The ensemble and the judges were amazed by the number of entries and the extremely high standard of work. It was particularly pleasing to receive submissions from all over the world from composers of all ages, and in a variety of interesting styles. We thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the entries, and it was wonderful to see composers writing so well for the group’s specific requirements. We are delighted to reveal the winners of our Composition Competition 2016.
In the 18-and-under category, the winner is Joanna Ward, with For a number of coins.
In the 19-and-over category, the winner is Phillip Cooke, with Judas Mercator Pessimus.
The two winning works were given their world premieres on Sunday 19 June 2016 at St John’s Smith Square, and the winners formally presented with their awards. We also ran a composition workshop for entrants in the under-19 category with composer David Bednall; sixteen young composers attended to hear their works sung as part of a masterclass and concert.
About the winners
Joanna Ward – 18-and-under category winner
Joanna Ward is an 18 year old composer, pianist and singer from Newcastle upon Tyne. After enjoying composing at school, she was encouraged to broaden her horizons and take specialised composition lessons, and has done so at the Sage Gateshead’s Weekend School for the past two years. Her compositional successes thus far include being selected as a composer for the NYO; having pieces performed at the Sage (including a piece she wrote for their Youth Orchestra, Young Sinfonia); and having a piece workshopped and performed by Voces8. She also enjoys playing the piano and singing, and is a member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. She is currently studying for A levels in Music, Maths and Physics, and hopes to read Music at university next year. https://soundcloud.com/joannamward
Phillip Cooke – 19-and-over category winner
Phillip Cooke was born in the Lake District in 1980 studying at Durham and Manchester Universities before taking a PhD at Cardiff University with Anthony Powers. He was a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College, Oxford University and Composition Tutor at Eton College before being appointed Lecturer in Music at Aberdeen University in 2013. His music has been performed across the country by many of the leading choirs and ensembles. He is active as a musicologist having co-written The Music of Herbert Howells in 2013 and is currently writing the first scholarly book on James MacMillan. He is married with two children, lives in rural Aberdeenshire and supports Everton. www.phillipcooke.com
About the 2016 Competition [archive]
Composers are invited to submit a new work for The Gesualdo Six’s inaugural Composition Competition. The winning works will be premiered by the group at St John’s Smith Square on Sunday 19 June 2016. A prize fund of £1000 is available.
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the 450th anniversary of Gesualdo’s birth. Works by Shakespeare and words set by Gesualdo make up some of the chosen texts for composers to set, alongside poems by Christina Rossetti and Emily Brontë.
This competition is open to all composers, divided into two age categories: 18 years and under, and 19 years and above. The deadline for submissions is Friday 15 April 2016 at 5pm.
The competition is supported by St John’s Smith Square and Novello & Co Ltd, part of the Music Sales Group of Companies.
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We have included two texts by William Shakespeare in our competition: passages from Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice.
2016 marks the 450th anniversary of Gesualdo’s birth. We have included two texts that he set to music during his lifetime: Sparge la morte and Judas mercator pessimus.
Rossetti and Brontë
Composers are also invited to set poems by Christina Rossetti and Emily Brontë, A Birthday (My heart is like a singing bird) and Fall, leaves, fall.