Chorus announces competition shortlist

27 January 2023

The Chorus is pleased to announce the five composers shortlisted for the Stella Jockel Young Composer Competition for young people aged 18 to 35 people with a connection to Sheffield.

The five shortlisted candidates are Mason Birch, Rachel Fright, Robin Morton, James Thomas and Reuben Tozer-Loft.

Candidates were asked to submit a short choral work for a mixed choir to sing unaccompanied in at least four parts.  Fourteen young people submitted entries for scrutiny by the panel of judges, from whom five were selected to go forward the the final stage.

“We have been really impressed by the commitment shown by the young composers who submitted their work for the competition” said George Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sheffield, who headed the four-strong panel, “We have enjoyed examining how they interpreted the beautiful text, and the imaginative and interesting variety of styles they have used. The five shortlisted pieces are very different but all show promise – choosing the winners is going to be a difficult task.”

The competition has been organised by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus in association with Classical Sheffield, as part of the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival to be held in March 2023, in memory of Stella Jockel, a Sheffield teacher and vicar’s wife who sang alto with the Chorus for over 50 years and whose generous legacy is being used to fund the competition.  The text was commissioned from award-winning poet Katharine Towers, who sings in the alto section of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus; Kathy won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for The Floating Man and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for The Remedies.

The winning work will be premiered at the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival finale on Sunday 19 March 2023 in the City Hall, followed by a performance of Mahler’s magnificent 2nd symphony by the combined forces of Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallam Sinfonia, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and Hallam Choral Society, conducted by George Morton and bringing the 10th anniversary festival to a spectacular close.

Read more about the competition and the shortlisted candidates

To hear the winning piece, buy tickets for the festival finale