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Launch of National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award 2018

02 February 2018

Launched this month on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show, the 2018 NCEM Young Composers Award, in partnership with the broadcast station, will this year be in association with the award-winning virtuoso period music ensemble, The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, working in association with the Turner Sims concert hall at the University of Southampton.

Composers are separated into two age groups; 18 years and under and 19-25 years. Shortlisted composers are invited to York for a workshop led by composer Christopher Fox, with their pieces presented by The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble.  The winning works are premiered in a performance by The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble at Turner Sims, Southampton, on Tuesday 30 October 2018. The concert is recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show, an additional prized accolade. 

Delma Tomlin, Director of the NCEM says: "It's always a great moment to be launching the Young Composers Award, as we have become expectant over the years of a very exciting and challenging competition. Since we launched ten years ago, many talented young composers have emerged, who find this an excellent platform to showcase their talent and go on to make waves in the musical world.  For example, Frederick Viner, our 2017 winner in the 19 to 25 years category, is currently Composer in Residence at Eton College. 

"The NCEM is in a fortunate position in that we can say the award goes from strength to strength. Young Composers see their work rehearsed and performed by professional musicians and, through the partnership with the BBC and composer Christopher Fox, this is an integral part of nurturing composers of the future." 

The Award is open to young composers resident in the UK, who are invited to score their new piece for two cornetts and three sackbuts, with optional chamber organ. They are encouraged to treat the instruments like voices, rather than a modern brass ensemble, and to imbue their piece with the spirit of Venice.  

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 said: 'Talent development is at the heart of BBC Radio 3 and we are proud to continue our commitment to supporting the next generation of composers inspired by early music. Over the past 70 years the station has looked to provide a national platform for the stars of tomorrow whilst connecting audiences with a diverse range of exceptional new music. I'm thrilled that, through partnerships such as this with the NCEM, we can continue to amplify the creative voices of young composers by giving them their first ever broadcast.'

The 2018 NCEM Young Composers Award is open for registration until 11.59pm on Friday 16 February 2018. Applicants should email the NCEM at
Completed scores must be received no later than 5.00pm on Friday 16 March 2018. 

The Award will be judged at the National Centre for Early Music in York on Thursday 10 May 2018. The Premiere of winning works takes place in Southampton on Tuesday 30 October 2018.

Terms and conditions and details of how to take part in the NCEM Young Composers Award 2018 are available at:
For further information email:
Press Contact: 
Lindsey Porter, on behalf of National Centre for Early Music 
m: 07568 309154

Notes to Editors:
The National Centre for Early Music is administered by the York Early Music Foundation and funded by the Arts Council. 

BBC Radio 3 
Since it launched in 1946, the Third Programme/ BBC Radio 3 has been a bold pioneer in the cultural world. It is one of the world's foremost presenters, creators, commissioners and curators across classical, folk, world, jazz and contemporary music as well as drama, philosophy and ideas. The station has always nurtured extraordinary artistic talents, provided a platform for important scientific and political debates/ announcements, and broadcast ground-breaking experimental drama - always while delivering its core aim of connecting audiences with pioneering music and culture. The station is also the most significant commissioner of new and contemporary music in the UK, with 35 new works commissioned annually and broadcasts over 600 concerts a year, including live broadcasts from the greatest classical music festival in the world (BBC Proms). Radio 3's In Concert programme alone reaches the equivalent of 250 packed concert halls a week, and the BBC Orchestras and Choirs give around 400 concerts a year in over 60 UK locations.

The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble is a virtuoso period instrument group at the forefront of the early music scene. As well as giving recitals in its own right, it collaborates regularly with leading vocal ensembles such as Cantus Cölln, I Fagiolini, Trinity Baroque, and many others. It makes regular appearances at major festivals (York, Brighton, Dartington, Cheltenham and the BBC Proms) and is increasingly in demand as a recording ensemble.