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2015 Winners' biographies

Joshua Urban and John Goldie-Scot
Winner of the 18 years and under category:
Joshua Urben (16) 
Fractos Corde

The Latin title Fractos Corde translates as 'heartbroken', which emphasises the solemn storyline of Eurydice being dragged down to the underworld. A recurring theme dominates the first section of the piece, and the use of dialogue alternating between Orpheus and the Shepherd evokes the uncertainty of the situation. Following this, a romantic reminiscence of Eurydice is enhanced by the modulation to the major key, before an abrupt Presto-Agitato section. Sharp semiquavers build up the intensity and anticipation; then after the climax the music falls in consecutive diminished sevenths. Pathetic fallacy is used to enhance this dramatic scene, with piercing screams and shrieks of pain as Eurydice is dragged down to the underworld. After this dramatic whirlwind of emotions, the haunting theme returns in a recapitulation, with Orpheus mourning his loss and his pain. A last modulation to G major has a heavenly effect, with an alternation between G major and C minor, and a dynamic marking of pianississimo to 'niente' (nothing).
Joshua Urben is studying for his A levels (including Music) at Shoreham Academy in West Sussex. As well as studying advanced piano and clarinet, he sings in the Shoreham Oratorio Choir, recently performing Fauré's Requiem and Handel's Messiah. He has also attended the Sound and Music Summer School for young composers at the Purcell School, tutored by the composers Alison Cox and Kerry Andrews. He has had his work premiered in St Mary de Haura Church in New Shoreham and is currently working on a piano concerto and wind quintet. He hopes to study composition at a London conservatoire.

Winner of the 19 to 25 age category:
John Goldie-Scott (25)
Why are you in such a hurry?

In this piece, the narrator (bass) tells the story of a fight between Clorinda (soprano) and Tancredi (tenor). The dramatisation of the text is brought to life by a combination of the intensity and syllabic nature of the vocal writing, along with the instrumental 'accompaniment'.  Melisma is seldom used, as the inherent attack in setting music syllabically helps to drive the music and narrative forward, as well as likening it to a feisty 'conversation'. Harmonically, the piece is never settled. For the most part, the harpsichord plays a continuo role, with spread chords imitating the realisation of figured bass, sometimes trying desperately to control the harmonic language in a world of tension. There are occasional moments of stability, primarily symbolising the rare stillness in the fight. Just as the narrator commentates on the battle, so the instrumental ensemble also reflects upon and comments on the confrontation.

John Goldie-Scot was born in Hampshire but spent his early childhood in Kenya and Uganda. In 1999 he moved to Scotland and in 2005 he was awarded a place at St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh. While there, he won the Isobel Dunlop Prize for Composition, judged by James MacMillan. Following a BA in Music at the University of York, where he focused on composition (working mainly with Roger Marsh and Thomas Simaku), he went on to study for an MA in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music under Philip Cashian, passing with distinction. During his studies, he was awarded the prestigious Alan Bush Composition Prize for his piano quartet, PROCESSION, which was written for the Meridian Piano Quartet. Currently he teaches music at the South Devon Steiner School. His works include Long After I Am Dead ..., for the Edinburgh Incidental Orchestra and Chorus, Für Henze und Felix for solo double bass, Estul for Academy Symphonic Wind and Experiment 3 (for microtonal oboe and Max/MSP) for Christopher Redgate. Forthcoming commissions include a work for Torbay Symphony Orchestra and an educational collaboration with the specialist ballet teacher and choreographer Jane Keenan.