reality many people face. An array of things contributed to people’s difficult relationships with their bodies, and the survey responses were very generous with personal stories, including those of eating disorders, self-harm and the internalised male gaze, all of which were incorporated into this movement. Finally, “Amen” (which translates as “I agree”) expresses the comfort and mind-body equilibrium people sought to feel.

My biggest project at the moment is my chamber opera, “Screenshot”, about image-based sexual abuse. I’m really excited to be working with a great team to create it, including Folami Prehaye, the founder of the organisation VOIC (Victims Of Image-based Crime). There’s still a lot to do, but “Screenshot” will hopefully premiere at the RNCM in 2022. Aside from this, I’m also working on a commission for the Hathersage Quartet (for whom I’m composer-in-residence), and collaborating on the music for an installation by a Manchester based New Artist’s Collective.

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