Southampton lutenist helps launch early music award


A professor from The University of Southampton is helping to launch a new national awards programme, which will celebrate composition and early music.

Elizabeth Kenny, one of Europe’s leading lutenists and Head of Early Music at Southampton, is partnering with The National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) and BBC Radio 3 to present the 2016 NCEM Young Composers Award.

The award, launched on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, is open to young composers who are UK residents and will cover submissions up to the age of 25. The awards will be divided into two age categories: 18 years and under and 19 to 25 years. Composers are invited to write a new work for the lute and either a male (tenor) or female (mezzo-soprano) singer. They must set to music one of four selected poems by William Shakespeare and Carol Ann Duffy.

Speaking of the new initiative, Kenny said:

“We are thrilled that the NCEM have decided to work with lute and voice for the NCEM Young Composers Award in 2016. We are looking forward to exploring what the entrants come up with and collaborating with them in rehearsal.  New young voices writing songs for voice and lute will extend our imagination and challenge us to find new sounds and colours to express the texts. The conversation between old and new is a vital source of creativity in terms of where historical instruments go next, and we are privileged to be a part of it.”

Shortlisted composers will be invited to a day-long workshop with Kenny and her ensemble, Theatre of the Ayre. Shortlisted composers will also have the opportunity to work with two highly regarded singers – mezzo soprano Clare Wilkinson and tenor Nicholas Mulroy. The winning pieces will be performed by Theatre of the Ayre and recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Applicants must register their interest in the award by 5pm on Friday 19th February 2016 by emailing the National Centre for Early Music at [email protected]. Completed scores must be received no later than 5pm on Friday 18th March 2016.

For terms and conditions and details on how to take part in the NCEM Young Composers Award 2016, visit their website.


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Editor [2016 - 2017], News Editor [2015 - 2016]. Current record holder for most ever articles written by a single Edgeling. Also Film & English Student and TV Editor for The National Student. Main loves include cats, actors and pasta.

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