29th June 2021

First year Music student has work performed by BBC Concert Orchestra

Jacy de Sousa first year Music student at BHASVIC won the BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year for his age group in 2019. Part of the prize was a commission for a new work, to be performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.  Due to lockdown, the orchestra was unable to rehearse and perform the piece until this Easter.  Here's the recording of Jacy's composition: The Amazonian, recorded by the BBC Concert orchestra, together with Jacy's account of what happened and the story behind the piece.  Jacy has recently arranged choral and orchestral parts for a medley of songs from Hamilton, has led rehearsals for both and will be conducting our college choir and orchestra in a performance of this arrangement at the summer concert.

Jacy de Sousa first year Music student

My name is Jacy De Sousa. In 2019, I was a winner in the Lower Junior Category of the BBC Proms Young Composer competition. When I was in year 10, my music teacher asked me to write a piece following the GCSE fixed briefs for that year. The brief was to write the music to accompany the opening scene of a film called ‘Alien Attack’. After I wrote it, my teacher suggested I submit it to the BBC Young Composer Competition. The prize for winning was a professional performance, recording and radio broadcast of the piece. The second part of the prize was to write a second piece commissioned by the BBC Concert Orchestra and working with a composing mentor. The brief for this commission was ‘Exploring Sound’ (of the orchestra) so it was very open with regards to the topic/theme of the piece. I chose for my piece to be ‘filmic’ – I imagined a storyline of a film in my head, which told the story of an indigenous tribe living in the Amazon rainforest during the Portuguese colonisation of Brazil. I chose this topic because my dad is Brazilian with indigenous heritage and my mum’s parents are from Portugal – so it was a way of connecting with my roots! I decided to call the piece ‘The Amazonian’. I used lots of native Brazilian percussion instruments to reflect the brief of ‘Exploring Sound’.

The storyline begins with an Amazonian tribe hunting in the rainforest and then coming across a beautiful riverside. However, further down the river, the Portuguese fleets are docking along the bank. They are attacked by a different tribe who seem them as invaders. The leader of the Portuguese armies tells his soldiers to find all the tribes and force them to join the colony or wipe them out. Some tribesmen from the first tribe introduced are travelling downstream, looking for fruit trees, when they come across the Portuguese fleet. They hide in the bushes and watch what’s happening, but are spotted. They are chased through the forest by the Portuguese soldiers and are eventually caught and taken prisoner. They are marched back to the tribe’s village. The Portuguese threatens to shoot the prisoners if the tribe doesn’t join their civilisation. The chieftain refuses and the prisoners are shot. The Portuguese leader offers the chieftain one more chance, and the chieftain continues to refuse. The Portuguese soldiers proceed to massacre the tribe and destroy the village. It’s quite a dark ending but this is based on stuff that actually happened during the Portuguese colonisation.