Composer Residency Program



Matthew Olyver

I am a British composer based in London, and I am very excited to be the composer in residence for the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra. I am thrilled to have the chance to form a long-term relationship with this top young professional orchestra and see many of future compositions come to life with them.

My musical journey began with playing the viola in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Essex Youth Orchestra. During this time, I was lucky enough to be able to play a huge variety of music, ranging from Gustav Mahler to George Benjamin. I spent as much time as I could during this period (roughly 2009-2012) writing music while soaking up the influence of the great old and new music I was playing. I have never understood the trend we almost invariably see now of segregating music by dead composers from music by living composers by assigning new music to a subsidiary role and programming it separately. It was my dream to be able to one day hear my orchestral music played alongside the music I was playing in the orchestra. What excites me most about the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra is its strong commitment to programming old music alongside new music and allowing them both to exist in the same world. Currently, I am working closely with Isolda, the director of the orchestra, on a new realization of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for a world premiere at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Following on from these earlier experiences I read Music at the University of Bristol and I completed my Masters in composition at the Royal Academy of Music with a DipRAM prize for an outstanding composition portfolio. I am currently studying for my PhD at the Academy. I have been lucky enough to enjoy premieres of multiple orchestral and smaller scale works in Mainland Europe. Highlights have included my 2016 Ballet Film Score for the feature film Iris Warriors, which was recorded by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra in the Radio Station of Bratislava, as well as a 2017 commission from the international viola soloist Timothy Ridout for the Gasteig Concert Hall in Munich. For 2018 I wrote a piece for the internationally acclaimed Recorder Quartet Block4, which was premiered in Amsterdam earlier this year at the ‘Les Goûts Réunis’ Festival. I am very excited to return to Amsterdam with the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra later this year.

Lara Poe

I am a Finnish-American composer currently based in London, and I’m thrilled to be working as composer in residence with the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra.  Having an opportunity to develop a working relationship with this young, dynamic professional orchestra is very exciting. 

As far back as I remember, there was a piano in my family’s home, which my dad would practice on in the evenings.  Neither of my parents are professional musicians, but they enjoy taking part in music making and listening, and would take me to many concerts.  My initial training began as a pianist, although I took up composing shortly after I started piano and have continued to both perform and write ever since.  Initially, I took lessons at a local music school, but transitioned to New England Conservatory’s preparatory school soon after, where I studied with Rodney Lister.  One of the things I enjoyed most about this program was that I had many opportunities to write for my peers, which is something that remains important in my work today.  I will continue to explore this aspect of my work with this new opportunity to write for Moonlight and work with individual members within the orchestra. 

Following my initial training at NEC Prep, I received a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University, where I studied with a variety of people, including Alex Mincek and Joshua Fineberg.  Currently, I am finishing up my masters at the Royal College of Music as a student of Kenneth Hesketh, and supported by a Big Give Scholarship.  The RCM has also provided me with many great performance opportunities, including a new chamber opera that was just premiered in the Britten Theatre.  Next year, I will be working with the Megalopolis Saxophone orchestra, who are based in Boston and NYC, on a new commission, as well as the accordion/percussion duo km2, who are based in Copenhagen and Helsinki.  I am also taking part in the LSO Panufnik Scheme, which is an exciting opportunity that will result in the LSO workshopping a three-minute long orchestral piece next March.