John Sturt - Neo-Gaelic Dances

Workshop performance video


This piece was written for the Smith Quartet in early 2019 in response to a call for scores sent to the Masters students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. After several abortive attempts to create a piece, I finally landed on an idea inspired by the Gaelic Fiddle music of the Shetland Islands, having been encouraged to listen to the music of that region by Soosan Lolavar.

The piece is in a loose ternary form with a coda, and features a recurring rhythmic motif that I have engineered in various ways - modulating rhythmically and with altered harmonies.

Composer: John Sturt

Composer photo
Photo of John Sturt

John F. Sturt is an English composer born in 1995 to a musical family in East Sussex, UK. He took up the violin in 2001 at the age of six. In 2006, John was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph nodes), which meant taking a year off of school.

In 2009, John wrote his first piece of music – a piano piece. He set himself on the path of becoming a composer when he started having lessons with the Composer and Oboist Robert Hinchliffe in 2011. In 2014, John took up studies at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where he studied with Dr Deirdre Gribbin, Dr Paul Newland, Errollyn Wallen MBE, Dr Stephen Montague and Soosan Lolavar. He graduated with a Masters Degree in Summer 2020.

John’s range of compositions show great versatility: he has written for solo instruments, electronics, Chamber ensembles (including the Piatti String Quartet), and full orchestra. John’s career highlights include working with the celebrated poet John Agard in 2014, winning joint prize in the 2017 Ludlow English Song Weekend Composition Competition, being one of the artists in residence for the 2018 Talis Festival, winning the Trinity Laban Silver Medal for Composition, conducting the premiere of his orchestral/vocal cantata “Beyond the Cradle of Humanity” in 2018, and having his work featured in the 2019 Leeds Lieder Festival. Sturt is currently working on an opera with librettist Sophia Chapadjiev, to be premiered with at the 2020 Tête à Tête Festival.