Suzi Digby's award winning a cappella vocal ensemble, ORA Singers, which was named 'Ensemble of the Year' in the 2018 Opus Klassik Awards, set about crowning its very own winners this year in the group's first ever Composer Competition. The Competition Final took place on Saturday 27th July at King's College, London, with ORA Singers performing 13 new works, 10 from its Youth Competition and 3 from its Open.
The adjudication panel was Chaired by ORA's President, Stephen Fry, who was joined by the world famous composer, John Rutter CBE; specialist in contemporary music publishing, Katie Tearle MBE; and leading figure in contemporary music and music education, Susanna Eastburn MBE. Stephen Fry presented both the overall winners' prizes for the Open and Youth Competitions, as well as the audience prizes, speaking of his personal love for choral music and admiration of the scheme.
Open Competition finalists were Ben See, Áine Mallon and Joel Järventausta; all emerging artists in their 20's. The composers, selected blind in a 3 stage adjudication process, wrote new choral reflections on John Taverners' Dum transisset Sabbatum, and were given an ensemble of 8 of ORA's finest singers to write for. The winner, and receiver of the audience price, was Áine Mallon, whose imaginative and folk inspired reflection touched the hearts of the judges and audience members alike.
The Youth Competition included 10 absolutely astounding and equally tantalising choral works from young composers all across the UK. Each of these young composers were assigned a compositional mentor, from ORA's impressive line-up of commissioned composers, and had received 10 hours of mentoring over the last 6 months. Patrick Lappin (17), a student from Lurgan College, Northern Ireland, received the Audience Prize, and the overall winner was named as Emily Pedersen (17) a student at St John Fisher Catholic High School, Harrogate. The panel was impressed with her accomplished composition: "it soars freely, speaking with the composer’s own imaginative voice, breaking loose from the Renaissance model and taking it's own wings."