Our music

Alison West has composed a cappella choral music since 2006, drawing on her extensive experience as a singer and choral director. Her music is atmospheric, evocative, and sometimes humorous, inspired by the natural world. Birds are a particular inspiration for her, and feature prominently in her work. She has collaborated with a number of local writers. These include: 

Donald Atkinson, a local award-winning poet with whom she worked previously on Rehearsing the Languages of Birds and Afresh, Seven Times, both premiered by the Hepton Singers, a local chamber choir she directed/co-directed for 16 years until 2018. For Alyssium she has set Watergreen her eyes, a setting for voices and harp of Don’s poem about the visionary writer Nan Shepherd and her life-long deep relationship with the Cairngorm mountains, and a short poem To Eros in winter. 

Amanda Dalton, local poet and playright whose works are regularly performed on national radio, and whose first poetry collection was shortlisted for the Forward prize. Amanda wrote several poems about the Brontë sisters during a writing residency at the Brontë parsonage in Haworth. From the parsonage is Alison’s setting of three of these, first performed by Alyssium in 2012. 

Enchanted is a setting of a poem by Angie Cairns, describing a magical trip to remote Scottish islands, which we performed first in 2010. 

Alison has set several poems by Emily Dickinson, whose body of work continues to be a creative influence, as is that of Edward Thomas, and that great poet Anonymous. Recently she has written new tunes and arrangements for several folk songs. 

A full list of her compositions may be found on her website: alisonwestcomposer.co.uk.