Petersfield Musical Festival: Festival of Young Composers 2019-2020

An ambitious piece for string quartet and piano by Laurence Horwood won first place at this year’s biennial Festival of Young Composers on February 1st in Petersfield’s United Reformed Church.

Adjudicator Jonathan Willcocks (President of Petersfield Music Festival) praised the composition – called ‘the Island’ – for its idiomatic string writing, rhythmic vitality and varied textures. Laurence, who played the cello in the quartet, received a prize of £100 and thrilled the audience with his sophisticated musical imagination.

The runner up, William Hammond, won £50 for his atmospheric piano solo, ‘Lasting Memory’. Dr Jill Jarman, of Chichester University, said the composition showed beautiful harmonic language and was expressive and moving.

The other contestants, Joseph Slinn and Sebastian Clark played their own works for solo piano and violin respectively. Joseph chose a rag-time theme and Sebastian an illustrative piece about getting up in the morning to his alarm clock and going to school, titled ‘Monday Morning.’

Unusually this year, all the composers were under 14 years old. They were all in the fourteen and under category.

Petersfield Musical Festival Chairman Philip Young complimented all the competitors for their dedication and creativity. Writing – and finishing – a complete piece of music is, in itself, a significant achievement, he said. The variety of the pieces was noted, each composer mastering their chosen idiom and instrument.

The three adjudicators had studied the scores before the performances and gave useful tips on musical notation, use of relevant software and how to develop ideas contained in the pieces further.

Image: Jonathan Willcocks, Dr Jill Jarman and Philip Young with the contestants

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