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Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2014/15: Results

Young Musician
of the Year

Young Composer
of the Year


The 2014 CYCY Finalists

The composers line up at the Finals of the competition after the results were announced by Judge Ewan Campbell (far right).

The Finals of the 2014/15 Cambridge Young Composer of the Year competition took place on Sunday 2 November 2014 at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.

The overall winner and Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2014/15 is 17-year-old Joe Reynolds. Joe won the prize for his composition 'The Bell Tower of Poveglia' for piccolo, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano and vibraphone. The piece evokes the dark history of Poveglia, a small Italian island, formerly used to quarantine victims of the plague and the Black Death and later a psychiatric hospital, now entirely deserted. Judge Dr Ewan Campbell decribed the piece as highly dramatic with rich harmonic writing and 'fantastic instrumental effects'.

Joe is a student at Hills Road Sixth Form College. He has been studying cello, piano and composition at the Royal College of Music Junior Department (RCMJD) since he was nine years old. He wants to pursue his passion for music further by studying cello and composition at the RCM Senior Department. In October 2014, one of his compositions was played at the Cambridge Corn Exchange by the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The 12-14 year age group was won by Dominic Wills, 14, for his piece 'Family Trait' for Alto flute, clarinet, piano, Violin, cello and vibraphone, which Ewan Campbell said created "a rich and complex harmonic sound world."

The 11 and under class was won by Thomas Alban, 9, for his work 'Identity'. Ewan Campbell said it was a dramatic piece and he was particularly impressed with its use of rhythm.

All the entries were performed by the Dr K Sextet at the Finals at West Road Concert Hall on Sunday 2 November. Dr Campbell discussed each work in turn and provided feedback advice to the composers.

Winner Joe Reynolds was presented with the Young Composer of the Year cup and a cheque for £50. As part of his prize he will also be invited to compose a piece for performance at next year's event.

The event was a huge success as shown by some of the feedback we received :

We wanted to say a very big thank you again for a wonderful afternoon yesterday at West Road. It was a dream come true for our daughter and we were delighted to hear her first instrumental piece…She learnt an awful lot from hearing all the feedback and she is very much looking forward to entering the competition for the next three years.” - Parent of competition entrant

Cambridge Young Composers is a fantastic event! Brilliant for young people to have professionals playing their music, and to receive feedback. Please continue this great event!” - Audience member

Amazing event. Really enjoyed it. The amount of young talent is great to see. Hope to hear more next year!” - Audience member, age 14

The Young Composers Competition is a wonderful inspiration to young people and quite unique in the region. Long may it continue.” - Audience member


All the winning pieces, together with those that were specially commended, were performed at a concert at West Road on the evening of Sunday 2 November by the Dr K Sextet. The concert also featured a premiere of a work by last year's Cambridge Young Composer of the Year William Harmer, 'The Reawakening'.

The competition was run in conjunction with Cambridge University Music Outreach Department as part of the university's annual Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Many congratulations to all those taking part!

Full details of the competition.



Competition Results

Cambridge Young Composer of the Year 2014/15:
Joe Reynolds

Age group 15-17
Joe Reynolds

Age group 12-14
Dominic Wills
Highly Commended: Farbod Salamat-Zadeh
Rebecca Revie
Alexia Sloane

Age group 11 and under
Thomas Alban
Highly Commended: Poppy Challis
Jacob Fitzgerald