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NCEM Young Composers Award 2018

Click here for outline details of the 2019 NCEM Young Composers Award, which will be launched on 18 November

The winning pieces of the 2018 NCEM Young Composers Award, Isole by Andrew Blair (19 to 25 years) and Bridge of Sighs by Lilly Vadaneaux (18 years and under), will be premiered in a performance by The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble at Turner Sims, Southampton on Tuesday 30 October 2018. This concert will be recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show at 2pm on Sunday 18 November. The award is presented by the NCEM in association with BBC Radio 3 and the award-winning virtuoso period instrument ensemble The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble.
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  • Andrew Blair, winner 19 to 25 years

    Andrew Blair, winner 19 to 25 years

  • Lilly Vadaneaux, winner 18 years and under

    Lilly Vadaneaux, winner 18 years and under

  • Andrew Blair, winner 19 to 25 years

    Andrew Blair, winner 19 to 25 years

  • Winners and finalists with ECSE and the NCEM team

    Winners and finalists with ECSE and the NCEM team

  • Lilly Vadaneaux, winner 18 years and under

    Lilly Vadaneaux, winner 18 years and under

The finalists were:

19 to 25 years
Andrew Blair - Isole
Harry Castle - Fanfare for a funeral
Sarah Cattley - The Basilica Remembers a Maestro
Caitlin Nolan - Canzona à 5

The judges also commended Max Gibson's entry, The Comfort of Strangers

18 years and under
Christopher Brain - Con Brio
Benjamin Gardner - A Mysterious Fog
Dan Gilchrist - Hymn to a Lost Age
Lilly Vadaneaux - Bridge of Sighs

The finalists' pieces can be heard below

The award was judged at the National Centre for Early Music in York on Thursday 10 May, when the shortlist of entries was performed by the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble. The judges were Gawain Glenton, co-director of ECSE; Les Pratt, Producer, BBC Radio 3; and Delma Tomlin, Director of the National Centre for Early Music. There were two awards: one for composers aged 18 years and under, and one for composers aged 19 to 25 years.

(NB: Content begins at 5min 28sec)

Earlier in the day the shortlisted pieces had been rehearsed in a workshop for the young composers led by composer Christopher Fox (Professor of Music, Brunel University).

The performance of the shortlisted entries was recorded courtesy of music technology students Archie Clifford, Dominic Richmond and Matthew Simpson from the Department of Electronic Engineering at the University of York.

The participants said:
  • "The whole set up of the workshop - getting to meet the other composers and hear everyone else's ideas, being given their scores to follow, and having Christopher Fox's and the ECSE's kind and expert advice - was unlike anything I'd done before, and just the most brilliant experience!"
  • "A proper recording with excellent professional players is such a valuable thing to have, as well as a lovely memento"
  • "The atmosphere of the workshop was really lovely and informal. I was nervous before but now I know I shouldn't have been."
  • "It was really useful to have an experienced set of ears [composer Christopher Fox] to help work on the piece, offering suggestions and possibilities that may have been overlooked. He was very kind about all the compositions."

Young composers resident in the UK were invited to compose a new piece to be performed by The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, scored for two cornetts and three sackbuts, with optional chamber organ. Composers were encouraged to look to Venice for inspiration for their piece, and to treat the cornetts and sackbuts as 'wordless voices', closer in spirit to a vocal ensemble than to a modern brass ensemble. 

Email and ask to be added to the NCEM Young Composers Award mailing list if you would like to receive details of future awards.

For further information see:


2018 Terms and Conditions.pdf

Composing for the instruments - recordings and history.pdf

Links to Venetian writing painting etc.pdf

The 2018 NCEM Young Composers Award is supported by the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust