30 UK state-school students to be finalists and apprentices in composer competition

Budding composers from state schools across the UK have been selected by ORA Singers to participate in its second annual Composer Competition

The UK-based ORA Singers ensemble has a primary aim of commissioning 100 new works by contemporary composers within 10 years and to add them to their extensive canon of historical compositions.

The Ora Singers Composer Competition was launched to nurture raw talent from backgrounds that might not otherwise have access to specialist compositional support. From the year, the competition focuses solely on young people from state schools. As the competition website states, ‘Compounded by the current pandemic, music support for state-school students has become even more critical, with so many students unable to take part in their choirs, orchestras and other ensemble commitments, and missing out on ‘life-defining’ moments such as performing in their school musical or representing their local music service at prestigious venues. ORA Singers’ scheme gives students an opportunity to test out their skills, develop ideas collaboratively, and gain confidence in their musical ability.’

The top 10 finalists in this year’s competition will receive professional mentoring with composers Ken Burton, Janet Wheeler, Richard Allain, Kim Porter and Harry Escott. Each will work with their mentors on new choral works, which will receive their world premiere at a live event on 24 July 2021.

The finalists are:

  • Pip Alpin 18, Warton (Ripley St Thomas CofE Academy)
  • Ceri Amison 17, Newbury (St Bartholomew’s School)
  • Raj Bhaumik 17, Milngavie (Douglas Academy)
  • Jacob Cooper 16, Carnforth (Queen Elizabeth School)
  • Hannah Doyle 17, Blackpool (Blackpool Sixth Form College)
  • Ana Geoghegan 18, Wimbledon (Ursuline High School)
  • Aidan MacLean 17, Lisburn (Friends’ School)
  • Samuel Cole Mpengo 18, West Ham (School 21 and 621)
  • Samuel Oliver-Sherry 16, Netherton (St Michael’s Church of England High School)
  • Sequoia Ralph 18, Fulham (West London Free School)

As a new addition to the project, 20 further students will become ORA Apprentices, who will enjoy a new scheme of compositional support under the leadership of Rory Wainwright.

Matthew Beale, Chief Executive of ORA Singers said, ‘We have heard from so many talented and enthusiastic composers, and have been so excited by their love of creating music and desire to learn more. We are thrilled to have been able to offer them this unique opportunity, and to provide for them an experience that could help them develop professionally, socially, and creatively. We cannot wait to see where these young composers go in the future.’

The competition is supported by Signatur, PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Organisations, the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and Scala Radio, which is the media partner for the project.