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UK Young Composers Award 2017 – Winners Announced

The culmination of the 10th National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award, presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3, has taken place in a performance-filled day in York, and has been won by Dominic Wills in the 18 years and under category and by Frederick Viner in the 19 to 25 years category.

Dominic's 'Salve Regina' and Frederick's 'Prayer from Afar' will be premiered by the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, during a high profile public concert given at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, on Saturday 16 September 2017. The performance will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show.
Young composers resident in the UK were invited to create a new piece of work for unaccompanied choir, creating a contemporary setting for the words of a great Latin hymn, either Ave Regina Caelorum or Salve Regina, two pieces that have inspired many works of the Renaissance. Over 60 pieces were entered, one of the highest numbers over the awards' history, to select the eight finalists.

The shortlisted works were performed throughout a day-long workshop supported by the York-based Ebor Singers at the National Centre for Early Music in York on Thursday 11 May 2017. This was swiftly followed in the evening by a public concert, judged by Peter Phillips, Director, The Tallis Scholars, Les Pratt, BBC Radio 3 Producer, and Delma Tomlin, MBE, Director of the National Centre for Early Music. 

Delma Tomlin, MBE, Director of the NCEM said: "The NCEM Young Composers Award has grown into a major event attracting composers from across the UK who rise to the challenges of listening to music of the past and then creating something truly unique for the 21st century - and all the time remembering that the commission is to write for a specific ensemble - in this case The Tallis Scholars.   These compositions were individual, creative and inspiring to listen to, and the young composers collectively a delight to work with.  I can't wait for next year - it is a truly inspiring day."  

Les Pratt, judge and senior Radio 3 producer; "The quantity and quality of entries this year is enormously encouraging, so much so, that it was tough to whittle them down to a shortlist and winners.  It was fascinating to see how the young composers engaged with these sacred Latin texts and used their creative minds to produce such imaginative and well-crafted pieces. Congratulations to all the entrants and especially to the two winning entries, which will be performed by The Tallis Scholars in Manchester, we can't wait to share them with Radio 3's Early Music show listeners in the Autumn."

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms, BBC Orchestras and Choirs: "Behind everything we do on BBC Radio 3 is a belief that arts and music play an essential part in helping audiences to explore the world around them.  Young talent, and new composers who share insights through music with our listeners in their own creative ways are an essential part of our commitment to connect audiences with remarkable music and culture. These are serious pieces that I am looking forward to hearing performed.

"As the most significant commissioner of contemporary music, we're delighted to partner for the 10th anniversary year with the National Centre for Early Music and, together, to continue to evolve and develop the canon of Early Music."

17 year-old Ely-born Dominic highlighted that it was an incredible privilege to have had his music sung by such impressive performers as the Ebor Singers. "I loved today and am really looking forward to September," he said.

Frederick Viner, 23, is from Tunbridge Wells, but is well known to York as he is a graduate in Music from York University, and is just finishing an MA in composition at the University of Oxford. "This was one of the most generous and informative competitions that I have ever been part of," he said, "To have worked with such dedicated musicians, and to have been given so much time to learn in this environment, it's very rare and I am so happy to be here and delighted to have won."

The concert performance was streamed live and is available at: @yorkearlymusic



Press Contact: 
Lindsey Porter, on behalf of National Centre for Early Music 
m: 07568 309154