Freddie Meyers (21) is from Morden, South London, and is currently in his final year as a music student at St Hilda’s College, Oxford and next year he will be commencing a masters in composition at the Royal Academy of Music. He studies composition with Martyn Harry and Manuel Martínez Burgos and, prior to his time at Oxford, he had tuition from both Huw Watkins (RAM) and Martin Suckling (York University).
In 2012 Freddie was a winner of the BBC Inspire Young Composers Competition with his large orchestral piece, Three Apparitions, resulting in a performance by the Aurora Orchestra in an early evening Prom. This then led to the commissioning of In a Solitude of the Sea for small ensemble by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2015 while both pieces were broadcast on BBC Radio 3. More recently, he had his Sinfonia Concertante performed by the Royal Northern Sinfonietta in a workshop as a finalist in the orchestra’s Mozart’s of Tomorrow: Young Composers Competition. As a teenager, Freddie’s first compositional experience was with vocal music with his song for solo Baritone Remember that was performed twice at the Wigmore Hall in London in 2011 and 2012. Freddie returned to vocal music in 2014 as a finalist in the NCEM Young Composers Award 2014 with his setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah for Chamber Choir. Freddie became a composer with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2013 and during the year he had many pieces performed around the country: Fanfare for Brass Quintet in Belfast and Derry, Gyre at the Sage Gateshead and the Royal Festival Hall, and Altitudes, for string orchestra, at the Tate Modern, whilst an orchestrated version of Gyre was premiered by the Kingston Chamber Orchestra in June 2013.
Aside from composing for more traditional ensembles, Freddie has an interest in writing music for more unusual instruments. He has now written several compositions for early music instruments that explore the different tunings and timbres that these instruments present. He has written a Fantasia for voiceflute (tenor recorder), that was premiered at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London in June 2014, Quanta for baroque trio (recorder, viol da gamba and harpsichord) in 2015, Méditation for solo harpsichord in 2016, as part of Yat-Soon Yeo’s Froberger quartercentenary recital series and has just completed a work, Passacaglia, for baroque viola and harpsichord premiered at the Holywell Music Room.
In November 2017, Freddie conducted the premiere of his first opera, A Sketch of Slow Time, based on the 1908 affair of Mathilde Schönberg (wife of Arnold Schönberg) with the artist Richard Gerstl and tragedy that unfolds as a result.
At Oxford, Freddie has had many compositional opportunities. He has been commissioned twice by the Oxford University Brass Band to write pieces—The Dragon Curve (2016) and Griffin (2017)—as part of their programme at the national university brass band championship, UniBrass. He has also written pieces commissioned by his fellow students, having his Sonata for Solo Horn and Piano premiered in JDP Concert Hall in November 2016.
Aside from his composition, Freddie is also a keen conductor, having conducted the Oxford University Sinfonietta as well as his own 18th-century period instrument orchestra that is based at St Hilda’s College. This ensemble focuses on performing less known baroque and classical works some of which have included concerts for viola d’amore and double bass as well as the modern premiere of a orchestral piece by the English composer, William Bates (c.1750–c.1780).