Will May

Alchemist in the City
for string quartet

duration: 5 minutes

Alchemist in the City
The title "Alchemist in the City" is taken from an early Gerald Manley Hopkins poem. The piece was originally commissioned by the Royal Northern College of Music as part of their Quartetfest 2000. The piece, not a string quartet in the strict classical sense, is composed in an imagined folk idiom. The work derives much of its material from its opening five-note sequence, and is characterised by rustic verve and an insistent cello pizzicato.

Will May is a nineteen year-old composer from Somerset. Whilst at Wells Cathedral School, he studied composition for two years with Richard Baker. He is now in his second year of reading English at Balliol College, Oxford. He has completed commissions for Suffolk County Council, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Oxford University Drama Society. He has also been appointed director of the Balliol Composers’ Ensemble. This is the first time one of his works has appeared on the spnm shortlist.

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