Two British men have been jointly awarded the prize for the Horniman Musical Composition Competition, beating entries from Indonesia, Finland, Greece and Russia. Compositions from 34-year-old Tim Watts (pictured left) and 27-year-old Adam W Stafford (pictured right) were chosen as the winning solo harpsichord pieces to mark the opening of a new keyboard display at Horniman Museum and Gardens in South-East London.
The competition was adjudicated by harpsichord player Jane Chapman and composers Alexander Goehr and Rhian Samuel. Chapman will premiere the winning entries The Sprawl and Vine, written by Stafford and Watts respectively, at the launch of the new ‘At Home with Music’ display in January 2014. The compositions will be performed the on a 1772 Jacob Kirkman harpsichord – one among the selection of keyboard instruments on display from the collections of Horniman and the V&A, spanning five centuries.
Stafford said of his win: ‘With this being the first competition I have entered, at the end of a year where I have seriously honed my compositional skills, it certainly feels like my hard work has paid off. I am extremely excited to hear it performed at the Horniman on such a wonderful instrument, interpreted by such an amazing performer.’ Stafford is a composer and arranger whose work has been performed at venues such as Bridgewater Hall and the British Museum. He is currently studying composition at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Fellow winner Watts works as a lecturer for the music faculty of Cambridge University as well as a teaching associate at St John’s College, Cambridge. Watts’ winning entry was his first composition for the harpsichord: ‘As a pianist, writing my first piece for harpsichord meant getting to grips imaginatively with a very different kind of keyboard technique, and expressive possibilities that felt equally and inspiringly exotic.’
At Home with Music opens at the music gallery in the Horniman Museum and Gardens in January 2014. To find out more, visit www.horniman.ac.uk.