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Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 12:52 UK
Young composer in Manchester lands BBC prize
Jonathan Woolgar
Jonathan studies at Chetham's School of Music

A music student in Manchester is celebrating after winning his first major commission.

Jonathan Woolgar, 17, entered the BBC Young Composers' Competition 2010 with an original five-minute piece written for clarinet, violin and piano.

His winning composition will now be performed during the BBC Proms season and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

But his big prize is a commission for the BBC which could even be performed at the Last Night of the Proms.

Now in its twelfth year, the prestigious BBC Young Composer's competition attracted hundreds of entries from young composers aged 12 to 18.

The prize is what most composers dream of: the chance to have their music played by professional musicians and broadcast on Radio 3 as well as a sought-after commission from the BBC.

Jonathan, a student at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, submitted his own piece entitled 'Dead Sea Scrolls' and was judged to be one of six winners.

It's a compulsion really.. the feeling of a piece being played by the musicians is so exciting. It's unlike anything else.
Jonathan Woolgar, composer

Now recognised as one of the best young composers in Britain, he will get to work with leading composers and musicians to develop a new piece of work for the BBC.

"It's very exciting indeed," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into the commission."

Composer Fraser Trainer was one of the competition judges.

He described Jonathan's entry as "a compelling piece which unearths an array of colours and character from only three instruments and is the sign of a very mature and talented young composer."


The competition is seen as an important platform for new musical talent: a former winner Alissa Firsova will have her commission premiered at this year's BBC Proms on Saturday 14 August.

But why devote your efforts into composing, rather than performing music?

"It's a compulsion really," explained Jonathan.

Chetham's School of Music
Another success for Chet's

"I've been composing a relatively long time and the feeling of a piece being played by the musicians is so exciting. It's unlike anything else."

This may be his first commission, but the rising star from Chet's has already been making his mark locally.

In March 2010, the Manchester Camerata premiered one of his works at the Bridgewater Hall as a result of his success in the Manchester Composers' Project.

And his ballet Sinbad is being performed with dancers from The Hammond School, Chester this summer.

"If I can give people pleasure, not necessarily entertainment, but stimulation if you like, then that's a really satisfying feeling," said Jonathan.

If I can affect someone through music - it's the same with art or literature - it's a really unique thing."

Jonathan was born in 1992 and lives in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He currently studies at Chetham's School of Music with Dr Jeremy Pike and Dr Gavin Wayte.

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