Words into Music: Continuity and Change – Working with Music

Deadline: 20 Aug 2021


2021 sees the Centenary of the birth of the Orcadian writer and poet George Mackay Brown whose work had such a powerful influence on the composer Peter Maxwell Davies. In an exciting collaboration between the George Mackay Brown Fellowship and Orkney Camerata, writers and composers are invited to create new work to mark the Centenary.

We are asking people to think about continuity and change – ideas which can be seen throughout the work of George Mackay Brown and which may have a particular resonance for us now.

In the first part of the project we have invited writers to create a short poem or prose piece reflecting, in some way, on change and/or continuity. Contributions are being published as they come in and you can read them here: Words into Music: Working with Words.

The deadline for writers’ submissions is midnight on Friday 21 May. From Monday 24 May all the work can be seen here and a PDF file will be available to composers.

From Monday 24 May, we are inviting composers of secondary school age and above to create a short piece of music inspired by one of these pieces of writing.


Composers should select one of the pieces of writing – or a section or quotation from it – and create either:

a) a setting for voice and instruments, or
b) an instrumental piece inspired by one of the pieces of writing – or a section or quotation from it.


Pieces should be composed for one of the following combinations of instruments:

string duo – violin/cello
string trio – violin/viola/cello
string quartet – violin1/violin2/viola/cello
mixed quartet – string trio plus one of the following: flute/clarinet/oboe/bassoon/trumpet
string ensemble – normally 6-5-3-3-1, though covid restrictions may necessitate reduced strings.
High voice (soprano/tenor) may be added to any of these combinations.


4 minutes (maximum)

It may be possible for composers to ‘meet’ with writers (e.g. on Zoom) to discuss work in progress; requests should be sent to Other queries may be sent to

Commission Opportunity
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