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NCEM Young Composers Award 2018

The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble

Gawain Glenton, co-director of ECSE
Registration is now closed. Thank you to everyone who registered. We look forward to receiving your scores!

Launched on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show, the 2018 NCEM Young Composers Award is presented by the National Centre for Early Music in association with BBC Radio 3 and the award-winning virtuoso period instrument ensemble The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble.

There are two awards: one for composers aged 18 years and under; and one for composers aged 19 to 25 years. The winning works 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 for broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show.

Young composers resident in the UK are 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. Imitating the sound of the human voice was a central aim of cornett and sackbut players, and composers are encouraged to treat the cornetts and sackbuts as 'wordless voices', closer in spirit to a vocal ensemble than to a modern brass ensemble. The central repertoire for cornetts and sackbuts is Venetian music of the 16th and 17th centuries, and composers are also encouraged to look to Venice for inspiration for their piece. See the Terms and Conditions for full details of the brief and how to apply. They can also be downloaded below.

Award schedule
Closing date for registration Friday 16 February, 11.59pm
Deadline for submission of scores Friday 16 March, 5.00pm
Successful shortlist informed Friday 13 April
Award Day at NCEM, York Thursday 10 May
Premiere of winning works, Southampton Tuesday 30 October 2018

Applicants must register their interest in the award by 11.59pm on Friday 16 February 2018 by emailing the National Centre for Early Music at and stating which age category they wish to enter. Completed scores must be received no later than 5.00pm on Friday 16 March 2018.

Those composers whose works are shortlisted will be invited to the National Centre for Early Music in York on Thursday 10 May 2018, when their compositions will be presented by The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble in a workshop led by composer Christopher Fox. At 7.30pm that day, The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble will perform each of the pieces in the presence of a panel of judges, after which two winners will be announced, one for each of the two age categories.

The Terms and Conditions and Application Forms, along with information on Composing for the Instruments and Links to Venetian writing and painting can be downloaded below.

Email if you are interested in hearing about future NCEM Young Composers Awards.

For details and winners of the 2017 NCEM Young Composers Award, and to listen to the eight shortlisted pieces, click here . See Previous Winners of the NCEM Young Composers Award here

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