Hear Award-winning Young Composers at The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble’s Concert this November

Earlier this year, The National Centre for Early Music and BBC Radio 3 invited aspiring young composers to write a new piece for the  The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, to be premiered here at The Stoller Hall in their November concert. This year, young composers were invited to base their work on a popular tune from the Spanish ‘Golden Age’ of the 16th and 17th centuries, fitting with the overall Spanish theme of the concert, and to create a new piece in the same spirit, using the melody as a starting point for their own musical ideas.

Owen Spafford’s Bog Bodies and Jacob Jordan’s A Ceremonial Dance for Mice will be premiered by The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble at The Stoller Hall, Manchester on 9 November 2023, when it will be recorded by BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, for broadcast on Sunday 26 November.

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Gawain Glenton of ECSE said:

“We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work with this group of talented young composers. Our old instruments have a lot to offer contemporary audiences and we couldn’t be more pleased at how the composers have responded to the challenge. They’ve written creatively for cornetts and sackbuts, and engaged intelligently with the rich cultural inheritance the instruments bring with them.”

Delma Tomlin, MBE, Director of the NCEM said:

The Young Composers Award continues to be one of the highlights on the NCEM’s calendar – nurturing and encouraging young talent is a very important part of our work here.  The standard was extremely high, and I would like to congratulate all the composers who took part this year. It was wonderful to welcome them to York for a day sharing music and ideas at the NCEM’s home, St Margaret’s Church.  Recently our programme has featured an array of wonderful music from Spain and the new pieces complemented it perfectly. I’d like to say a special thank you to The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, who played an invaluable part in the day and of course my fellow judges.  The winning compositions will be performed at The Stoller Hall in Manchester and broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, two highly prestigious opportunities for our aspiring young composers.”

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Owen Spafford 

Owen Spafford is a composer and fiddle player from Leeds who has performed for  the leaders of the Commonwealth States, toured with Giffords Circus and received a scholarship to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music. He is also an National Centre for Early Music Young Composer Award winner BBC Young Composer Competition nominee 2019, and an All-Britain Fiddle Champion in the Fleadh Cheoil na Breataine 2019. Equally at home in a traditional session as he is in a free improvisation workshop, Spafford’s understanding of the oral tradition and love for vernacular music from around the world enables an inventive and thoughtful musical voice.

Jacob Jordan

Jacob Jordan studies at Sheffield Music Academy, and writing music is a way to express himself and create more of what he enjoys listening to. Jacob has written five pieces that have been performed at SMA public concerts, and he is passionate about encouraging more young musicians to give it a go and try composing.


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