Stowmarket: Composer’s bid to help autistic young people

Peter Cowdrey

Peter Cowdrey - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk-based opera composer is swapping the Royal Albert Hall for a barn in Stowmarket as part of an innovative project that will help autistic children get over their communication problems by mimicking local birdsong.

Peter Cowdrey is a composer and musician whose works have been premiered at venues as prestigious as the Royal Albert Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

However, Peter is also an ornithologist and has decided to combine his love of birds and music into a project helping primary school children get back to nature by recording bird calls, slowing them down on special equipment and then re-creating the sounds themselves.

Thanks to an Awards For All grant of £9,553 from the Big Lottery Fund, the Birdswing project, run by the Goldfinch Foundation, will be able to help autistic children suffering serious communication problems, in partnership with Lapwing, an organisation that supports young people with complex educational needs. The sessions will take place over 10 weeks at Brockford Barn studios.

It is one of 63 projects in East Anglia to share £470,459 in the latest round of Awards For All and one of 802 community projects nationally which have shared more than £6.6 million.

Mr Cowdrey said: “This is a really exciting project for us. Helping with children who have special needs is something we don’t have much experience of but the Awards For All funding means we will be able to explore new ways of working.

“I’m sure the kids will love it and it’s going to be fascinating.”

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