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Secondary schools urged to reveal their musical talent in young composer competition

Published: Thu June 26, 2008  News Feed

Secondary schools across the country are being invited to put forward their most enthusiastic and talented composers for the national Sibelius Student Composer of the Year Competition.

Now in its second year, the competition has been expanded to cover three genres of music – film, classical/contemporary and jazz composition – and features a stellar line-up of judges including Dario Marianelli, Oscar-winning composer of the score for Atonement and music education ambassadors Howard Goodall and Lord Puttnam.

Sibelius, whose music notation software is used by over 75 per cent of UK secondary schools, is running the competition for 10-18 year olds for a second year to highlight the growing importance of technology in unleashing musical creativity in young people. Entries to the competition can be created in any music software, not only Sibelius. For the film category students are asked to compose a soundtrack for a one-minute film clip. In both the jazz and classical/contemporary categories students will compose a 1-4 minute piece for up to eight players. The competition is being supported by The British Film Institute (BFI) and the National Film and Television School (NFTS).

Says Sibelius Managing Director Jeremy Silver, ‘This competition is a real opportunity for students to be heard and discovered by some of their heroes, and hopefully to launch themselves on the way to a career in music. We were astounded by the accomplished level of entries last year ­­– some from students as young as 11 – and can’t wait to hear this year’s compositions.

‘Increasingly students are turning on their computers to compose all kinds of music. It’s really exciting how much more accessible composition has become. We have a unique tradition of music education in this country and the recent increase in the number of students choosing to study music at A Level shows that new technology is making the subject even more attractive for many students.’

Music teachers and students are being encouraged to register their interest in the competition right away at www.sibelius.com/studentcomposer in order to receive information on how to submit entries and reminders as the deadline approaches. The final deadline for entries is September 30th.

Last year’s winner of the 16-and-under category William Church, from Shenfield High School in Brentwood, Essex, whose prize included a visit and master class from film composer Michael Price (Hot Fuzz and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), says, ‘I felt proud knowing that such top professionals rated my composition highly. I would recommend the competition to everyone – writing music creatively is something that any musician can enjoy doing’

This year prizes include a live performance of the winning compositions and masterclasses with leading composers and musicians plus cash and Sibelius software prizes for the student and a Sibelius software multi-pack for their school. Winners and runners-up in the film category will also have their entry screened at the BFI Southbank.

Music education ambassador Howard Goodall, who is joining the judging panel for the second year says, ‘It’s great that Sibelius is providing this opportunity once again for students to make music. I was blown away by some of the entries in the competition last year.

‘The compositions were sophisticated and imaginative in the way they created effect, mood, colour and how they reflected or drove the narrative. I’m very much looking forward to judging this year's trail-blazers.’

In addition to extra categories, this year’s competition also sees the introduction of a public judging element where members of the public are asked to go online to choose their favourites from a short-list created by the judges. The result of the public vote in each category will carry the same weight as one of the star judges

About Sibelius - Sibelius develops the world’s bestselling music notation software used by over 180,000 musicians and music educations around the world. Oscar-wining film composers, world-famous classical and jazz musicians and all major sheet music publishers rely on Sibelius for its legendary print quality and ease of use. Sibelius is used in over 75% of all secondary schools in the UK, as well as high schools around the world. Additionally, the Sibelius Education Suite includes the word’s best-selling software for music theory and aural training, and the fastest-growing music software for elementary/primary school music lessons.

Competition timetable 2008

Deadline for entries: 31st October
Public voting via website: Mid November
Winners announced: Mid December

Full judging line up for each category

Jazz – Julian Joseph (acclaimed pianist and composer); Billy Cobham (legendary jazz drummer); Django Bates (experimental jazz pioneer); Tim Garland (Jazz Musician of the Year 2006); Gil Goldstein (renowned jazz pianist); Turtle Island String Quartet (Grammy winners); Phil Woods (Grammy-winning saxophonist)

Film - Dario Marianelli (Oscar winner for Atonement); Alberto Iglesis (The Kite runner Oscar-nominee); Lord Puttnam (legendary film producer); Patrick Doyle (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Howard Goodall (music education ambassador); Harry Gregson Williams (Shrek the Third); Michal Price (Music Editor on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)

Classical/ contemporary – Steve Reich (acclaimed composer); Karl Jenkins (leading UK composer); Leonard Slatkin (legendary conductor); Esa-Pekka Salonen (conductor LA Philharmonic); Simon Bates (Classic FM presenter); Michael Torke (renowned modern composer)

See www.sibelius.com/studentcomposer

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