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BBC Launches Young Composer 2020 competition


We’re proud to offer these mentorship opportunities to the next generation of musical innovators, and we hope this year’s relaunch of the competition encourages entries across all styles and genres. David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms

The BBC is calling on young composers across the country to enter its prestigious BBC Young Composer competition 2020.

Formerly known as the BBC Proms Inspire competition, the contest has launched countless musical careers since its inception in 1998.

The BBC is seeking musically-minded students aged 12-18 of all technical abilities, backgrounds, and musical influences to submit an original composition and recording. Any genre, any instrument, and any method of composing are welcome - music-makers may not think of themselves as a composer, but if they love to create their own original music then the BBC wants to hear from them. All compositions are judged anonymously and assessed on their compositional idea, creativity and originality.

Winners will be given the incredible opportunity to participate in a tailored development programme, working with a mentor composer on a project with the BBC Concert Orchestra which will be performed and broadcast in a special young composers’ concert at the 2021 BBC Proms.

All entrants will also be offered priority booking to the Proms Weekender, an event for young musicians during the 2020 Proms season featuring young artist showcases, interactive workshops with Proms artists and ticket offers to the weekend’s concerts.

Composer and electronic artist Shiva Feshareki, a 2020 judge and 2004 competition winner, says: “It is getting more and more important to understand music - and the world - as intersectional, so I am very happy to see the new direction of the BBC Young Composer acknowledging the diverse breadth of musical styles and genres and how they connect. I’m very excited to see what the young composers will produce as the next generation of creatives.”

David Pickard, Director of BBC Proms, says: “Having had the privilege in previous years of being a judge in our competition for young composers, I know what a wealth of talent exists amongst young practitioners. It has been a huge pleasure to see previous winners grow and develop as composers. The BBC is proud to be able to offer these mentorship opportunities to the next generation of musical innovators, and we hope this year’s relaunch of the competition encourages entries across all styles and genres.”

The competition sits at the heart of BBC Young Composer (formerly known as the BBC Proms Inspire scheme), which has offered a platform for hundreds of young composers aged 12-18 from across the UK to further their artistic and professional ambitions. Many of today’s leading composers are counted in the outstanding list of BBC Young Composer alumni, including Shiva Feshareki, Kate Whitley, Alissa Firsova, Mark Simpson, Tom Harrold, and Duncan Ward.

BBC Young Composer remains committed to assisting its alumni in launching their careers through its Ambassador scheme, connecting composers to commissioning opportunities at the BBC. Recent alumni, including Grace-Evangeline Mason, Alex Woolf, Alexia Sloane and Sarah Jenkins, have been commissioned by BBC Radio 3, BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Proms.

The judging panel for the 2020 Young Composer Competition is made up of renowned composers including Shiva Feshareki, Errollyn Wallen and Matthew Kaner as well as Director of the BBC Proms, David Pickard. Further panellists will be announced soon.

Entries close at 5pm on the 11 June 2020. Please visit to find the rules of the competition and how to enter.

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