Inspired by the success of our first Orchestra Seeks Composer competition in 2007-8, we have so far run the competition seven times* and it is now a regular part of YLSS’s programme. Through the project we aim to engage with composers interested in creating a 10-15 minute piece of high musical quality, with late starter string players in mind. The £500 prize will not make the winner rich, but offers an opportunity to work with an enthusiastic orchestra and a renowned composer.
An eminent professional composer advises us for each competition (read what Judith Weir had to say about her involvement with the 2017 / 18 round on her blog) , gives one-to-one tutorials to the four shortlisted entrants, and takes part in a workshop with YLSS playing the shortlisted pieces. To date, composers Philip Cashian, Joe Cutler, Sally Beamish, Emily Howard, Michael Finnissy, Judith Weir and Howard Skempton have worked with us, giving invaluable advice to the entrants and to YLSS.
YLSS members participate at every stage of the competition, from selection of the composer, through development and rehearsal of the selected piece, to its first performance in an open concert. Through this project we aim to support the creation of new music for late starter string orchestras, as well as broaden our musical experience. In Spring 2022 we relaunched our search for composers - be they established, emerging or late starters - who were keen to work with us in creating a challenging and technically accessible piece for late starter string players. We were delighted that renowned composer Nicola LeFanu agreed to be our professional advisor for this round of the competition.
Each competition costs approx £2000 to run, including a prize to the winning composer. As grants are now rarely available, YLSS needs to raise this sum from members, friends and supporters, and through fundraising, to continue running the project every two years.
If you would like to be part of this initiative, we encourage you to subscribe £5 (or more!) per month to YLSS’s New Music Fund. Monthly subscriptions help YLSS to plan ahead but one-off donations to the New Music Fund are of course welcome too! As YLSS is a registered charity we can claim Gift Aid on your subscription if you are a taxpayer.
We promise to keep you up to date with the project, details of the winning composer and piece, through the website and will email once a year to confirm your continued subscription.
Here's how to subscribe:
Thank you for helping YLSS to fund new music – there cannot be many more creative ways to spend £5 a month!
Find out more about the latest winner.