LONDON 21.09.2021 – This year, after over 500 entrees, six amazingly talented young composers today have been announced as the winners of the BBC Young Composer 2021 competition.

BBC Young Composer is the BBC’s annual scheme for 12-18 year olds who want to write their own music and aims to discover, nurture and showcase talent from across the UK.

BBC Young Composer offers a platform to budding composers to develop their skills, share their ideas with like-minded musicians and get their music heard. From Classical to Electronic, to Techno to Contemporary, the entrees’ pieces span a wide range of music genres, pushing boundaries and telling stories.

The winning composers are given the opportunity to participate in a tailored development programme working with a mentor composer on a Radio 3 commission for the BBC Concert Orchestra, culminating in a performance or broadcast.

All compositions were judged anonymously and assessed on their compositional idea, creativity and originality. The 2021 judging panel consisted of Gavin Higgins, Becky Hill, Shiva Feshareki, Benbrick, Lloyd Coleman, Sarah Freestone, and David Pickard.

Recent alumni have enjoyed major commissions across BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and the BBC Concert Orchestra, including a world premiere by Grace-Evangeline Mason at this year’s BBC Proms with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.


Lower Juniors (12 – 14 years)                                    

  • Isaac Bristow – Dark Matter
  • Theo Kendall – Magellan

Upper Juniors (15 – 16 years)

  • Maddy Chassar-Hesketh – From Galaxies to Cells
  • Will Everitt – Etude

Seniors (17 – 18 years)                 

  • Chelsea Becker – Iris  – for oboe and electronics
  • Jenna Stewart – Lost Times

Highly Commended

Lower Juniors (12 – 14 years)    

  • Taro d’Aronville – Helix
  • Avram Harris – Yizkor
  • Sam Hesketh- God of the Moon

Upper Juniors (15 – 16 years)                                    

  • Andrea Lam – Life in 5 & 1/2 Minutes
  • Leo Little – Wind Quintet no. 1 “Adolescence” (movement 1)
  • Reese Carly Manglicmot – Praeludium

Seniors (17 – 18 years)                 

  • William Clark – Piece for Piano, Celeste, Percussion and small orchestra
  • Polina Savicka – Feel Study
  • Melanie Silva – I DIED AND WENT TO SPACE

Jenna Stewart, Senior Category winner says: “Maybe being ‘musically experimental’ works after all! I was so thrilled to hear that people enjoy my music. My piece was an experiment of sound-scaping through the human voice, and of course I had to let my Scottish origin influence my composition! Composition is a way which you can say virtually anything, but it can often mean more than just words. I love the process of writing the best, seeing a piece of music go from an idea out of the blue to a whole performance. Now is a great time to be a young composer, with the great technology and software available there is such a scope for creativity.”

Will Everitt, Upper Juniors Category winner says: “I am very grateful to the judges panel for selecting me as one of the winners of this year’s BBC Young Composer. Being awarded the winning prize not only is an honour, but it is also a platform to make your voice heard. I aim to write in-between musical genres, and break down or blur the lines between them – the prize commission with the BBC Concert Orchestra offers my musical voice a chance to shine. The publicity the Young Composer Award offers, alongside the fierce competition, makes it an amazing opportunity to showcase your musical talent, and I look forward to entering in future years.”

Theo Kendall, Lower Junior Category winner says: “This award means so much to me as I’d like to pursue music as a career and this will be a major kickstart for me. It was a spur-of-the-moment type composition which started with some chords and the rest came to be through experimentation with harmonies and rhythms. I didn’t originally intend for it to be cinematic, but it kind of just evolved that way.  This was a great project to help me finish the home straight of lockdown earlier this year. This will be a great opportunity to meet like-minded musicians and I’m really looking forward to it.”

David Pickard, Director of the BBC Proms says: ‘It is always a huge pleasure to be a part of the judging panel for BBC Young Composer and to see the range and quality of music that is being written by the next generation of composers.   The standard was higher than ever this year, and to hear works of such maturity from contributors as young as 12 was truly inspiring.   For many, this will just be the start of their musical journey, and I am delighted that this scheme will give the winners the support and mentoring to enable them to develop their craft and forge long-term careers as composers.’