Young Composers Competition Winners Announced at this Year’s Elgar Festival

Organisers of the annual celebration of the life and music of Worcestershire’s most famous composer have announced the winners of an exciting competition for young composers.

The Elgar Festival – which took place between Monday 27 May and Sunday 2 June this year – launched the Young Composers Competition at last year’s event.

Entry age groups were as follows:

Ages 11 – 16, Key Stage 3 and 4;

Ages 16 – 18, Key Stage 5.

Key Stage 3 and 4 were asked to compose a piece – between 1 and 3 minutes – for a solo string instrument and for Key Stage 5, a piece for strings – between 3 and 6 minutes – using the standard string quartet format of 2 violins, viola and cello.

The winning compositions were:

Key Stage 3 and 4, Jinwoo Shin;

Key Stage 5, Callum Bisson.

Both pieces were played at the 2024 Elgar for Everyone Concert by members of the English Symphony Orchestra strings section on Wednesday 29 May.

The winners – and other finalists – were all invited to attend the Gala Concert on Saturday 1 June.

Fifteen year old Jinwoo, who lives in Bavaria, said: “I started taking violin lessons when I was 5 years old and composing as a hobby since the age of 12; I enjoy it very much!  This is the first music competition I have entered and I am looking forward to other opportunities in the future.”

Eighteen year old Callum Bisson, from Rochdale in Greater Manchester, is in his final year at Chethams School of Music.  In September he will go onto study at The Royal Northern College of Music.  Callum’s piece – entitled ‘The Chase’ – is a parody to Shostakovich’s famed String Quartet no.8.  He said: “I am so grateful to The Elgar Festival and members of the ESO who played my piece; everybody was so incredibly friendly, welcoming and supportive of young musicians.”

Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director of The Elgar Festival said : “We are delighted to announce Jinwoo and Callum as the winners of this fantastic competition as part of this year’s Festival.  Encouraging our young composers to help us celebrate the life and works of Worcestershire’s most famous composer not only added a vibrant element to the Festival but also highlights the talent of future musicians.  All of the entries were of such a fabulous quality.  Congratulations!”