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European String Teachers Association (ESTA)

ESTA Young Composer Competition 2012

Nine young composers were short-listed for the ESTA Young Composers’ Day held at the Purcell School on 14 October. Their brief had been to write a short ensemble work for groups of one instrumental type and on a subject related to this year’s London Olympics. The short-listed works, which were of a very high standard of musical imagination and technical polish, were work-shopped during the day and performed by members of the Purcell School in an early evening concert.


The jury – Alison Cox (Head of Composition at the Purcell School), Alison Wrenn (composer and cellist) and Jeff Moore (composer and violinist) – had an unenviable task in awarding the prizes. Eighteen-year-old Sam Hall of Chatham won the senior category for his Cello Trio ‘The Irrational Conflcting Thoughts of an Athlete, Just Before the Event’. Sixteen-year-old Adnan Sachee of Hampstead won the intermediate category for his Cello Quartet. And the junior category was won by twelve-year-old Melissa Barstow of Tonbridge for her viola quartet ‘J’attends, j’espère’.

Each of these pieces demonstrated an astonishing grasp of their respective mediums, strong musical ideas and a flair for formal pacing But the overall winner of the title ESTA Young Composer 2012 had composed a work that also had haunting poetic qualities; this was Melissa Barstow for ‘J’attends, j’espère’.


Congratulations to Melissa, to Sam and Adnan, and to all the other short-listed finalists.


The three category winners will be performed by members of the Purcell School at ESTA’s November Conference, November 11th.

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