The SWS Young Composers Challenge 2015, initiated by Singapore Wind Symphony (SWS) to encourage young composers below the age of 25 to compose for wind bands, recently announced its winners on 31 July in a Facebook page announcement.

The inaugural edition saw 15 out of 16 participants creating original marches for wind band, of which, 11 submissions were from composers between the ages of 19-25 (Category A) and 4 from composers below the age of 18 (Category B).

The distinguished panel of adjudicators was made up of established local composers, conductors and music educators, namely such as MAJ (NS) Tonni Wei, Mr. Kahchun Wong, Mr. Lien Boon Hua and Dr. Ho Chee Kong, to name a few.

To Victory‘ by Peter Bruce Gale was chosen as the winning submission in Category A, and will receive its world premiere in Bangkok, Thailand on 21 September by the Silapakorn University Wind Orchestra at a concert featuring the SWS. It will also receive its local premiere by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Band on the 21 November at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

“It was a wonderful surprise! When I went to the reading session that SWS organised for us to hear our drafts, I heard many good pieces by the other competitors. The composing scene in Singapore is certainly growing. I think it is only a matter of time before local compositions become a staple in local band concerts. I would like to thank the Singapore Wind Symphony for organising the Young Composers Challenge and for supporting young composers in Singapore such as myself. Events like this help to bring local composers together and allow us to exchange ideas and encourage one another,” said Peter, who was delighted at the announcement of results.

In Category B, ‘Chronometer‘ by Darren Sng received the highest accolades, and will see its premiere by the SWS under the baton of Mr. Richard Adams on the 13 September at the Lee Foundation Theatre, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) where the Certificates of Participation and the prizes will also be presented.

“I really need to express my wholehearted thanks to my teachers and friends, in particular Mr. Derek Lim, Dr. Gooi Tah Choe, Mr Lee Jinjun, Mr. Terrence Wong and Mr. Adrian Tan for guiding me through the writing of the piece, and for helping me in finding my voice in composition,” mentioned Darren.

“This award came as a pleasant surprise to me, since I took quite a risk with Chronometer. The intent was to retain certain important conventions such as rhythm and form, but to completely twist the march in its style. I am truly honoured that Chronometer has made it as the winning march. Nonetheless, even with the award, the greatest prize for me is the lessons I’ve learnt through this compositional process, and the creation of a work that I am delighted to present!” he continued.

Apart from these two winning marches, other works were also found to have outstanding merit, such as ‘Festive March‘ by Christine Lim, ‘The Little Red Squirrel‘ by Joseph Lim and ‘The Jubilation‘ by Matthias Oh.