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High Barnet Chamber Music Festival (HBCMF) is delighted to announce the Young Composers Competition! Secondary school students are invited to write a piece of music in response to one of three briefs below, writing for either a piano trio or string quartet. Deadline for entry is 5pm on Sunday 20th February 2022. The winning composition will be premiered in July 2022 at HBCMF.


1. Compose a piece that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the BBC.

The BBC is the pre-eminent cultural institution in the UK. It was established in 1922 and ever since has had a major impact on the arts and life in this country, with music at its core. You might like to reflect on the history of the BBC and its goal ‘to inform, educate, and entertain’.


2. Compose a piece that draws on the climate crisis as inspiration.

The climate crisis is the biggest issue facing humanity and is already shaping life for billions of people around the world. In approaching it artistically you might like to think about the local effects it will have on communities or consider the large-scale heating of the planet. You might even imagine an optimistic future in which global society rallies in the face of the threat.


3. Compose a piece that only uses three notes.

Artists have often found that they create best in response to limitations. Writing music with such limited pitch material will encourage you to think about the other aspects of music (timbre, rhythm, dynamic, etc.) and the impact they can have when used carefully.

Further Details

What instruments should I write for?

Either a piano trio (piano, violin, cello) or string quartet (two violins, viola, and cello).


How long should my piece be?

Approximately 4–6 minutes according to the tempo marking at the head of the score.


Who can apply?

You must be in full time secondary education to apply. You do not need to live in High Barnet to apply, but if you are successful you will need to attend a rehearsal and the premiere performance of your piece in High Barnet.

What is the prize?

The winning composition will be premiered at one of the HBCMF concerts by a professional ensemble playing in the festival. You will be able to attend a rehearsal with the ensemble to talk about the piece with them and also receive a recording of the performance. The winner will receive free tickets to their concert for them and up to four family members, and a £25 voucher for Chimes Music Shop.


Does my piece have to be notated?

Yes, in order for the adjudicators to assess your work. Graphic scores are acceptable, in which case an audio file is not required though could be included. In this instance, please include an introductory statement detailing how performers should interpret your score.


How can I apply?

Submit a score and an audio file of your composition (MIDI is acceptable), along with an application form (available on our website) and equal opportunities monitoring form to by 5pm on Sunday 20th February 2022. There is no application fee. The score and the audio file must not include your real name. The filename for the score should be ‘[pseudonym]_[composition title]_SCORE’. The audio recording should have the filename ‘[pseudonym]_[composition title]_AUDIO’.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

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