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Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2015/16: Results

Young Musician
of the Year

Young Composer
of the Year



Competition winners

The composers line up at the Finals of the competition with members of the Ligeti Quartet (right) and Judge Ewan Campbell (far left).

The Finals of the 2015/16 Cambridge Young Composer of the Year competition took place on Sunday 1 November 2015 at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge with the audience treated to an impressive display of talent by the 16 young composers.

Listen to recordings of the winning compositions

The winner of the 15-17 age group and the new Cambridge Young Composer of the Year was 16-year-old Dominic Wills. Dominic won the prize for his composition 'The Balance of Power' for string quartet. Judge Ewan Campbell said the piece displayed very interesting chromatic, melodic and harmonic writing with some highly imaginative use of contrapuntal techniques.

Dominic, a student at Soham Village College, was presented with the Young Composer of the Year cup and a cheque for £50. As part of his prize he will also be invited to compose a piece for performance at next year's event. Highly Commendeds were awarded in this age group to Aidan Bennett, William Palmer and Alexia Sloane.

The 12-14 year age group was won by Jacob Fitzgerald, 12, for his piece 'The Powers of Nature' for two violins, which Ewan Campbell said included imaginative use of extended string playing techniques as well as some nice two-part contrapuntal writing.

The 11 and under class was won by Oliver Mavaddat-Rhys, 11, for his work 'Lost in the Mirror of Power' for string quartet. Ewan Campbell said he was very impressed by the creative ambitions of the piece which had some beautiful harmonies.

All the entries at the Finals were performed by the Ligeti Quartet whose members specialise in performing contemporary music as well as running education projects. Ewan Campbell discussed each work in turn and he and the Quartet provided feedback and advice to the composers.

Dominic Wills, Jacob Fitzgerald and Alexia Sloane are all members of Aldeburgh Young Musicians, a programme for talented young musicians aged 8-18.

Competition details and rules

Young Composers' Concert
In the evening the Ligeti Quartet gave a short concert at West Road Concert Hall at which some of the winning entries from the competition were performed. The concert also included the world premiere of 'escape', a piece written by last year's Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 17-year-old Joseph Reynolds.

Listen to a recording of Escape by Joseph Reynolds

Joseph said that taking part in the competition a number of times had helped him develop as a composer. "It is invaluable for young composers to regularly have the opportunity to hear their works performed and receive feedback from professional composers. I hope the competition is able to carry on supporting young composers for many years to come."






Competition Results

Dominic Wills

Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2015/16:
Dominic Wills

Age group 15-17
Dominic Wills
Highly Commended: Aidan Bennett
William Palmer
Alexia Sloane

Age group 12-14
Jacob Fitzgerald

Age group 11 and under
Oliver Mavaddat-Rhys

Ligeti Quartet

The Ligeti Quartet (Photo: Pascal Ancel-Bartholdy)