News Story

A photograph of the ORA singers in concert.

Applications are now open for the 2023 Young Composers programme, the pioneering mentoring scheme run by the award-winning ensemble, ORA Singers. The trail-blazing choral group, which has commissioned over 50 new works in the last six years, is continuing its ground-breaking education programme into its fourth and biggest year.

Building on the success of previous iterations, which saw just under 100 alumni benefit from free compositional support, the 2023 scheme will welcome another 50 students from state-funded schools to take part as either Young Composers or Apprentices, and will introduce a new partnership with the Three Choirs Festival for 2023.

10 Young Composers will receive up to 10 hours of one-to-one compositional mentoring with a professional composer. Mentors will develop the skills of each Young Composer, as they help them write a brand new choral work for ORA Singers. Young Composers are given the opportunity to have their pieces workshopped, performed, and recorded by ORA Singers, and adjudicated by a panel of industry experts (led by Stephen Fry in 2019, Gareth Malone in 2021, and John Rutter in 2022).

Alongside the 10 Young Composers, 40 Apprentices will gain advanced compositional skills through a series of free online, in depth workshops led by professional composers. Designed to fast-track compositional development, the Apprentice scheme will introduce key elements of choral composition and its techniques, and will give an insight into the world of professional composition with opportunities to meet with leading industry figures.

ORA Singers is pleased to be bringing the Young Composers programme to the west country in a new partnership with the Three Choirs Festival, who will be hosting the Final Concert in Gloucester Cathedral on 23rd July 2023. ORA Singers is excited to bring the programme to new audiences through this partnership with the longest-standing classical music festival in the world.

The ORA Singers Young Composers Programme is designed to seek out and develop the untapped potential in young musicians across the UK, and deliberately targets those who have not yet had access to specialist tutoring. Applicants are able to submit a personal statement, along with any previous composition (complete or incomplete), which is assessed by ORA Singers. It is not just looking for the best composers, but students with passion and potential, and wants to encourage all students that are interested in composition to enter.

A 2019 Young Composer commented:

“Nothing else I’ve done this year - including school! -has taught me, inspired me and moulded me as much as this scheme. Thank you so much to everyone at ORA, it’s been incredible.”

One 2021 Apprentice also wrote:

“The workshops and exercises were perfect! They helped me explore and experiment with different techniques I would have never thought of before.”

A parent of a 2022 Young Composer also wrote:

“This competition has been an amazing musical journey - It has inspired, challenged and stretched her. She has realised how wonderful it is to have professional guidance from her mentor, and to hear your own piece performed by top singers. It has been a life enhancing experience. An enormous thank you.”

Matthew Beale, Chief Executive of ORA Singers, adds:

“Growing the Young Composers scheme into an established and recognised pipeline of support has been an achievement which we are particularly proud of at ORA Singers. However, the real pleasure has come from seeing these talented young musicians flourish into confident and mature composers as they progress through the scheme. Seeing alumni securing Music places in higher education, and even being offered commissioning work from international festivals, has been a reminder as to why we do this work. We’re excited to continue this crucial work into 2023 as we welcome the next cohort of young musicians from across the UK.”

Applications to the ORA Singers Young Composers scheme are now open for aspiring composers born on or after 1st September 2004, in attendance at a UK non-fee paying secondary school. Full terms and conditions can be found on the ORA Singers website.

Applicants have until noon on Monday 6th February 2023 to submit their applications.

The ORA Singers 2023 Young Composers scheme has been generously supported by Signatur.

Photo: A photograph of the ORA singers in concert.

Nick Rutter