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We’re one step closer to finding our Young Composer

Written by The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain on January 27, 2023

After much deliberation, the final six of our Composition Competition have been chosen by Dr. Robert Childs, NYBBGB Director of Artistic Planning.

Commenting on the final six, Dr Robert Childs said “The response to the composition competition was phenomenal, so choosing a final six was a real challenge, but the young people who have made it this far all showed a good understanding of balancing the technical challenge needed for the Youth band, alongside a commercial sound that will have broad appeal. Their entries are all  original and reflective of their own styles, which was great to hear, and I‘m really looking forward to discussing their pieces with my fellow judges in the coming weeks.”

Charlotte McGregor Graham, 24 years old, UK

Charlotte has studied brass and composition under Lucy Pankhurst since the age of 9. In 2018 she began studying the euphonium at Salford University. She studied composition under Tom Davoren in her first year and entered the Kirklees Composition Competition, receiving a highly commended award for her composition. In 2020 she decided to transfer to Wales to focus on composition, studying with John Hardy. Charlotte has composed many pieces but most notedly a euphonium solo with electronic accompaniment performed by Gary Curtin, and a march for The Band of the Welsh Guards.

Daniel Hall, 26 years old, UK

Daniel graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama with First Class Honours in Contemporary Composition. Whilst studying, Daniel wrote “Smoke Sketches” and “Sanctuary!”, the set test for the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain and European Youth Brass Band Championships respectively. In 2019, Daniel won the seventh European Composers Competition in Montreux, Switzerland, for his brass band composition “A Dialogue of Transmogrified Souls”.

Jack Yagerline, 22 years old, USA

Jack Yagerline is an American composer whose music spans a wide variety of styles. He earned his BMus in Composition from James Madison University, studying with Eric Guinivan and Jason Haney and is currently pursuing his MMus from University of North Carolina Green studying with Mark Engebretson and Alejandro Rutty.

Jack has collaborated with numerous ensembles, most recently with the James Madison University Percussion Ensemble and the Invicta Saxophone Quartet, and the James Madison University Wind Symphony. Jack was the winner of the James Madison University Wind Ensemble Competition for his piece ‘Distant Mountains’.

Kang Ning Lim, 28 years old, Singapore

Kang Ning Lim is a Singaporean composer and graduated from King’s College London with a first-class honour’s degree and a merit in her Masters. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in composition at the University of Bristol with professor John Pickard. In August 2022, classical guitarist Kevin Loh gave the world premiere of Serenata del Caffè at Kris Foundation’s concert in Singapore. Her composition, Hues, received its world premiere by the Bristol Ensemble in June 2022. Some of her chamber pieces have also been performed by the Lontano Ensemble in London conducted by Odaline de la Martinez.

Lennert Van Laenen, 19 years old, Belgium

Lennert Van Laenen has had a passion for brass bands for many years. He began percussion lessons at the age of six with Walter van de Venne and then further studies on the marimba with Chin Cheng Lin. He joined the World Champions Brassband Willebroek on percussion four years ago and this is where he nurtured his love of composition. Lennert has already won several composition competitions writing solos and brass band works, most notedly ‘Mita’. He readily admits that he is still learning in terms of composition but has great ambition to improve and develop all aspects of his craft.

Mandy Leung, 28 years old, Hong Kong

Mandy Leung is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer from Hong Kong. She has recently been supported by the PRS WMM fund and Sound and Music’s COVID-19 Composer Award, and her piece ‘Funeral March’ has been broadcast on Radio 3 by BBC NOW as part of Composition: Wales 2021. Her latest commissions include ‘Nostos’ from Opera North, ‘Mae Yna Obaith’ from National Eisteddfod and Ty Cerdd, and ‘Sky Lanterns’ from HK Arts Development Council.

The next stage for the six finalists will be to have their entries go forward to the judges panel. Joining Dr. Childs on the panel will be Maestro Sarah Ioannides, the Youth Band’s Guest Conductor for Summer 2023, as well as composer Dorothy Gates.

The overall winner of the competition will receive a £1,000 prize, together with an offer from Prima Vista Musikk to publish their work, and will also have their piece performed by the NYBBGB Youth Band under the baton of Sarah Ionnades at their Summer concert. The runner up in the competition will receive £250 and, if it is suitable, will have their piece performed by the Children’s Band in the Summer.

Of the response to the competition in general, NYBBGB CEO Mark Bromley said “We received more entries than I dared imagine and from a globally diverse range of young composers. The final six Bob has chosen are all really high quality, so to narrow it down to two is going to be a hard choice for the judges. I’m certain the NYBBGB will maintain a relationship with each of these young composers as they develop their careers.”

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