Photo of Alexia Sloane  

Alexia Sloane

Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2016/17

Alexia is a student at Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge. In September 2016, she started her studies at the Royal College of Music Junior Department where she is a First Study Composer and Second Study Recorder. She was an Aldeburgh Young Musician in 2015/2016.

Alexia has recently been successful in gaining a place as a Composer with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, an incredible achievement given that hundreds of highly talented young composers apply each year but there are only one or two places. She is the first blind composer to be accepted by the National Youth Orchestra.  

Alexia started composing properly when she was 12 years old. The themes of her compositions are generally nature, philosophy and psychology. She enjoys exploring the setting of texts from a wide range of cultures and languages, including Mandarin and Basque and hopes to add ancient texts from languages such as Sanskrit and Pali to her list.

She says about her composing: "My method of composing is very strongly imagining the pitches I wish to be played or sung, both melodically and harmonically away from any instrument. As a synaesthetic musician, I also think about the colours I wish to hear in the music and, much like a visual artist, how these are blended to convey the meaning of the piece. I write the pitches down in Braille music notation and then dictate them to an amanuensis, who transcribes them onto a notation software. My music is inspired by a wide range of philosophical, Buddhist, environmental and synaesthetic themes. The use and effect of silence in music fascinate me, perhaps as a result of my love of Buddhism."

Outside of choral music, Alexia loves to write for unusual combinations of instruments, using her synaesthesia as a source of inspiration. She is also fascinated by the use of music as a form of deep self-expression. She likes to remember what Sibelius said, "Music begins where the possibilities of language end".

Her ambition is to study Music at Cambridge and complete a postgraduate degree in Composition at a Conservatoire. She would like to become a professional composer or pursue a career in musicology.

Alexia's website