Rhinegold James Mitchell, winner of the under 25 years category of the RCO Composition Competition

Josephine Miles

RCO announces winners of 2020 Composition Competition

5:04, 30th October 2020

The Royal College of Organists (RCO) has announced the winners of the 2020 RCO Composition Competition.

The under 25 years category has been won by James Mitchell with his composition Festival Toccata. Mitchell recently graduated with a Double First in music from Girton College, Cambridge. He has previously held posts at Ely and Manchester Cathedrals.

The runner-up in the under 25 years category is Tingshuo Yang with Toccata. Yang is a pianist, organist and composer studying at Eton College. He is currently preparing for his ARCO.

Paul Trepte, winner of the 25 years and older category

The winner of the 25 years and over category is Paul Trepte with Who alone is good for tenor and organ, setting words by St Francis of Assisi. Trepte is a former organist and director of music at Ely Cathedral. He is a prizewinning Fellow of the College and has pursued a wide-ranging career in the organ and choral worlds, with a number of recorded and published choral works to his name.

David Halls is the runner-up in the 25 years and over category with Passacaglia. Halls is director of music at Salisbury Cathedral. He was organ scholar at Worcester College, Oxford, and is a prizewinning Fellow of the College.

The Composition Competition was launched by the RCO as part of a series of new initiatives for organists, choral directors and composers facing the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions. Entries were invited of previously unpublished and unperformed compositions for organ solo or organ and one instrument or voice.

The competition jury was chaired by Gerard Brooks, RCO president, who was joined by Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music, and Thomas Trotter, international concert organist and Birmingham City Organist.

Brooks said: ‘The RCO Composition Competition has proved to be a great success. With the judges each playing and reading through some 530 pages of music, clearly there are many dedicated composers out there. All are to be congratulated on their efforts. Without exception we encountered music that had been carefully and sincerely thought out, and what a variety of styles, forms, and expression we found! Finding winners was a difficult task; however, our final decisions were unanimous.’

The winner in each age category will have their work played at College concerts and events, recorded for permanent upload to iRCO (the College’s digital content hub), and published by the RCO. Runners-up will also have their works featured in performances at College-organised events.

The following composers were highly commended by the jury: Paul Greally (under 25 years category), and David Allen, Paul Ayres and Tim Ravalde (25 years and over).


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