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NCEM Young Composers Award 2019



Winners Derri Joseph Lewis and Sarah Cattley

All the finalists

Liam Byrne
The 2019 joint winners (19-25 years) are - 'Dream Fever' by Sarah Cattley and 'Walls of Brass' by Derri Joseph Lewis. 

The winning works will be premiered by Liam Byrne at a public performance in Bristol at 8.00pm on Saturday 12 October at Glitch, 49 Old Market Street. The performance will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show.

For outline details of the 2020 NCEM Young Composers Award to be launched in November click here .  

This year's award was presented by the NCEM in association with BBC Radio 3 and virtuoso viol player Liam Byrne. It was judged at the NCEM on Thursday 9 May when Liam Byrne performed the shortlisted pieces in a public concert. The judges were Les Pratt, Producer, BBC Radio 3; Delma Tomlin, Director of the NCEM; and Liam Byrne.

Watch the performance of the shortlisted pieces below:

The shortlisted pieces were:
19 to 25 years
Sarah Cattley Dream Fever (joint winner)
Liam Connery Piangere, Affogare
Zakia Fawcett You were a great comfort to me
Matthew Fox Fantasy
Sam Gooderham Sonnerie 1982
Derri Joseph Lewis Walls of Brass (joint winner)
Caitlin Nolan Canonic duet for solo bass viol

18 years and under
Stephen Jesse Rees Fantasy Nocturnal (Highly Commended)


For two days leading up to the concert, the shortlisted composers took part in workshops and rehearsals with Liam Byrne, led by composer Christopher Fox.

The performance of the shortlisted entries was recorded courtesy of music technology students from the Department of Electronics at the University of York - Jacob Cooper, Tom Ewing, Luke Harte and Will Pitchfork. The recordings will be available to listen to on this page shortly.

This major national annual award is open to young composers up to the age of 25 and resident in the UK, in two age categories: 18 years and under; and 19 to 25 years. For the 2019 Award, composers were invited to create a Fantasy, for solo viol or for viol and electronics. The Fantasy is a form that has flourished since the Renaissance and is characterised by the elaborate spinning out of a musical idea; it is music that's all about invention. The Fantasy is also a type of piece where anything can happen and for this year's award we wanted to encourage composers to think about augmenting the sound of the viol through the use of electronics. We also considered compositions for solo viol that do not involve electronics.

Email info.composers@ncem.co.uk if you would like to be added to the NCEM Young Composers Award mailing list for information about future awards.

What finalists have said about previous Award Day workshops:
"I was delighted to have my composition treated as 'real music' rather than 'student experiments'. Really refreshing, encouraging and exciting!"
"I found having my work scrutinised in a practical setting both refreshing and enlightening"
"I learned how to make a piece that expresses my individuality while also catering to the needs and requirements of singers"
"Christopher Fox was gentle, kind and on-the-ball with all aspects that worked, and those that could be tweaked.... Excellent insights!"
"Composers are a special little community... it was fascinating meeting others... and I have no doubt some of us will be friends for life now!"

For further information see:

Downloads below

Terms and Conditions

Notes on writing for the viol and for electronics


The 2019 NCEM Young Composers Award is supported by the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust and The Radcliffe Trust.

Mayfield Valley Arts TrustThe Radcliffe Trust

The annual NCEM Young Composers Award was launched in 2008 and is the only such scheme in the UK. It offers a unique opportunity for young composers to engage with the instruments and performance styles of early music, and to work with a leading professional early music ensemble. In bridging the worlds of 'early' and 'new' music, the Award complements the NCEM's education policy, to support and nurture young composers and demonstrates to all participants that the music of previous centuries is relevant to today's creative endeavours.