|Known for||Synaesthetic composing|
Alexia Sloane is a British synaesthetic blind composer and poet. She was the winner of the 2016 Cambridge Young Composer of the Year competition and also one of seven winners of the Classic FM/Royal Philharmonic Society 25th Birthday Commissions in 2017.
Sloane lives in Cambridge, England. Whilst Sloane was born fully sighted, at the age of 2, she was found to have an optic nerve glioma and she subsequently lost her eyesight completely in spite of a lengthy chemotherapy treatment lasting 18 months.
Sloane began composing seriously when she was 12. Common themes that run through her compositions are those of nature, philosophy and psychology, taking much inspiration from Buddhist, environmental and synaesthetic imagery. As well as choral music, she enjoys writing for unusual combinations of instruments and the setting of texts from languages and cultures such as Basque and Mandarin. The use and effect of silence in music fascinate her, as does the use of music as a form of deep self-expression.
Her compositional method is to strongly imagine the pitches she wishes to be played or sung, away from any instrument. She then writes the pitches down in Braille music notation before dictating them to an amanuensis, who transcribes them onto notation software.
She was an Aldeburgh Young Musician from 2015-2016 and is currently studying Composition at the Royal College of Music Junior Department in London. She has been a composer with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain since 2016 as well as with the Britten Sinfonia Academy since 2017.
In 2016, Sloane was the first female composer to win The Cambridge Young Composer of the Year Competition with her piece Passiflora. In 2017, she was one of seven winners of the Classic FM/Royal Philharmonic Society 25th Birthday Commissions. Her piece Longing for Equinox was highly commended in the 2017 BBC Proms Inspire Competition and she won the senior category of that same competition in 2018 with her piece Elegy for Aylan.
The following ensembles, groups and choirs have performed Sloane's compositions:
- Aldeburgh Young Musicians
- Block4 Recorders
- Dr K Sextet
- Hugh Watkins
- Members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
- Oliver Coates
- Members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
- The Children’s choir of Kings Junior Voices (Cambridge, England)
- The Choir of the Ladies Presbyterian College (Melbourne, Australia)
- The Girls' Choir of St Catharine's College, Cambridge
- The Hermes Experiment
- The Ligeti Quartet
- The Phaedra Ensemble
- The Senior musicians of the Royal College of Music
Sloane's compositions have been performed at the following venues:
- Cafe Oto (London, England)
- The Cambridge Guildhall (Cambridge, England)
- Emmanuel College (Cambridge, England)
- The Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge, England)
- Great St Mary's University Church (Cambridge, England)
- Handel House (London, England)
- King's College Chapel (Cambridge, England)
- The Royal College of Music (London, England)
- Snape Maltings Concert Hall (Suffolk, England)
- Southbank Centre (London, England)
- St Catharine's College Chapel (Cambridge, England)
- St George's Hall (Liverpool, England)
- Tate Modern (London, England)
- West Road Concert Hall (Cambridge, England)
As well as being a composer, Sloane is a recorder and flute player and was a member of the National Youth Recorder Orchestra. Between 2009 and 2014, she was a Chorister with the Girls' Choir of Great St Mary's University Church, Cambridge.
Sloane recently self-published Hushed Skies, an Anthology of her own verse. In 2014, she was the 14 and under Category Winner of The Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation. Sloane often uses her own poems as a source of inspiration to inspire some of her compositions.
- Article about Sloane on the Royal Philharmonic Society website
- @7 magazine show video on the Cambridge TV website, as broadcast on Cambridge TV, relevant section located at 4 mins 25 secs in.
- Adam Care, "Blind teenage schoolgirl named as Cambridge Young Composer of the Year for LGBT-inspired composition", Cambridge News, 11 November 2016
- "Classic FM’s 25th Birthday Commissions: the winners" article on the Classic FM website
- "BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition 2017 winners" article on the BBC website
- "BBC Proms Inspire" page on the BBC website. Reference to Sloane is located under the "Who were the 2018 winning and highly commended composers?" section
- List of prizewinners on the Stephen Spender Trust website