BBC Young Composer 2020 winners revealed

Following a record number of entries, six talented young composers have been announced as the winners of the BBC Young Composer 2020 competition. BBC Young Composer is the BBC’s annual scheme for 12-18 year olds who want to write their own music, and aims to discover, nurture and showcase talent from across the UK.

BBC Young Composer offers a platform to budding composers across the UK to develop their skills, share their ideas with like-minded musicians and get their music heard. Formerly known as BBC Proms Inspire, the competition relaunched this year with a mission to reach a wider pool of talented young people working across different genres, instruments and styles of music – resulting in the competition’s highest ever number of entries, which more than doubled from last year.

The winning composers embraced a wide range of musical traditions, with influences ranging from hip hop, electronica, pop, contemporary classical and orchestral film music.

The winners – who showcase a range of different musical styles, instruments and originality – will get the incredible opportunity to participate in a tailored development programme, working with a mentor composer on a project with the BBC Concert Orchestra which will be performed and broadcast in a special young composers’ concert at the 2021 BBC Proms.

All compositions were judged anonymously and assessed on their compositional idea, creativity and originality. The 2020 judging panel comprised of renowned composers Shiva Feshareki, Sarah Freestone, Matthew Kaner, Jason Singh, Errollyn Wallen, Kate Whitley, Joanna Lee and Director of the BBC Proms, David Pickard.


Lower Juniors (12 – 14 years)                                    

  • Zac Pile – Voice
  • Matty Oxtoby – Les cimes des montagnes

Upper Juniors (15 – 16 years)

  • Edward Atkin – What were you wearing?
  • Rowena Jones – Spring2020

Seniors (17 – 18 years)                   

  • Jasmine Morris – Sirens for harp and orchestra
  • Gregory May – Toye 

Highly Commended

Lower Juniors (12 – 14 years)     

  • Leo Little – Desert
  • Annie Qosja – The Secret Trysts of Jersey 

Upper Juniors (15 – 16 years)                                    

  • Jack Robinson – Song of the Goat
  • Philip Theodorou – Harpsichord Concerto
  • Jacob Cavendish – River 

Seniors (17 – 18 years)                   

  • Ty Homer – Power To The People 
  • Joe Bloom – 2 Fragments of an Unstable Mind for Solo Piano
  • Josh Christie – Hold Me Close

Many of today’s leading composers are counted in the outstanding list of BBC Young Composer alumni, including Shiva Feshareki, Kate Whitley, Alissa Firsova, Mark Simpson, Tom Harrold, and Duncan Ward.

Jasmine Morris, Senior Category winner says:

“My family has played a huge role in shaping me as a composer. I was frequently taken to a wide range of concerts from experimental electronic to world music and contemporary classical which encouraged me to start composing from the age of 10. I’m thrilled to be one of the winners of the 2020 BBC Young Composer Competition and am super grateful for this opportunity to write for the BBC Concert Orchestra.”

Edward Atkin, Upper Juniors Category winner says:

“When I found out that I had been selected as one of the winners, I was stood at the top of The Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District – on top of the world both physically and emotionally. I felt a mixture of shock, excitement and pure elation. I’ve been composing for around three years in total, with influences coming from all across the spectrum of western classical music and jazz. I listen to everything from Bach to Jacob Collier and develop ideas from it all.”

Zac Pile, Lower Junior Category winner says:

I’ve been composing for as long as I can remember. Music production is an important part of my compositional technique and this technology has enabled me to write music in many styles. From ambient soundscapes, Hip Hop and R&B, to modern popular music with my band, I enjoy working in all genres. I love composing to visuals and aspire to write for film and television. I am so happy to be a winner of this competition and I’m excited to make the most of this incredible opportunity.

Composer and musician Errollyn Wallen CBE, a 2020 judge, says:

“Composing music is one of the most life-enhancing things anyone can ever do. You can be from any background and can start at any age. With ears as your guide you need only add curiosity, passion and dedication.

This year’s young composers gave us a wide range of music and astounded us with their imagination, sensitivity and downright brilliance. The future is bright.”

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