news_2012_05_01The NCEM Composers Award 2012, presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3 and The Tallis Scholars, has been won by Alex Woolf (16) in the under 18 years category and by Benjamin Rowarth (20) in the 19 to 25 years category.

Lux Aeterna by Alex Woolf and Where is Thy God? by Benjamin Rowarth will be premièred by The Tallis Scholars in Durham Cathedral as part of its Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on Saturday 2 June 2012. This concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show on Sunday 1 July 2012.

Young composers, resident in the UK, were invited to write a new piece of between three to four minutes’ duration specifically with The Tallis Scholars in mind, taking as their starting point the In Nomine theme from John Taverner’s Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas. Seven finalists were selected and invited to the National Centre for Early Music in York on Thursday 17 May, when their entries were work-shopped by The Ebor Singers and Christopher Fox, Composer and Professor in Music, Brunel University, London.

At 7.30pm on the same day, The Ebor Singers, directed by Paul Gameson, performed each of the pieces at a public concert. The concert was given in front of a panel of judges comprising Chris Wines, Senior Music Producer, BBC Radio 3; Peter Phillips, Director of The Tallis Scholars and Delma Tomlin, Director of the National Centre for Early Music.

Delma Tomlin said: “We have been absolutely thrilled, with not only the standard of entries, but the range and diversity of ideas around the given theme. It has been truly inspiring to see our youngest entrant so far, 12 year old Aidan Tulloch, compete on the same platform as composers twice his age and to witness the obvious enthusiasm amongst all finalists to work together to learn and enjoy their time at the NCEM. The winners’ pieces will sound spectacular in Durham Cathedral and have very obviously been written for The Tallis Scholars’ unique sound.”

Peter Phillips Director of The Tallis Scholars added: “With The Tallis Scholars I have created an instrument which has a very distinctive sound. I can’t think of anything more useful than to put this highly trained instrument at the disposal of these inspiring young composers and am hugely appreciative that they have written so well for us. I find it thrilling to perform works by a 16 year old and a 22 year old and really hope this Award will encourage them to develop their styles and write for many different kinds of ensembles.”

Chris Wines, Senior Music Producer, BBC Radio 3 commented: “As the home of classical music, BBC Radio 3 is proud to partner again with such an inventive Award. The NCEM Composers Award and Radio 3 share the genuine desire to bring together classical music, talent and youth, with the award offering a crucial platform for young composers to create and express themselves through early music. This year’s entries attracted a fantastically rich and broad range of imaginative entries and two very deserving winners. We look forward to sharing their music with our many listeners.”

All compositions from the seven finalists were recorded by music technology students from the Department of Electronics at the University of York and will be available to hear on the NCEM website shortly at:

Tickets for the concert in Durham Cathedral on Saturday 2 June 2012 are available from the Gala Theatre Box Office, Durham.

T: 0191 332 4041 and priced £30, £20, £10 (£25, £17, £7 concessions).