Petersfield Young Composers Competition

A wealth of creative talent was on show at the 2022 Young Composers’ Competition run by Petersfield Musical Festival in memory of local composer Michael Hurd. Musical entries ranged from a movement for solo piano to a full string quartet. For the first time in the history of the competition, composers were allowed to submit their music digitally as well as via live performance.

The winner in the under-14 category (recorded performance) was Thomas Mann with a piano sonata called The Monster Wakes Up, Thomas was praised by the judges for his sonata’s narrative flow, drama and playability. Certificates of Merit were awarded to Simon Lloyd for Squirrels, work for trumpet and piano, and Thomas Bagshaw for his March for Trombones and Timpani.

Shoshana Yugin-Power gave an assured and convincing performance of her extremely imaginative piece for solo flute (with piano accompaniment) called Elemental Electrons. The work ingeniously combined her love of music and science, with each of the short sections evoking a chemical element from the periodic table – ‘a genius idea’ in the words of one of the judges.

Anyone intrigued can hear Shoshana perform on 22nd March at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield, as part of this year’s Petersfield Festival lunch-time concert programme.

An outstanding string quartet by Laurence Horwood won the under-17 category. Appropriately named Exultant, the work drew commendations for being idiomatically written for strings, with an accomplished use of colour and sharing of thematic material between all four instruments. Laurence’s quartet was performed to a high standard by his fellow students at Churcher’s College.

William Hammond’s evocative piece for solo piano, The Onset of Winter, was praised for its unified style, pianistic virtuosity and poignant opening.

This year’s judges were Jonathan Willcocks, a composer and conductor and President of the Festival; Dr Jill Jarman, a composer and lecturer at Chichester University; and Philip Young, chairman of the Festival and former director of studies at Bedales School.

‘Every composer is a winner’ said Philip Young, emphasizing the challenges of creating music. He congratulated all the entrants for their originality and imagination.

All the winning compositions in the live performance categories will be performed at the Festival ‘s Youth concert on 21st March in Petersfield’s Festival Hall. The Petersfield Musical Festival runs 18th March – 26th March.

Sarah Hard