In March, the BBC extended an invitation to young music-makers of varying technical proficiencies, musical backgrounds, and styles from all over the UK to participate in the BBC Young Composer competition. Entrants were required to make their submissions online, employing any instruments and composing methods that suited them.

Over 350 applications were received from different parts of the UK, covering a wide range of genres including songwriting, film and soundtrack music, choral compositions, solo instrument pieces, jazz, rock, pop, electronic, and contemporary music. Each composition was evaluated based on its compositional concept, creativity, and originality, with judging conducted anonymously. Now, six composers have been chosen to take part in a year-long bespoke development programme, collaborating with a mentor composer on a project involving members of the BBC Concert Orchestra. This will culminate in a live performance or a broadcast opportunity at a later date.

The winners, are categorised as follows:

Lower Junior Category (ages 12-14)

Atharv Gupta – “Demain, Dès L’Aube”
Avram Harris – “Across the Void”
Upper Junior Category (ages 15-16)

Advaith Jagannath – “Saturn Devouring his Son”
Pascal Bachmann – “Étude-Grotesque”
Senior Category (ages 17-18)

Jamie Smith – “Into Oblivion”
Reese Carly Manglicmot – “Rumble”

Additionally, nine participants have received a ‘highly commended’ award and will be offered a feedback session with a member of the competition judging panel. These composers are: Easher Austin, Natalie Denley, Olivier Horn (Lower Junior Category); Edward Harris-Brown, Jamaal Kashim, Taro d’Aronville (Upper Junior Category); Finty Woold, Harry Baines and Nina Martin (Senior Category).

The judging panel, consisting of composers and musicians, included Lloyd Coleman, Shiva Feshareki, Abimaro Gunnell, Gavin Higgins, Cassie Kinoshi, Eímear Noone, as well as industry experts Katie Tearle and David Pickard, Director of the BBC Proms.

Since its inception in 1998, BBC Young Composer has provided a platform for hundreds of young composers from across the UK to advance their artistic and professional aspirations. The programme has launched numerous musical careers, with many of today’s prominent composers being counted among the distinguished list of BBC Young Composer alumni, including Shiva Feshareki, Kate Whitley, Alissa Firsova, Mark Simpson, Tom Harrold, and Duncan Ward.

Bill Chandler, Director of the BBC Concert Orchestra says: “I am hugely impressed with the exceptionally high standard of music-making from the young people who entered the BBC Young Composer competition. Across the UK, there is a vast amount of creativity and talent, and whilst I know it was difficult for the judges to choose a small selection to be winners, everyone involved should be proud of their efforts. I look forward to another year of the BBC Concert Orchestra working with the winners, helping them develop their ideas and honing their technical skills.”