Period instrument ensemble Norwich Baroque announced the winners of their composer’s competition on Friday at their annual ‘Friends Reception’. Attending the gathering was Stephen Girling, Managing Director of SG Wealth Management, who are principal sponsors of Norwich Baroque.
Now in its fifth year, the ‘Losh-Atkinson Historic Sounds Composition Competition’ invites composers of any age, nationality or background to compose a new piece for the renowned group – who perform concerts by 17th and 18th century composers. The competition was the brain-child of Norwich Baroque’s late Honorary Friend, Douglas Losh-Atkinson, with entrants of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds invited to enter.
This year’s brief was for the composition to be inspired by the 18th century poem ‘My Cat Jeoffry’ by Christopher Smart and be between 5 and 8 minutes in length, scored for soprano and four-part string ensemble comprising around 12 players. It also needed to show skilled and innovative compositional techniques and reflect knowledge of Baroque approaches to harmony, form, orchestration and text setting whilst demonstrating originality in creating a Baroque-inspired 21st century work.
The four shortlisted works were performed live before the judging panel, which comprised music historian, broadcaster and writer, Dr Simon Heighes, Director of Norwich Baroque, Jim O’Toole and composer and musical director, Dr Jonathan Girling. Ultimately there were two winners – Patrick Gardner and Philipp Spatling – for their works `Catnata` and `My Beloved Jeoffry`. Each received £250 plus complimentary tickets for Norwich Baroque’s July concerts where their compositions will be premiered.
Jane Slocombe of Norwich Baroque says, “Over the last four years, the competition has given birth to some amazing offspring with enormous variety and value, proving how vibrant the world of composition is. We are greatly indebted to Douglas Losh-Atkinson for his ideas and generosity in leaving prize money in his will to keep the competition going for another few years yet.”
Main photo shows the musicians in rehearsals