To meet such lovely and interesting people and to have your own piece performed by such wonderful singers was possibly one of the best experiences of my little life. The emails during the application process really made me feel like I was wanted. Thank you so, so much for allowing me to be part of such a wholly amazing time.
— Ben Gilchrist, 2019 Youth Finalist
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Youth Finalists

ORA Singers received applications from all across the UK for the 2019 Youth Composer Competition, selecting 10 overall finalists to be mentored and to write a new choral work for the professional ensemble. The selected finalists ages ranged from 11-17, all attending a UK state school. Finalists were given a choice of 3 Renaissance works by Lobo, Lassus and Rebelo, to base their new compositions on.

The 2019 Youth Finalists were:

Patrick Lappin (17, Lurgan College, Northern Ireland)

Hannah Beech (17, Loreto Sixth Form College, Denton)

Edward Atkin ( 15, Millthorpe School, York)

Emily Pedersen (17, St John Fisher Catholic High School, Harrogate)

Katie Styles (11, Wycombe Girl's High School, Maidenhead)

Louis Wild (17, Prudhoe Community High School, Wylam)

Laura Fitzgerald (17, Kesgrave High School Sixth Form, Kesgrave)

Joshua Wheldon (16, North Hykeham Joint, Sixth Form College, Thurlby)

Ben Gilchrist (15, Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham)

Yuvraj Sethia (16, The Priory Academy LSST).

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Mentoring

Each Youth Finalist was assigned a mentor from one of ORA Singers’ previously commissioned composers. The 2019 mentors were: Oliver Tarney, Richard Allain, Kim Porter, Owain Park and Thomas Hewitt Jones. Mentors provided a mix of face-to-face, online and email support; each giving 10 hours of time in total.

The Youth Finalists also attended a workshop day in London part-way through the compositional writing. Rory Johnston, ORA’s Blogger in Residence, led the day with an overview of choral music through history, followed by A Q&A with a panel of musicians/composers/singers. The afternoon session was then open to the public, each finalist receiving 15 minutes to test out their pieces and receive feedback from the singers and the workshop leader.

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Open Finalists

ORA Singers received an overwhelming response to the 2019 Open Composer Competition. Anonymous scores were adjudicated by a series of panels and 3 selected blind, the scores coming from a variety of composers; some submitting orchestral and instrumental works keen to explore choral writing, others seasoned choral composers eager to work with ORA’s professional singers. The three selected finalists each stood out due to their very special and unique approaches to music-making, something we absolutely celebrate at ORA Singers.

The 2019 finalists were:

ÁINE MALLON b. 1994

BEN SEE b. 1987

JOEL JÄRVENTAUSTA b. 1995


ORA Singers, directed by Suzi Digby are a marvellous group of musicians, who conjured the most magical sound worlds performing new works by young composers at their concert in King’s College London Chapel. I would like to express my gratitude to them for giving such a warm and beautiful, intimate and touching performance of my piece “Reflecting Taverner”. It was a pleasure and a joy to work with ORA Singers, Suzi Digby and administrative team.
— Joel Jarventausta, 2019 Open Competition Finalist
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Final Adjudication

Joining ORA Singers at the Competition Final Concert was our esteemed adjudication panel. Chaired by Stephen Fry, we were also honoured to be accompanied by John Rutter CBE, Katie Tearle MBE and Susanna Eastburn MBE. The panel chose one overall winner from each competition, which was announced alongside the Audience Prize winner for each competition.

The final winners were announced as:

Áine Mallon- winner of the Open Competition and receiver of the Audience Prize.

Emily Pedersen- winner of the Youth Competition & Patrick Lappin- receiver of the Audience Prize.