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Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2016

last modified Jul 12, 2016 05:22 PM
The Cambridge Young Composer of the Year competition is now open for entrants under the age of 17.

The Cambridge Young Composer of the Year Competition - now in its 12th year - is run by Cambridge Youth Music with support from the Cambridge University Faculty of Music and the Cambridge Music Partnership. We are also very pleased to be working with the Hermes Experiment a group of young professional musicians, dedicated to performing modern and contemporary music, who will be playing the entries at the competition finals. 

Competition Brief

Entrants must be 17 years or under on 31 August 2016 and live orattend school in Cambridgeshire. You are invited to write a piece of music up to a maximum performance length of 5 minutes. This can, if you wish, be inspired by this year's Cambridge Festival of Ideas theme ofMovement. The instruments available for this year’s competition are:


1 harp
1 clarinet OR bass clarinet
1 double bass
1 singer (soprano)


Compositions may be written for any combination of the above instruments but you must write for at least two of them (eg harp and clarinet; soprano and harp; harp, clarinet and double bass; or all four instruments/voice). Please note - to enable us to perform entries at the competition final, pieces should include no more than the instruments listed above. The full competition rules and entry formcan be downloaded via the link in the right hand column of this page.

Information and guidance

Below are links to some guidance notes for those entering the competition:

Writing for harp

Writing for clarinet/double bass/voice

Chords - a brief introduction

Introduction to scales

Guide to musical symbols

Have a question?

If you have a question – for example whether something you want to write is playable on a harp – please email your query and we will do our best to get an expert answer as soon as possible.

Competition Finals: 30 October

Competition entries will be performed by the Hermes Experiment at the public Finals on Sunday 30 October, 2016 (2.30pm-5.30pm) in West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge. Composers will be given written and verbal feedback on their work by composer and Judge Ewan Campbell. The performers will also provide advice about composing for their instruments. There will be a Class Winner and ‘Highly Commended’ awards for each age group.

One of the three age group winners will be chosen as the overall winner of the competition and the Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2016-17. The winner will receive:
- the Young Composer of the Year cup 
- a cash prize of £50
- an invitation to compose a new piece to be given a public perfomance next year.

Young Composers Concert
The Hermes Experiment will perform the winning entries in the competition at a short public concert on the evening of Sunday 30 October in West Road Concert Hall. The programme will also include a piece by last year's winner of the competition Dominic Wills.

How to enter the competition
Competitors must either live in Cambridgeshire (excluding Peterborough) or study full-time at a school, 6th Form or further education college in the county. Competitors must be 17 years of age or under on 31st August 2016 and entries will be judged in three age groups (11 and under, 12-14 years and 15-17 years).

Compositions must arrive by Monday 10 October 2016, together with a completed entry form. If possible compositions should be emailed as PDF files to:

Competitiors must provide a full score, plus copies of all individual parts.

Competitors who find it difficult to submit an electronic file can send paper copies to Cambridge Youth Music, 11 Sadlers Close, Coton, Cambridge CB23 7PF. 

Download a full copy of the submission details, rules and entry form.


Got a question for us?