Chorus launches new competition for young composers

28 October 2022

The Chorus is embarking on a new venture – an exciting new competition for composers aged 18 to 35. The competition invites people who lived, studied or were born in Sheffield to submit a short choral work for a mixed choir to sing unaccompanied in at least four parts. It is organised by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus in association with Classical Sheffield, as part of the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival to be held in March 2023.

‘Stella Jockel was a Sheffield teacher and vicar’s wife who sang alto with the Chorus for over 50 years.’ explained Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge. ‘She bequeathed a generous legacy to the Chorus following her death in 2020, and we are delighted to be using part of it to fund this new competition. It’s especially exciting that we’ll be singing the prize-winning work at the City Hall as part of Classical Sheffield’s three-day classical music festival’.

The text has been 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. ‘I’m utterly thrilled to have been given this opportunity’ she said. ‘I’ve greatly enjoyed the challenge, and it’s been such an interesting experience to write something in the knowledge that music would be coming its way.’

The winning composer will receive £1,500 and their work will be premiered at the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival finale on Sunday 19 March 2023 in the City Hall. It will be 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.

George Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sheffield, will head a panel of judges that includes the Music Directors of the finale performers. The deadline for entries is 31 December 2022 and the shortlist will be announced early in the new year. For details see