NCEM and BBC Radio 3 seek entries for Young Composers Award competetion

Wind-blown: The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble members Adrian France, Tom Lees, Gawain Glenton, Conor Hastings, Andy Harwood-White and Emily White

ENTRIES are sought for the NCEM Young Composers Award 2023.

Each year the award is presented by the National Centre for Early Music, York, in association with BBC Radio 3, who welcome the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble as partners for next year.

Young composers are invited to write a new piece for this virtuoso period instrument group based on a popular tune from the Spanish “Golden Age” of the 16th and 17th centuries, creating their composition in the same spirit by using the melody as a starting point for musical ideas.

The award is open to young composers resident in Great Britain up to the age of 25 and is judged in two age categories: 18 and under and 19 to 25. 

NCEM director Dr Delma Tomlin says: The Young Composers Award continues to be one of the highlights on the NCEM’s calendar and is an extremely important part of the organisation’s work.

“For the 2023 awards, we are delighted to be working with the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, an award-winning group with a host of distinguished recordings to its name.

“The winning compositions will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, a wonderful way to launch the careers of aspiring young composers.”

NCEM direcor Dr Delma Tomlin: “The Young Composers Award continues to be one of the highlights on the NCEM’s calendar”

BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey says: “Here at Radio 3, we believe that it is vital to encourage and support creative exploration, as this is the only way to keep classical music alive with the idea of an ever-growing canon, attracting new audiences with a sense of exploration and discovery.

“That is why we are so proud to partner with the National Centre for Early Music once more for its 2023 Young Composers Award. This collaboration enables us to expose our audiences at home to some of the brightest talents in Early Music practice, broadcasting their works on our Early Music Show.”

Gawain Glenton, the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble’s co-director, says: “A key part of our mission as an ensemble is to expand the horizons of our beautiful instruments.

“We’re therefore thrilled to return as the ensemble-in-residence and can’t wait to see what the young composers write for us. Pieces from our last appearance in 2018 have since become part of our core repertoire. We’re looking forward to once again showcasing the work of the UK’s wonderful young artistic voices.”

Composers must register their interest by 12 noon on February 17 and scores should be submitted by March 17 2023. Full details, including the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble’s guide on how to write for their instruments, can be found at:

The shortlisted composers will be invited to a collaborative workshop at the NCEM, at St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, led by composer Christopher Fox and the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble. In the evening, the shortlisted pieces will be performed with the judges present, when the two winning compositions will be announced. The NCEM will meet all travel and accommodation costs for those selected to attend.

The winning works will be premiered in a public performance at the Stoller Hall in Manchester on November 9 2023, when the concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.