Welwyn Garden City composer wins prestigious national honour

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 December 2018

Welwyn Garden City composer Cassie Kinoshi's 'Afronaut' won a British Composers Award in the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble category. Picture: Liz Johnson Artur.

Welwyn Garden City composer Cassie Kinoshi's 'Afronaut' won a British Composers Award in the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble category. Picture: Liz Johnson Artur.

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A composer from Welwyn Garden City struck the right notes with the judges of a prestigious national music award.

Welwyn Garden City composer Cassie Kinoshi's 'Afronaut' won a British Composers Award in the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble category. Picture: Adama Jalloh.Welwyn Garden City composer Cassie Kinoshi's 'Afronaut' won a British Composers Award in the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble category. Picture: Adama Jalloh.

Composer, arranger and alto saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi won the award for Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble with her piece ‘Afronaut’ at the 2018 British Composer Awards, presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors (BASCA).

The composition was written for Cassie’s 10-piece band SEED Ensemble and features the spoken word of her friend and poet XANA.

First-time winner Cassie said: “I was very excited and happy, and very grateful BASCA decided to choose my piece.

“Lots of hard work has gone into the composition.

“This one is quite special because of the guest on it, and all the musicians and friends that are featured as part of the band.”

Afronaut features trumpets, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trombone, tube, guitar, piano, double bass, drums and voice. 
The piece was inspired by science-fiction literature of African-American author Samuel R. Delany, in particular his novels ‘Nova’ and ‘Dhalgren’.

“I tried to emulate or imitate the worlds that he creates in his novel, through music,” Cassie said.

Cassie was among 37 composers nominated for the British Composer Awards across 12 categories, including orchestral, jazz, sonic art, chamber ensemble, stage works and wind or brass band.

She was unable to attend the ceremony at the British Museum in London earlier this month as she was on tour in Brazil, with her parents accepting the award and speaking on her behalf.

Afronaut features on SEED Ensemble’s debut album Driftglass, on record label Jazz Re:freshed.

The album will be launched on February 1, 2019 at Kings Place in North London and released digitally and on vinyl a week later on February 8.

“It was actually recorded in October 2017 and a lot of compositions on the album I’ve been writing since 2015 when I was at university at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, so it’s a very exciting time for me and band,” Cassie said.

Cassie has composed music for short film and theatre, as well as jazz music, live performance and professional classical ensembles.

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