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Scores the limit as ‘classical’ idol attracts hundreds of global entries

Over 300 aspiring composers from all over the world have entered the University of Aberdeen Music Prize – the only event of its kind dedicated to finding the composers of the future.

The pioneering Music Prize competition is Aberdeen’s classical answer to ‘Pop Idol’ and, since its launch in October 2004, organisers have been inundated with entries from budding young composers in Malaysia, South Korea, China, Portugal, India, Japan, Italy, Germany, Finland, South Africa, Mexico, the USA and the UK.

The competition, which aims to encourage creativity and involvement with the arts, is being run in conjunction with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Radio 3. The unique initiative is set to put Aberdeen on the map as a centre of creative vision and excellence.

Dr Paul Mealor, Director of the University of Aberdeen Music Prize, said the competition had tapped into an area that has previously lain undiscovered: “Composers from every corner of the world have embraced our competition by entering, many of them sparing the time to write to us and express their gratitude that such an event exists.

“Nowhere else in the world does this blend of excellence and inclusion, art and creativity take place. It is quite unique. The level of entries that we have received is amazing. The standard is exceptionally high and this is surely going to put Aberdeen on the cultural map for a very long time.”

The inaugural award for String Quartet will be presented in April 2005 at the end of a weekend of workshops featuring the short-listed composers and members of the BBC SSO. The winning composer will receive a prize of £5,000 and a commission for a full-scale work to be premiered by the BBC SSO and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The weekend, which runs from Friday, April 29, to Sunday, May 1, will be an activity-filled programme of hands-on events including outreach workshops for school pupils and teachers and fun beginners workshops for the public at the ‘Create Studio’. The Music Hall will host a concert with the BBC SSO, while the University will host an evening concert with University musicians and school pupils.

The University of Aberdeen Music Prize has secured the support of one of the world’s most celebrated musicians and University of Aberdeen Honorary Graduate, Evelyn Glennie, OBE, who has come on board as Patron.

The competition also welcomes two distinguished musicians, Jonathan Harvey and Robert Saxton, who will judge the first award for the best composition for string quartet.

Notes to Editors:
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: You are invited to send a photographer today (Thursday, February 10) to the Staff Common Room, the School of Education, Hilton Campus, Hilton Drive, between 10.00am and 12.00pm, where Dr Paul Mealor, Director of the University of Aberdeen Music Prize, and Jennifer Martin, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s Learning Manager, will be surrounded by some 300 scores sent in by young composers from around the world.
Background information on the judges
Jonathan Harvey is one of the most innovative composers working in Europe today and his works have been extensively performed and toured by the world’s leading orchestras. He is composer in association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Robert Saxton started composing at the age of six and has won many prestigious prizes and awards. He is currently Fellow and Tutor in Music at Worcester College, Oxford.
For further information about the University of Aberdeen Music Prize, contact Jenni Massie, Communications Officer, on (01224) 272013, or visit

For further information on the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, contact Stephen Duffy, Marketing Manager at the BBC SSO on (0141) 338 3657.


Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Thursday 10th of February 2005

Ref: 1584music

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