Adam Possener and Christopher Churcher win 2022 NCEM Young Composers Awards

Winners Adam Possener, left, and Christopher Churcher at the National Centre for Early Music

ADAM Possener and Christopher Churcher have won the 2022 National Centre for Early Music Composers Awards.

Possener was victorious in the age 19 to 25 category with his composition 52°N 20.5° E; Churcher, the 18-and-under age group with Arborescent.

The final of the 15th annual competition, presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3, was live-streamed last Thursday (19/5/2022) from the NCEM, at St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York.

Compositions by the eight finalists were played for the first time by former BBC Radio 3 New Generation artists Consone Quartet, who specialise in performances with period instruments using gut strings. Their concert programme also included Franz Josef Haydn’s String Quartet in D, Opus 71 No. 2.

Dr Christopher Fox: Leading the workshop with young composers at the NCEM

The event followed a day-long workshop with the young composers at the NCEM, led by Dr Christopher Fox, Emeritus Professor of Music at Brunel University, and Consone Quartet, where the finalists – all based in the UK – were invited to enter into the musical sound world of one of the quartet’s favourite composers, Fanny Mendelssohn.

The 2022 panel of judges were: BBC Radio 3 producer Les Pratt, NCEM director Dr Delma Tomlin and Consone Quartet.

Churcher’s Arborescent and Possener’s 52°N 20.5° E will be premiered by Consone Quartet at Stour Music Festival on June 24, when it will be recorded for broadcast later in the year on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, the weekly programme that airs every Sunday from 2pm to 3pm and on BBC Sounds.

Consone Quartet with winners Adam Possener, third from left, and Christopher Churcher

Delma Tomlin says: “Once again, we enjoyed an array of outstanding music at the NCEM, and I’d like to congratulate all our composers for their outstanding work. It was an absolute joy to welcome them to our home at St Margaret’s Church for an incredible day of exploring the world of composition. 

“I’d also like to say a massive thank-you to my fellow judges and to BBC Radio 3; their continued support is invaluable and enables us to continue to stage this major annual award.”

Alan Davey says: “Music will only exist as long as young people keep putting their minds and spirits to it and feel compelled to keep creating it – breathing new life into the art form and bringing their own personal insights and approaches.

NCEM Composers Awards finalists with Dr Christopher Fox and Consone Quartet

“That’s why supporting young composers is one of Radio 3’s main missions, and we can’t wait to share these wonderful new compositions with our listeners on the Early Music Show and on BBC Sounds.”

The live streamed performance is available on @yorkearlymusic.