(Pictured: Finalists of the NCEM Young Composers Award 2014. Photographer Eddie Rolmanis.)
The results of this year’s National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) Young Composers Award have been announced. The winners of the 2014 award are 16-year-old Freya Ireland, 23-year-old Kerensa Briggs and Hugo Bell, 22.
This year’s award, presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3 and The Tallis Scholars, challenged young composers to set Lamentations from the Book of Jeremiah, creating a three- to four-minute work for an a capella choir, with The Tallis Scholars in mind.
Peter Phillips of The Tallis Scholars said: ‘We were thrilled that nearly 80 young composers wanted to take up the challenge of setting the Lamentations text. I was looking for music which I could interpret with The Tallis Scholars on a big occasion and so high was the standard that in the older age category we decided to give a joint prize.’
The Ebor Singers presented the shortlisted entries for this year’s award in a workshop setting on 8 May. The evening saw the group perform the young composer’s works in front of a judging panel comprising Peter Phillips, BBC Radio 3 lead producer Les Pratt and director of the NCEM Delma Tomlin.
Freya Ireland was chosen as the winner of the 18 years and under category for her piece Lamentations. The prize for the 19 to 25 years category was jointly awarded to Bristol graduate Kerensa Briggs, for Lamentations of Jeremiah: Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God, and Newcastle University music undergraduate Hugo Bell, for The Lamentations of Jeremiah. The winning works will receive their premiere in a performance by The Tallis Scholars at the Church of St John the Evangelist, Oxford, on 24 October. The concert will be recorded for BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show and broadcast on 2 November.
Delma Tomlin said of this year’s award: ‘We were absolutely overwhelmed this year in terms of both the very high standard and quantity of responses to the award. Live-streaming the finalists’ concert enabled us to share this wealth of new talent with an even wider audience throughout the UK and gave the young composers an immediately broader platform for the premier of their compositions.
The York concert performance is available to view online until August; http://new.livestream.com/YorkEarlyMusic/YoungComposers.