New Music Competition 2022 - 2023
After a year's pandemic delay, YLSS's biennial competition is back!  Inspired by the success of previous rounds, we are now inviting entries for our 2022-23 New Music Competition.

Four of the submitted pieces will be chosen for a Workshop in October 2022 with award-winning composer Nicola LeFanu, and YLSS players, and from these one piece will be selected for performance in 2023. In addition, each shortlisted entrant will be offered a one-to-one tutorial with Nicola LeFanu.

Our aims for the competition are to:

  • Create an original piece of music of high quality, which is inspiring, challenging yet technically accessible for YLSS. This will add to the very limited repertoire specifically written for similar orchestras of adult learners.

  • Give YLSS the experience of being part of the creative process and of working with a composer. The process of selecting the composer and working on the piece will be designed to involve all YLSS members who wish to take part. Entrants will be encouraged to share with YLSS the inspiration for their piece and discuss the process of composition, to enhance players’ understanding and performance of the music.

  • Broaden YLSS’s musical horizons, giving an impetus to developing more adventurous playing and more confident performance.

  • Enable a composer, of any age, living in the UK or Ireland, to work with YLSS in creating a new piece for performance.

How we plan to achieve this:

  • Stage 1
    An open invitation to composers of any age, living in the UK or Ireland, to submit an approx 10 minute composition. All entries will be considered anonymously by the Selection Panel and four will be shortlisted for a Workshop.

  • Stage 2
    A Workshop for four shortlisted composers. Nicola LeFanu will give feedback and coaching on each piece as it is rehearsed with YLSS and its conductor Stuart Hazelton. Nicola will also offer an individual tutorial with each shortlisted composer. The Workshop and tutorials will be held in Leeds and we will meet travel expenses up to £50 each for shortlisted composers. One composer will be selected to work with YLSS.

  • Stage 3
    The selected composer will work with YLSS to develop and rehearse their piece for a performance in 2023 and will receive a prize of £500 (plus contribution towards expenses).
Winners to date:

Paul Burnell - 3 Pieces for Strings premièred at CoMA Contemporary Music Festival July 2008 and featured on BBC Radio 3 ‘Play to the Nation’ October 2008

Laurence Rose - a theory of nothing premièred at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival November 2010

Alison Wrenn - Battle of the Winwaed premièred at Headingley Music Festival June 2012

Elaine Levene - Five Snatched Sonnets premièred at Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre (HEART) June 2014

Phil Taylor - I See Faces in Everything premièred at CoMA Leeds Concert at HEART June 2016

Mark Browse -  Five Variations on Pange Lingua premièred at YLSS summer event, St Barnabas, Weeton July 2018 (read about the premier performance in the presence of the composer and mentor Judth Weir on her blog.)

Jasmine Simons -  Fantasia for string orchestra to be premièred at YLSS summer event July 2022 (read more about Jasmine and her piece here


Stage 1 Call for entries April 2022
  Closing date 31 July 2022
  Shortlisting August 2022
Stage 2 Selection Weekend in Leeds with 4 shortlisted entrants
  Tutorials Saturday 22 October 2022
  Workshop and selection Sunday 23 October 2022
Stage 3 Rehearsals with selected composer January - June 2023
  First performance Summer 2023, date to be confirmed


Find out more about the competition and latest winner.

Download a flyer for the New Music Competition
Brought to you by Making Music
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