‘Incredible’ Josh wins prestigious composing award

NCEM Young Composers Award-winners Joshua Urben and John Goldie-Scot
NCEM Young Composers Award-winners Joshua Urben and John Goldie-Scot

A TEENAGE musician has scooped a prestigious national award for composing.

Shoreham Academy student Josh Urben, 17, won The NCEM Young Composers Award 2015, at an event held in York on Thursday.

It was an incredible experience and absolutely amazing to have won such a prestigious competition.

Josh Urben

Josh, of The Meadway, Shoreham, said: “It was an incredible experience and absolutely amazing to have won such a prestigious competition. I’m just speechless. It was such a fun experience, just getting your work performed by such professional and amazing musicians.

“The environment was brilliant. We weren’t actually thinking about winning the award itself, that was just sort of the cherry on top. When I won I was shocked. Everone was of such a high standard.”

Young composers living in the UK were invited to create new settings for a short dramatic scene from one of two Monteverdi masterpieces: Orfeo or Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. Students were provided with an English translation of the texts, which could be cut or adapted as appropriate. The new works had to be written for two or three singers, accompanied by a small ensemble of instruments, similar to those available to Monteverdi.

The Dunedin Consort performed each of the pieces at a public concert in the presence of a panel of judges comprising Delma Tomlin, director of the National Centre for Early Music, Les Pratt, senior music producer BBC Radio 3 and John Butt, director of the Dunedin Consort.

“It was very very nerve-wracking for it to be performed in front of such a prestigious panel of judges,” said Josh. “Sometimes I think it’s more nerve-wracking than performing because it’s your piece from your head and a piece of paper coming to life. You don’t expect what it’s going to turn out like.”

Shoreham Academy’s head of music Alison Manton said: “We are extremely proud. We don’t take him for granted.

I don’t think he could quite believe what had happened when he came in on Friday. He’s a very modest young man.

“He’s incredibly talented.”