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Young composer competition seeks talent from the next generation

By David Porter

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BBC Young Composer has launched countless musical careers since its inception in 1998.

Formerly known as the BBC Proms Inspire competition, since rebranding in 2020 with a mission to reach a wider pool of talent, last year saw the highest ever number of entries.

Entrants embraced a wide range of musical styles, with influences ranging from hip-hop and electronica to contemporary classical and orchestral film music.

Inspiration for their works came from a wide variety of subjects, including racial identity, the natural world and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The BBC Young Composer competition has opened for entries.
The BBC Young Composer competition has opened for entries.

The BBC is seeking musically-minded students aged 12 to 18 of all technical abilities, backgrounds, and musical influences to submit an original composition and recording.

Any genre, any instruments, and any method of composing are welcome - music-makers may not think of themselves as a composer, but if they love to create their own original music then the BBC wants to hear from them.

All compositions are judged anonymously and assessed on their compositional idea, creativity and originality.

Winners will be given the brilliant opportunity to participate in a tailored development programme working with a mentor composer on a project with the BBC Concert Orchestra, culminating in a performance or broadcast opportunity.

In what’s been a challenging year for so many young people, BBC Young Composer hopes to inspire young people from all over the UK to get creative and submit their work.

David Pickard, Director of BBC Proms, says: “There is a wealth of musical talent across the UK, and it’s more important than ever to nurture the next generation of music-makers from every style and genre.

"It’s been a privilege to watch previous winners develop as composers, and last year’s competition saw such variety – not only in musical style, but also in inspiration with thought-provoking themes explored.

"The BBC is incredibly proud to be able to offer these mentorship opportunities for young musical innovators and we look forward to hearing from aspiring composers working in all genres.”

The competition sits at the heart of BBC Young Composer, which has offered a platform for hundreds of young composers aged 12 to 18 from across the UK to further their artistic and professional ambitions.

Many of today’s leading composers are counted in the outstanding list of BBC Young Composer alumni, including Shiva Feshareki, Kate Whitley, Alissa Firsova, Mark Simpson, Tom Harrold, and Duncan Ward.

BBC Young Composer remains committed to assisting its alumni in launching their careers through its Ambassador scheme, connecting composers to commissioning opportunities at the BBC. Recent alumni, including Grace-Evangeline Mason, Alex Woolf, Xia Leon Sloane and Sarah Jenkins, have been commissioned by BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Proms.

The judging panel for the 2021 Young Composer Competition is due to be announced in due course.

Entries close at 5pm on Monday, June 28, and the competition is open to young people aged 12 to 18 (at the closing date).

Please visit bbc.co.uk/youngcomposer to find the rules of the competition and how to enter.

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