Six Young Composers win a BBC Proms performance, a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a coveted BBC commission

Today the BBC unveil the six winning works in their BBC Proms Young Composers Competition – the culmination of their annual Inspire scheme. The prestigious competition has attracted hundreds of entries from 12 to 18 year-old composers, all vying for the unrivalled opportunity to have their work heard by large audiences at this year’s BBC Proms, as well as receiving a sought-after BBC Commission.

Now in its twelfth year, the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers Competition continues to provide a platform for budding composers across the UK, providing what most composers only dream of - the chance to have their music played by professional musicians and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Entries of all genres and for any instrumentation are welcomed and each composition is judged on the following criteria - compositional idea, originality, creativity and appropriate technical ability. The only rules are that entries should last no longer than five minutes and be scored so that other musicians can perform them.

Past winners of the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers Competition include Thomas Hewitt Jones – now hugely celebrated for his commercial and ballet scores – and Alissa Firsova, whose first major BBC commission will be premiered at this year’s BBC Proms on Saturday 14 August.

The winners of the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers Competition are:

12-16 Category:
Sebastian Black from Colchester – Post-Scriptum
Kristina Arakelyan from Watford – New Year!
Benjamin Wetherfield from Richmond – Word in Edgeways

17-18 Category:
Jonathan Woolgar from Pontefract – Dead Sea Scrolls
Catherine Cheung from London – Fragmented Expanse
William Marshall from Wirral – Switch

Entries are judged by a panel of leading composers from varied musical fields, chaired by composer Fraser Trainer. He says “the overall quality and sense of ambition in this year’s entries has been higher than ever this year, so much so that more compositions have made it onto our shortlist than ever before. It’s a testament to the strong character, sense of adventure, achievement and wealth of creativity expressed by some of the UK’s youngest composers”.

Winning works will be performed by the Aurora Orchestra at the Royal College of Music on Monday 2 August, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Friday 6 August. (Fragmented Expanse requires a full symphony orchestra and will be performed at a later date.)

Each composer also receives a coveted BBC commission, this year partnered with educational charity Music for Youth. In 2009 winners wrote new pieces for the Last Night of the Proms and had their work broadcast to millions around the world. 2010 promises to provide another spectacular opportunity for the young composers and full details will be announced later.
The six highly commended entrants are:

12-16 Categories:
Alex Cook from Cambridge – Owl, Hunting
Owain Park from Bristol – Tears, Idle Tears

17-18 Category:
Azlee Babar from Manchester – Bleak/Brutal/Spectral
Sebastian Salek from Winchester – A Tale of Necromancy
Michael Anthony Hughes from Birmingham – Rondo for Two Guitars and Marimba
Joaquim Badia Arumi from Watford – Nana Lullaby

As part of the Inspire scheme, Composer Labs were held up and down the UK between February and April, giving aspiring composers the chance to join professional musicians from some of the BBC’s performing groups, top composers and the BBC Proms team in a day of music making, exploration and discovery. Young people brought along their instruments and ideas and created pieces which were performed by the world-class musicians in attendance at the end of each day. Labs were held in Glasgow, London, Cardiff, Cornwall, Birmingham and Manchester and attracted nearly 200 participants.

All entrants are also invited to attend an Inspire Day on Monday 2 August. The day provides an opportunity for young composers to meet professional performing musicians and composers, their peers and key music industry people, to participate in creative workshops and attend a BBC Proms concert.

Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms & Controller BBC Radio 3 says:
“The BBC remains one of the world’s leading commissioners of new music in the world and it is important to provide high level support to the next generation of talent. Through both the Young Composers’ Competition and the Composer Labs around the UK we aim to help the broadest range of young composers around the UK to gain skills and confidence in expressing themselves through music and also to provide a rich set of opportunities to the young composers of the future.”


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