ISM announces 2013 Composers' Competition for young composers inspired by Benjamin Britten

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is proud to announce the ISM Composers’ Competition 2013. The ISM, the professional body for musicians, is calling for composers aged 23 – 35 to submit an original composition for voices, inspired by the music of the great British composer Benjamin Britten. The two winning compositions will premiere in a special performance conducted by Suzi Digby OBE in the Chapel of Queens’ College, Cambridge on 4 April 2013 as part of the ISM annual conference, the theme of which will be inspiring a new generation of performers, composers and audience.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 3 December 2012. Pieces should be no more than 20 minutes in duration, and can be written for either children’s voices or SATB, with or without accompaniment by organ or harp.

Entries will be judged by a distinguished panel including conductor and teacher Suzi Digby OBE, composer Professor Paul Max Edlin and leading music educator and government advisor Richard Hallam MBE.

The winning entry in both categories will be chosen by 31 January 2013. In addition to the performance the winners will also each receive a cash prize of £500.

The 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth will be celebrated in 2013. The most widely performed British composer from the 20th century, Britten wrote many works for voices, and for leading soloists of his day including Janet Baker and Peter Pears, both of whom have received the ISM Distinguished Musician Award.

Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive, said:

‘The ISM is committed to supporting composers throughout their careers. The ISM Composers' Competition 2013 and our ongoing sponsorship of the New Music 20x12 commissions are two examples of how we provide essential opportunities for gifted young composers to gain exposure as they look to establish sustainable careers.’

More information, terms and conditions and the entry form can be found


For further media information please contact David Smith, 020 7079 1211.

Notes to Editors

  • Eligibility: Any composer between 23-35 years of age can enter
  • Brief: An original composition for voices, inspired by the music of Benjamin Britten
  • Duration: Not more than 20 minutes
  • Forces: Composers can submit one work for one or both of the following two categories:
    • Children’s voices
    • SATB
  • Organ or harp accompaniment if desired. No electronics
  • Performance: Thursday 4 April 2013, Chapel of Queens’ College, Cambridge
  • Ensembles coached by Suzi Digby OBE
  • Judging panel: Suzi Digby OBE, Paul Max Edlin, Richard Hallam MBE
  • Deadline: Monday 3 December 2012 at 5pm
  • £500 for the winning work in each category

The judges

Suzi Digby OBE is the ISM President. She is a choral conductor, music educator, and TV and radio broadcaster. In 1993 she created The Voices Foundation, the UK’s leading National Primary Music Education Foundation. She also founded ‘Coro’ and ‘Voce’, two of London’s best chamber choirs. Amongst many TV appearances, she was a judge in BBC 1′s hit show, Last Choir Standing, which has attracted over 10 million viewers. She received the OBE from the Queen for outstanding services to music education in 2009.

Paul Max Edlin is a founder member and Artistic Director of the Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival, and Artistic Director of the Deal Festival. His compositions have been broadcast on BBC 2 and BBC Radio 3, and are performed by such luminaries as Sarah Connolly and the Tippett Quartet. He is Professor of Music at Canterbury Christ Church University, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and the ISM Past President.

Richard Hallam MBE has a lifetime's experience in all aspects of music education including as a teacher, advisor and inspector, Head of Music Service, professional trumpet player and conductor. From 2008 to 2011 he was the National Music Participation Director and was a member of the core team of the Henley Review of the Funding and Delivery of Music Education in England. He is now continuing much of that work as the National Music Education Grant Director. Richard is the ISM President Elect.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians providing a distinctive range of services to its membership of performers and music professionals. The Incorporated Society of Musicians aims to promote the art of music and champion the interests of musicians, raising professional standards, and providing legal advice and other benefits to its members. Its members include performers, composers, music teachers and industry professionals. The ISM has over 100 corporate members including all the music Conservatoires, university music departments, Trinity Guildhall, ABRSM, Association of British Orchestras, Federation of Music Services, Jazz Services, Music for Youth, Oxford University Press, specialist music schools including Chetham’s School of Music and the Yehudi Menuhin School, as well as music industry and trade organisations such as PPL, the Music Industries Association, Yamaha Music, and the International Artist Managers’ Association.