Profile: Lucy Armstrong – Composer

Take a bow, Lucy Armstrong. Lucy cheerfully stepped in to conduct the Meon Valley Orchestra for its appearance at the Meonstoke Christmas Fair. With hardly any notice and without prior rehearsal, Lucy deputised for the MVO’s conductor Lorrain Masson who was committed to a gig elsewhere.

Admittedly, the repertoire was only made up of standard Christmas carols. These were pretty straightforward, Yuletide numbers designed to create the right ambience for adults and children wandering round the stalls loaded with cakes, toys, books, bottles of Christmas cheer and so forth. After the more challenging music which the Orchestra has been rehearsing this year the ensemble was having a great time playing this simple stuff.

Wearing Santa hats and with music stands festooned with tinsel, the MVO were in fine fettle. Lucy’s infectious jollity got the band playing with festive bounce from the very start. Her clear conducting style left nothing to chance. She brought every section in right on cue getting the most out of the entire ensemble.

No wonder the carols were a piece of cake for Lucy. Although only in her mid-twenties, she is already an accomplished musician, conductor and busy composer.

Flute was her first instrument but she plays piano and violin. She previously studied at the Royal Northern School of Music and is currently at the Guildhall School of Music studying under Adam Gorb and Gary Carpenter.

Lucy was recently commissioned by the Bergen National Opera to write the chamber opera, Nadja’s Song. It was premiered in Bergen but was subsequently performed at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival in London and later in Bogota in Colombia. Other recent commissions include the Size Zero Opera, the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra, the Borealis Saxophone Quartet and A4 Brass.

Lucy Armstrong is the daughter of saxophonist and fiddle player Annabel Armstrong, one of the founders of the Meon Valley Orchestra. It began as a handful of folk musicians who called themselves the Meonstoke Village Band. As musicians continued to come and join from further afield this expanded into a full-blown orchestra. At the Meonstoke Christmas Fair on the eighth of December the MVO had come back to its roots.

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