The Jane Austen Project is devised to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of her death on 18th July 1807. Five composers have been commissioned to write pieces for the choir. All the composers are local and have some sort of connection to the choir. The composers are Michael Neaum, Guy Turner, Robert Steadman, Chris Lawry and Nicholas Thorpe.
Michael Neaum was the accompanist to Cantamus, Mansfield’s internationally renowned Girls’ Choir. Newstead Abbey Singers have performed several of his pieces in the past.
Guy Turner is relatively new to the area and has written and arranged pieces for Southwell Minster Choir and Nottingham Bach Society. Travels with my pigeon was very popular with the choir a couple of years ago. Guy has chosen one of Jane’s poems – When stretched on one’s bed.
Newstead Abbey Singers took part in a performance of Robert Steadman’s In Memoriam in Southwell Minster. He has written a lot of music for various ensembles in Derbyshire and Lincoln and has judged The Nicholas Thorpe Composition Award. He has set I can listen no longer in silence, a few lines from Persuasion.
Newstead Abbey Singers helped Chris Lawry with his vocal writing by trying out one of his first compositions. His Love, peace and music stole the show in our 2013 and 2014 Christmas Concerts.
Nicholas Thorpe has been conductor of the Newstead Abbey Singers for 28 years. In that time he has composed and arranged many pieces for them.
Jane Austen wrote thirteen poems. Each composer has made his own choice of text from Jane Austen’s poems, prayers and other writings.
The first performance was on 8th July, 2017 as part of the Summer Concert at Newstead Abbey