24 year-old composer George Haynes is announced as the winner of this year's Composition Competition.
The competition, open to young British composers aged 20-30 and in association with Faber Music and choralstore.com, asked applicants to submit an Introit to be sung at a service during an Eton Choral Course. BBC Radio 3 is due to broadcast live from the course a Choral Evensong on 17 July and therefore the winning composition will also be heard by listeners around the UK.
The competition run by The Eton Choral Courses received a high number of applications from across the age range which were put before a panel of 6 judges, Ralph Allwood, Tim Johnson, Matthew Martin, Ben Parry, Christopher Robinson and Simon Toyne, who chose the winner on Friday evening.
George Haynes is currently a Lay Clerk at Peterborough Cathedral. A music graduate of the University of York, he has also been a Choral Scholar at York Minster and Wells Cathedral. Born in 1989, his musical life began as a chorister at All Saints' Church inNorthampton. His experience as a composer has led to music being performed in Southwark Cathedral and York Minster. His piece 'O sacrum convivium' was first performed at the General Synod Eucharist by the Choir of York Minster in 2010. Aside from cathedral duties, George pursues a career as a freelance singer, conductor and accompanist.
Talking about his winning composition, Hymne to God, George described "a contemplative and restrained setting of John Donne's words, perhaps a work of some tension but also one of praise."
This was mirrored in the judges' response to the work, who praised its "excellent compositional devices and lovely ideas" and thought it a perfect fit for the broadcast service on Course 2; it will be sung alongside music by British composers Purcell and Britten and conducted by Ben Parry, who has directed Eton Choral Courses each summer for over 10 years and was recently appointed Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.
In addition to the live broadcast, George will receive a £350 prize from the Eton Choral Courses to assist in his studies and will explore publishing options with Faber.
The position of runner-up went to Laurence Williams who chose to set the new text, written for the competition by Christopher Woods based on Psalms 42 and 43. Laurence was a Chorister at Westminster Abbey and a Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied Music. He is now pursuing singing and choir training in London. He sings with Polyphony and is also Director of the Fulham Prep School Chamber Choir. His work, The Cup of Joy was hailed as a complex and challenging piece and will likely be performed later in the summer during Course 7.