Winners announced for PIPEWORKS composition competition

CNM and the Friends of the Moot Hall Organ are delighted to announce the winners of PIPEWORKS, the Moot Hall Organ composition competition:

First prize (£250): Moot Points by John Furse

Second prize (£150): Graduation Toccata by Mark Bellis

These two pieces will be premiered by organist Tom Bell at a Roman River Festival concert on 27th September.

The runners-up will be performed at recitals and education events over the summer. They are, in alphabetical order:

Tempestuous (also known as Moto Perpetuo) by Jenni Pinnock

Paean by Peter Thorne

Prelude and Fugue on a Theme of Oysters, Garglyjock and Bulkybones (after Alderman W Gurney Benham) by Alison Willis

The judges – Alexander Campkin, Duncan Chapman and Soosan Lolavar – scored the anonymous entries against criteria of originality, character, musical coherence, conciseness of texture and narrative, and organ-related considerations of performability, how idiomatic the writing is, practicality and suitability for the Moot Hall Organ. The standard of the competition was very high; we congratulate the winners and thank everyone who entered pieces.

John Furse (1951-) was a music student at the Colchester Institute, 1971-74: graduating with London BMus. This was followed by research in Musicology at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He taught in secondary schools in Devon, London, Buckinghamshire and Norfolk, where he retired to spend more time finding and photographing birds – and nature in general. He lives overlooking (and overhearing) the North Sea. Most of his compositions are text-based and almost equally split between sacred choral and secular song. “Moot Points” is his first completed work for organ solo and dedicated to the memory of Dr W.H. Swinburne, Head of Music at the Colchester Institute while John was a student there.

Mark Bellis (1953-), a composer and choral director, is Course Leader for the BA (Hons) Music programme at the Colchester Institute. He studied at Dartington College, Cardiff, Durham and Cambridge, obtaining his PhD in composition from Durham. He has had performances at the Purcell Room, London (broadcast on BBC Radio 3) and he composed a large-scale work to a BBC commission for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. More recently, his choral works have been performed at Westminster Abbey, Chichester and Winchester Cathedrals and by various choral societies including the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus. Mark has also been commissioned to compose for Kokoro – the new music ensemble of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and future plans include further choral works and a piece for organ.

Jenni Pinnock (1987-) graduated from Kingston University and obtained an MMus in Composition from Trinity Laban, studying with Stephen Montague and Gregory Rose. In 2013-14 she was selected for Making Music’s Adopt a Composer scheme and in 2014 she was awarded the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composers Award.

Peter Thorne (1955-), a pianist, conductor and composer based in Frinton on Sea, studied at Oxford with Robert Sherlaw-Johnson and at UEA with Denis Smalley. His music has been published by Banks, Warwick and Sound the Trumpets. Forthcoming performances include “Five Romances” for flute and piano on July 11th in Clacton on Sea, several pieces in a concert at the Swinburne Hall on September 5th and the premiere of his sonata for piano in Frinton on Sea in November. Details will appear on the composer’s website in due course:

Alison Willis (1971-) studied composition with Alan Bullard (Colchester Institute), Tony Gilbert (RNCM) and George Benjamin (RCM), and is active as a composer, choral director, accompanist, organist and folk musician. Her works have been performed by ensembles including the London Sinfonietta and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of JAM’s Writing for Voices project. “War Songs” was premiered at the Brandenburg Choral Festival this year and Alison is now working on a commission for the Ferio Saxophone Quartet to be toured in the Channel Islands later this year.