Caz’s love of music began while singing in Gloucester Cathedral as a member of the choir at the King’s School, Gloucester. She began composing for the piano, her principal instrument, before branching into instrumental and choral music while at Cambridge University. She holds an MA from Cambridge and an ABRSM Diploma.
As a composer, Caz’s work has been premiered by the Brunel Sinfonia and the Red Maids’ Chamber Choir. More recently she has branched into work for theatre productions and short films.
As a viola player, Caz has played extensively with string ensembles, symphony orchestras and quartets. She has taught music for eight years in senior schools as well as working with students at the Bristol Pre-Conservatoire.
Caz’s choral compositions and arrangements have been performed by award-winning choirs, with her collection of songs ‘In Flanders Fields’ being performed by choirs from America to Europe. Click here to hear songs recorded live for BBC Radio in November 2015 and 2018. Click here to see more about Caz Besterman’s work as featured in the Bookfest Remembers concert. Click here to hear a performance by the Etcetera Civil Service Choir.
As well as pieces for choir and piano, Caz enjoys composing instrumental work. Her orchestral pieces have been performed in concert by the Brunel Sinfonia under Tom Gauterin and Mark Gateshill. She has also completed compositions for film and theatre projects. As a composer she has a wide range of experience in different genres, and can provide original and emotive music for any instrumentation or purpose.
Teaching & Training
Having taught music in senior schools for a number of years, Caz has a wealth of experience helping young musicians. She was a mentor on the inaugural 2012 ‘Soundtrack’ Project in Bristol, a project in which composers drew from the lives of elderly people as a stimulus for new compositions. Caz has directed school choirs and ensembles throughout her career.
Instrumental & Choral
Bristol Classical Players, Brunel Sinfonia (section leader), New Bristol Sinfonia, Bristol University Chamber Orchestra, Oxford String Orchestra, Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra, Cambridge String Players, Cotswold Symphony Orchestra
Downing College Chapel Choir, Cambridge University
MA (Hons), Cambridge University
PGCE Music, Bristol University
ABRSM Diploma – Viola
ABRSM Grade VIII – Piano (with distinction)
Caz is a composer able to evoke place, time and atmosphere in a mere handful of bars, whose scoring is at once beguiling and direct. Prodigiously versatile across the musical board, she continues to produce scores that get to the emotional heart of her source inspiration, be it film, a programmatic idea or an emotional journey on stage. Her idiomatic knowledge of the orchestra is also borne out in her strength as a conductor and chorus-leader, where she never fails to inspire performers and elicit their best from them.
International Opera Composer: works including ‘Stonewall’ (New York City Opera), ‘In Parenthesis’ (WNO), ‘Jack the Ripper – the Women of Whitechapel’ (ENO)
Over the past year, Caroline has been involved in a series of projects, workshops and rehearsals, taking up diverse roles as required: violist, conductor and strings coach, composing mentor and project manager. I was involved in a commission for a choral composition of hers and can testify to her excellent composing skills and ability to respond to a challenging brief. In all the above roles I have found Caroline to be very diligent and conscientious, showing great resourcefulness in each task and always putting in the extra effort to ensure excellent results. She is clearly extremely efficient and focused, able to juggle domestic and professional demands with admirable ease.
Director of the Bristol Pre-Conservatoire, Conductor of the Turner Choir, Director of the Bristol Ensemble Training Orchestra
Assistant Musical Director, The Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Musician, Kneehigh Theatre Company
Brian Parsons, Associate Dean of Theatre, Oklahoma City University
Director of Drama, Shrewsbury School
Testimonials for ‘The Pity of War’, World War 1 commemoration concert
Thanks so much for the opportunity to take part. We really enjoyed singing your music, and it captured the message of the evening in a really attractive idiom. Our singers got an awful lot out of the project. It was a wonderful and successful experience for everyone, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed taking part. A great performance all round! There has been really positive feedback from their parents, too, which is lovely.
Maureen Powell-Davies, Director of Music, SHS
I just wanted to say huge congratulations on all you achieved for and with all those children. They were delightful, and they delivered your pieces beautifully.
Val Withams, Choral Connections
It was wonderful to work with you; I was very inspired watching you. You’re fabulous with the children.
Clare Ashford – BBC Radio Shropshire – Event presenter
We wanted to say thank you for all your tremendous effort to make the Bookfest Remembers Concert such a success. it was a fabulous evening which we very much enjoyed. It was a poignant tribute to Wilfred Owen and all the other fallen soldiers.
Parent of choir member
Many congratulations for a beautiful event last night. Caz’s music was thoroughly fitting and diverse for the nature of the poetry and (X) really enjoyed participating in the whole day. It is such an important experience for them to make and hear music beyond what the music industry feeds them. Well done all.
Parent of choir member
Thank you so much, it was a wonderful evening and I was so happy to be included.
The whole evening was a wonderful event. Well done to you with your evocative pieces and well-prepared choir. It was a pleasure to play in it all.
(X) wanted to say thank you so much for asking her to play and for the experience of singing in the choir – she enjoyed both enormously. The whole concert was fantastic and a great way to mark the centenary of the end of the war. What a wonderful experience for all involved!
Parent of Soloist
(X) loved being part of the evening! Thank you for involving her.
Parent of Soloist
You must have been very exhausted and proud last weekend as the performance was great! Well done and many thanks for including us.
Alison Stevens, Director of Shropshire County Music Service,
Director of Shropshire Girls’ Choir
Thank you very much: I loved the first part of the concert on Sunday. Your works were great and such talented youngsters!
V – audience member
Caz, huge congratulations on pulling off a remarkable evening. You are super talented; the choir sang so well to your music. Thank you.
Parent of choir member