There was plenty of creative talent on show at the seventh Young Composers’ Competition run by Petersfield Musical Festival in association with The Michael Hurd Fund for Young Musicians. Musical entries ranged from a movement for solo piano to a full string quartet. For the first time in the history of the competition, composers were allowed to submit their music digitally as well as via live performance.

Winners Festival of Young Composers 2021-22

Clockwise from top:
Jlll Jarman with Shoshana Yugin-Power and Hiroko Banks
Jonathan Willcocks with Thomas Mann
Joanthan Willcocks with the string quartet

 

The winner in the under-14 category (recorded performance) was Thomas Mann with a piano sonata called The Monster Wakes Up, Thomas was praised by the judges for the narrative flow, drama and playability of his piece. Certificates of Merit were awarded to Simon Lloyd for Squirrels, work for trumpet and piano, and Thomas Bagshaw for his March for Trombones and Timpani.

Shoshana Yugin-Power gave an assured and convincing performance of her extremely imaginative piece for solo flute (with piano accompaniment) called Elemental Electrons. The work ingeniously combined her love of music and science, with each of the short sections evoking a chemical element from the periodic table – ‘a genius idea’ in the words of one of the judges. Anyone intrigued can hear Shoshana perform her composition during the youth concert on 21 March at Petersfield’s Festival Hall. Shoshana will also be performing on 22 March at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield, as part of this year’s Petersfield Musical Festival lunchtime concert programme.

The first prize in the 17 years and under section was a very accomplished string quartet by Laurence Horwood. Appropriately named Exultant, the work was highly idiomatic, based on a classical model. The piece was performed to a high standard by Laurence’s fellow students from Churcher’s College. The judges praised Laurence’s use of colour, texture and natural capacity to write for stringed instruments, as well as his ability to share thematic material between all four instruments.

William Hammond’s evocative piece for solo piano, The Onset of Winter, was awarded second prize in the 17 years and under section, and was praised for its unified style, pianistic virtuosity and poignant opening.

This year’s judges were Jonathan Willcocks, composer and conductor and president of the Festival; Dr Jill Jarman, composer and lecturer at Chichester University; and Philip Young, chairman of the Festival and former director of studies at Bedales School.

‘Every composer is a winner,’ said Philip Young, emphasizing the challenges of creating music. He congratulated all the entrants for their originality and imagination.

The winning compositions in the live performance categories will be performed during the Festival at the youth concert on 21st March in Petersfield’s Festival Hall.

This year entrants were able to present their music either through a live performance or as a digital recording. In either case, entrants had to submit a written or printed score by the closing date and attend the Performance and Adjudication Day when their compositions were played. The categories and conditions for the competition are set out below.


 Category A with live performance 

Age on
6 Dec 2021
Composition
Time Limit
   
14 and under Under 4 minutes First Prize
Runner Up
£100
£50
16 and under Under 5 minutes First Prize
Runner Up
£150
£75
19 and under Under 6 minutes First Prize
Runner Up
£200
£100

 

  1. All entries must be accompanied by a written, printed or digital copy of the score and may optionally include a CD or audio file of a performance. The writing down of the composition, whether in manuscript or using a score-writing program, must be the composer’s own work.
  2. All compositions in Category A must be played and/or sung live at the Performance and Adjudication Day on Sunday 6 Feb 2022. Composers are responsible for providing players and/or singers, and any instruments other than piano. A piano will be available at the venue. The quality of the live performance will not be assessed but the performance should display the effectiveness of the composition. Any improvisation or partially notated parts must be performed or directed by the composer. The use of backing tracks is not allowed.
  3. Compositions in Category A may use any combination of voices and instruments for up to twelve performers.
  4. Selected winning compositions in Category A will be performed during the Petersfield Musical Festival at a Youth Concert in March 2022.

 Category B with score and recorded submission 

Age on
6 Dec 2021
Composition
Time Limit
   
14 and under Under 4 minutes First Prize £50
16 and under Under 5 minutes First Prize £75
19 and under Under 6 minutes First Prize £100

 

  1. All entries must be accompanied by a written, printed or digital copy of the score, and a CD or audio file of the composition. The writing down of the composition, whether in manuscript or using a score-writing program, must be the composer’s own work.
  2. In Category B entrants must attend the Performance and Adjudication Day on Sunday 6 Feb 2022 when the recording of their composition will be played.

The following points apply to both Category A and B

  1. Scores should include details of the duration of the piece, including metronome and tempo indications. Pieces which exceed the maximum time may be disqualified.
  2. Vocal compositions may use words by the composer or from any other source. The quality of the words will not form part of the assessment.
  3. The adjudicators will be Jonathan Willcocks, composer and conductor, and formerly Director of the Junior Department, Royal Academy of Music, Dr Jill Jarman, composer and jazz pianist and Associate Lecturer for Music, University of Chichester, and Philip Young, Chairman of Petersfield Musical Festival and former Director of Studies, Bedales School. All candidates will receive written and spoken adjudications at the Performance and Adjudication Day. Prizes will be awarded at the adjudicators’ discretion. Their decisions are final and no further discussion will be entered into.
  4. All entries will be evaluated using the same criteria. These will include technical knowledge appropriate to the style; idiomatic, resourceful and appropriate use of instruments and/or voices; quality of written presentation; creativity and imagination; effectiveness in performance.
  5. The composer and a guarantor (teacher, parent or guardian) must sign to confirm that the composition is the entrant’s original and unaided work. This does not exclude general guidance such as might be given during composition lessons or in the preparation of a composition for a public examination.
  6. To comply with the objectives of the Michael Hurd Fund, prize winners will be required to account for their use of the prize money in furthering their musical studies.